The insanity that is baseball salaries and free agency will likely never get better for fans, but we can dream, can't we?
I love baseball.
More than most things in life. It’s the finest sport out there. I love the decisions, the in-game strategy and the skill required to play.
And I still put my cleats on every summer to play softball, compete and try and win.
But the more and more I think of this offseason, the more and more this sport — at least at the Major League level — is making me sick. I am, always have been and always will be a Philadelphia Phillies fan. When the season starts, I’ll root as much as I can. I’ll watch the games, read stories, follow the stats and standings and live the Phillies.
I’ve read a lot about this Jimmy Rollins situation. For those of you who know, Jimmy Rollins is a lifer with the Phils. The reality is he’ll most likely re-sign with the club. Alas, it’s his first time as a free agent and he’s trying to get the most out of his deal. He wants five years. And some are saying upward of $14 million per year.
To play baseball.
This comes on the heels of Albert Pujols signing a 10-year deal worth more than $250 million.
This isn’t going to be a redundant post from last week when I was questioning loyalty over leaving a team or leaving $25 or $50M on the table to remain with said team.
No, I covered this topic already.
But as the week has gone on and time has continued to roll and J-Roll isn’t yet signed with the Phillies, I find myself starting to get agitated. I’m upset over this situation. Not just with J-Roll, either. But baseball — and sports as a whole.
You can go on many Phillies message boards or blogs and get discussions about Rollins. They’ll argue whether he’s worth $10M per year, $14M, or whatever. And they’ll argue his statistics. You’ll hear more about OPS, WAR, AVG, walks, runs, stolen bases and all sorts of other numbers.
I get most of it. But even my head spins sometimes.
You’ll get the argument about how Jimmy hits well on first-pitch swings — at least when he makes contacts. If not, a second-pitch popup is a common occurrence.
And in the end, the discussion leads to how much he’s going to need to stay, how many years and all that.
All the while, if you watch Jimmy and teammates/other people on Twitter, they are living the high life. Talking about spending oodles of money on shoes and other things.
They are popular athletes. They get paid well. But this insanity has to stop. And not just with players — but everyone.
Last year, I went to one Phillies game. I usually try and hit 2-3 if possible, but the ticket prices are a joke. I went last year because my cousin has a partial season package and invited me and my brother down. So we went. Thankfully, it was dollar hot dog night, so I didn’t go bankrupt.
That being said, the more and more I see the prices as they have gone up over the past years, I get sicker and sicker. Maybe it’s because I’m unemployed. Maybe I get a better sense of this stuff.
In this day and age, when the national unemployment rate is through the roof and people are still losing jobs and having to fight for something just to put food on their table, Albert Pujols signed a 10-year contract for more than $250M.
To hit a baseball.
Sure, he hits it really far, but still.
I realize the contract is worth a bit more than $250M, but use that as a number. Now average it out. So, he’s making, give or take, $25M per year. That means you could take that money and hire 1,000 people at $25,000 per year and give them a job.
ONE THOUSAND PEOPLE.
Does that eliminate the unemployment rate? Probably not. But it’s a start.
I’m looking at this game — and sports in general — a lot differently. I realize it’s entertainment. And we, as a society, pay for entertainment. Movie starts make outlandish amounts of money. But we watch movies. Same with TV stars.
People in the government get paid a whole heap of money each year, usually to make things worse or not make things good for the people they represent. They mask it well though. (That’s the most political you’ll ever see me get on this blog).
For those who know me, you know I’m a Colts fan. I’m also as big of a Peyton Manning fan as can be. But, a recent column by Associated Press columnist Tim Dahlberg said it’s time to cut Manning. He’s been hurt all year (while collecting a $25M check), is aging and who knows what’s up with the neck. Also, the Colts are in line for the No. 1 pick. Why not grab Sanford’s Andrew Luck and move on.
And cutting Manning by a certain time also saves the Colts a $28M bonus.
A bonus to Manning. For $28M.
I don’t want to see Manning go. I really don’t. But there are some compelling arguments there. Especially knowing that a high-priced athlete would lose more in a bonus than I’ll see in 15 lifetimes.
Even if it happens to Peyton Manning, it makes me smile.
Now, I realize that if the players weren’t getting this money, the ownership would be raking it in. But you have to wonder what would happen if the public finally had enough and said hell with it. If people didn’t go watch. Or watch on TV. Well, the big broadcast contracts would be gone. So would the ticket sales.
It can cost upward of $100 to go to a baseball game for one person. If you figure a ticket, program, hot dog or two, beer/soda or two and maybe an ice cream or a thing of popcorn.
Imagine going as a family of four?
All the while, players like Jimmy Rollins are staying put where they are and staying on the demands for their five-year deal worth an ungodly amount of money. And they don’t care if they sit out for a bit. Someone will pay. And he can still smile at Christmas and know something will happen. Now, he’s not asking for Pujols money (he and Pujols do share the same agent, however), but he’s still going to make more in one year than most people will see in many lifetimes.
Meanwhile, I continue to wonder when I’ll get a job or if I’ll be able to keep paying my bills.
But Jimmy doesn’t care about me. Or any other fan. No matter what these stars say, they don’t care. Not one bit. Well, a little. Enough to keep our asses in the seat and buying things. I mean I’m sure they do to an extent. You get what I’m saying. They care a little. But in the end, they care about themselves and their family over fans and such (and I’m not blaming them). I’m a Jimmy Rollins fan, but it’s starting to wear off. Don’t get me wrong. I’ll hate seeing him in another uniform if he leaves. It probably will make me sick.
Don’t get me wrong — I don’t blame Jimmy Rollins (well, fully). He’s getting what every other player gets. And he’s doing what others do. It’s not like he’s doing something not done before. It’s just that with everything as it is now, watching this is extremely hard. As it was with other free agents this year.
I have a hard time purchasing uniforms. Mainly because I have a hard time parting with that kind of money and I always wonder how long a player will be with a team. However, I figured if I was employed by this summer, I might invest in one. And it was probably going to be a Jimmy Rollins jersey.
I don’t know anymore. Heck, I don’t know if I want to buy anything with ANY player’s name on the back. But this whole offseason — especially my watching of the Rollins stuff — has worn my patience thin.
In fact, my fandom for a lot of people is wearing thin.
If they don’t care about me, why should I care about them? And why should I spend $100 or more to watch them? They wouldn’t pay to watch me play City League softball.
The reality is — and I get it — that these sports stars make a lot of money because they draw a lot of money. Somebody is going to get the loot, so why not the player and not just the owners? That’s fine. But everything is out of whack. Prices are too expensive. Somebody told me they went to the new Yankee Stadium last year and paid like $10 for a beer.
TEN BUCKS?!? For a beer??
And people wonder why I don’t crack open a cold one when I go to a game.
This post might be one of my biggest ramblings ever. I don’t even know if it makes sense. I hope it does. But the end result of this post? Please stop the insanity. The fans would like to be able to afford more than just a game ticket. The average fan that is. Not just the people with cash.
And the other point is for Jimmy Rollins just to sign and get it over with. In Philly or elsewhere (preferably in Philly). The shortstop market isn’t that great this year. Do one or the other.
And while your at it, take a part of all those millions and hire me to work for you. I can be your personal blogger or something. I’m down to earth. I can do a good job. Whatever you need in communications or something, I’m in. Something tells me you’ll be able to afford me once you sign on a dotted line.
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