Loyalty or Bank Account?
What happened to those Chicago born kids that dreamed about over-the-shoulder catches and game winning homeruns at Wrigely Field? I'll tell you what happened. They grew up and didn't want to play for a losing team. Why would someone elect to stay with the Cubs over going to the Yankees for more money? Has that ever happened? No one wants to play for a loser. I can accept that answer to some degree. Losing is frustrating. Now that I got that out of the way, what happens when you win? Suddenly your stock rises. Add a ring to your finger and you might hear lines like, "Hey, Pedro, wanna play for the Mets?" or "Hey Johnny, how about playing for the sworn enemy of any Bostonian: the New York Yankees? There is A LOT of money in it for you." "You pose a good argument, I'm in!"
Is that it? Once you have the ring you might as well go for the cash? Why would anyone be dumb enough to play for a lousy half million a year when they could be getting five million? Who cares if they win again? Gimme, gimme, gimme!
So long go our stars and idols. Loyality is rare without the paycheck. "Sure, I wanna stay, but how can I say no to the money." You know how to whistle, don't you? Just put your lips together and say, "NO!" Yeah, you could argue that it would be stupid to turn down double the money and a slight chance at glory. You could argue, but I wouldn't listen. I'd probably just be thinking about the days when players would win a World Series and play on the same team the next year, for the same pay. Loyalty is supposed to be priceless, but it seems like today you can put a price tag on anything.
What happens between college (or minors) and the pros that changes a player from someone that wants nothing more than to play in the Big Show to a person that demands more money just to grace you with his presence. Then has the audacity to turn down autographs because they don't want you to sell it on eBay? Here's a solution- write their last name, too! Gee, that was tough. But back to the conversion, I want to put the job of a pro baseball player in perspective. When you do your job as a batter a third of the time you are a great batter. I think that a .333 batter is great, but really, 1 out of 3, not a lot of workers can get away with that kind of success rate and keep their jobs, these people deserve raises. 181 games a year is less time than a school teacher spends at their job, but they make a league minimum TEN TIMES AS MUCH!
The game is a talent and it takes naturals to succeed, but draw a line. You don't have to turn down the money, but stop and place priorities in your career. Is it really worth more money to lose the respect of your fans? The people that stood by you before you were on SportsCenter, before you were batting clean-up, before your autograph was worth anything?
I will point out one thing: trades. Trades may have taken the possibility of loyalty away from many players. I'm sure that there are many players that have been bounced around from team to team would have been perfectly happy to stay with one. Judging loyalty may be hard in itself. What if Minnesota born Joe Mauer had been drafted by Florida? If he got the chance to go to Minnesota would it be said that he wasn't loyal to Florida? I'm not one to judge that because I can't tell you who is loyal or not. But how many hometown boys/boyhood dreams have had their careers complicated by being drafted. Can a pro-player even complain about getting to go out and play the game of baseball for a living? There are thousands of minor leaguers and college hopefuls that dream of playing in the pros. Would you bitch if a major league scout put a contract for your least favorite team in front of you? Or would you sign it and thank whatever God you believe in that you fortunate enough to have what you have?
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