Baseball: Love of the Game or All Business?
I am a huge baseball fan, but what I can’t stand is the salaries right now. I love the sport, but I don’t like what it’s turning into. While the common man works hard everyday, baseball players receive $1 million to play 162 games a year.
In reality, they work less than half the year! Even if a player is struggling they get paid, and the team can cut them since they are inclined to pay them!
Talent may not come cheap, but it doesn’t have to come expensively. Alex Rodriguez made $28 million in 2008, whereas the entire 2008 Florida Marlins TEAM made $23 million! That same year, the Tampa Bay Rays’ payroll was $43 million, and they won the pennant, while the New York Yankees’ payroll was $207 million and they didn’t even make the playoffs!
Free agency is the main cause of these higher salaries. The idea first surfaced in 1969 when Curt Flood, who was traded by the St. Louis Cardinals to the Philadelphia Phillies for Dick Allen, refused to report to his new team. He claimed that owners couldn’t just trade away players like property.
He wasn’t successful with this claim, but six years later, future Hall of Famer Catfish Hunter was. He declared himself a “free agent” after he had a contract dispute with the Oakland Athletics’ owner, Charlie Finley.
Teams suddenly went after him, trying to outbid each other. Nowadays, if a player plays his entire career with one team, it is considered an amazing feat.
The worst part of free agency is greed. While teachers getting paid around $60,000 a year to educate the future, baseball players are playing a game of entertainment making millions of dollars a year! Even players who spend the whole season on the bench get paid millions!
Sometimes, players get paid and don’t play a single game! Mo Vaughn of the New York Mets was paid $17 million in 2004 but didn’t play in a single game. Not one! So far, the player with the highest career earnings is Barry Bonds, who made $188 million over the course of his 22-year career. Alex Rodriguez has made $170 million dollars and has played for only 15 years.
Baseball salaries have risen and risen since 1975. In 1985, the highest paid player was Mike Schmidt, who was making $2 million. Now, it’s Rodriguez, who’s making $28 million a year.
CC Sabathia is expected to make a record salary for a pitcher this offseason. As the 2009 season approaches, we’ll watch as baseball is turned into the one thing we don’t want it to be. A full-time business with no regard for the love of the game.
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