OK, so first of all, I know this isn’t the most important issue in the world. But having just gotten to the end of one labor dispute, seeing this post today brought up issues which are several of my pet peeves.
After four postseasons and two Cy Youngs, all of which made tons of money for the Pohlad family, Santana, could, with one more year’s work, reap the fruits of his labor and do what all too many major leaguers never do and hit the open market.
It was this set of circumstances caused that Jim Pohlad to utter the statement: “There’s loyalty and wanting to stay in Minnesota, and it varies from player to player.” What did Pohlad mean by this? In all practical terms in meant that Santana’s loyalty should translate into accepting less money than he is worth in baseball’s marketplace.
If Santana accepted this route, what would happen in the grand scheme of things-who benefits? Will the savings cause prices to watch Twins games to go down?
Will it reduce the costs of going to games in the new park?
Will your cable/satellite package that carries Twins games go down?
Will the extra money be ploughed back into the roster?
Possible, but the Pohlad family’s track record indicates otherwise.
What then happens to the money Santana forgoes?
It goes right back into the pockets of the Pohlad family.
What the Pohlads are saying in effect is that the loyalty means that a kid from Venezuela who worked at his profession for 14 years to get to this point in his life should subsidize one of the wealthiest men in one of the richest countries on the planet.
The quote is from the article Who Wants to Subsidize a Billionaire? by John Brattain. You ought to read it if you are a fan of professional sports – it is one of the best I’ve ever read.
Among many of my pet peeves is the use of taxpayer money to fund sports stadiums, which I consider a gross misuse of public funds. But the article goes so much deeper than that – for example, it explains why I’m no longer a fan of the NFL.
Salary caps are awful popular. People believe that professional athletes make too much money. Perhaps they are right, relative to the value of sports.
But I consider them both wrong and immoral.
Because one thing is very simple. Salary caps don’t mean shit for the fans of the game. The strict salary cap in the NFL doesn’t make my ticket to a Giants game any cheaper. Nor the $8 beer or the $5 hot dogs. Nor the $100+ official jerseys for sale at the arena and sporting goods stores, nor the $25 baseball caps with the team logo on them.
All that it means is that the players who I am watching crash into other 300 pound men in peak physical condition are getting a smaller and smaller slice of those revenues. Men who I might add have a union so shitty that it can’t cover the medical expenses of its former players, which are considerable.
The libertarian in me has an easy answer to why I think A-Rod is worth $300 million – because that is his value to a business which sells millions of tickets to games per year, along with millions more in TV revenues and sponsorship and a host of other ways the team makes money. That being said, I can easily see the reasoning behind the argument that all he does is hit a ball with a stick (really, really well!) and that isn’t such a valuable skill.
But what I don’t understand is why anyone, on the political left or not, would prefer to see more money in George Steinbrenner’s pockets than Alex Rodriguez’s.
It is a sick system when we care more about limiting the amount of money that goes into Michael Strahan’s pockets than into those of the ownership of the New Jersey Giants. It is a sick system when we lament the lack of loyalty of workers who have their income limited by exception to the laws of our nation by Congress for the first eight years of their career when they will not accept discounts to further enrich billionaires.
If we can accept that Hollywood screenwriters deserve their fair share of billions more than giant media corporations, it seems beyond obvious that we should demand that our athlete entertainers deserve their compensation more than the greedy billionaires who control their industry.