Dark Bilious Vapors

But how could I deny that I possess these hands and this body, and withal escape being classed with persons in a state of insanity, whose brains are so disordered and clouded by dark bilious vapors....
--Rene Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy: Meditation I

Home » Archives » January 2005 » If you're of the opinion that baseball players are paid too much....

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01/29/2005: If you're of the opinion that baseball players are paid too much....

then John Brattain, over at The Hardball Times makes an observation you ought to contemplate: If the players don't get the money, think of who will:

This time of year you hear and read much wailing and gnashing of teeth about greedy players, greedier agents, and the greatest den of scum and villainy behind it all -- the MLBPA. Pedro Martinez left Red Sox Nation heartbroken. Carlos Beltran, who made such nice noises about Houston, bolted the state of Texas and joined Martinez in Flushing. Roger Clemens held the Astros for ransom and settled for a paltry $18 million. Players line up like pigs at a trough to wear the Yankee pinstripes and cash checks signed by George Steinbrenner. Alex Rodriguez will go into the Hall of Fame on the first ballot and even if he hits 800 homers, the stat he’ll be most remembered for is 252 (million dollars).

Spare me.

If you read the mainstream media, you’d get the impression that the players and their agents do little more than behave like pigs trying to find truffles, sniffing around looking for top dollar regardless of where it leads them and being willing to lie, connive, misrepresent, extort and manipulate their way to riches caring little of who is hurt along the way. You’d guess that if Jesus Christ were to join mankind again, Scott Boras would make bloody sure that he’d get more than a lousy 30 pieces of silver for him. Oh the poor owners -- shackled to a system where they’re forced to pay tens, and even hundreds of millions of dollars to greedy players who just want more, more, more.


I might be able to shed a tear for the poor blighters if I could grate a large onion and stick the pulp up my nose and rub it into my eyes -- but even that’s a stretch.

Here’s something for you to think about: All we hear from Bud Selig is how baseball needs fixing -- more revenue sharing, lower payrolls, and giving teams “faith and hope.” Yes, it’s a bit of a problem that the New York Yankees spend more on the luxury tax than the Tampa Bay Devil Rays do on their entire payroll, but look at this from another vantage point: Selig -- despite the pap he feeds to the media -- enjoys having this inequity and indeed uses it to fill his pockets and those of his cronies. The commissioner’s business plan for MLB was summed up by “Dire Straits” when they sang about ’money for nothing.’ Baseball’s inequity is the goose that laid the golden egg for MLB and make no mistake about it, the Yankees payroll fills Selig with more glee than consternation.

It might help balance your view of baseball’s silly season if you understand what Selig (and other owners) are truly saying in the media. Here’s a helpful guide:

What Bud and the owners say: “The Yankees and Red Sox payrolls make it impossible for other teams to compete."
What they mean: “We need more free money.”

What Bud and the owners say: “Our small markets need faith and hope.”
What they mean: “We need more free money.”

What Bud and the owners say: “A new stadium is vital to make [insert team name] a viable franchise.”
What they mean: “We need more free money.”

What Bud and the owners say: “Salaries are out of control.”
What they mean: “We need more free money.”

What Bud and the owners say: “Competitive balance is something we‘re striving to achieve.”
What they mean: “We need more free money.”

What Bud and the owners say: “We lost several million dollars this year.”
What they mean: “We need more free money.”

Despite publicly girding his loins with sackcloth (I never felt sorry for sackcloth until just now) and placing ashes on his head, competitive balance isn’t the problem it’s been made out to be. Since the strike, the contraction candidate Florida Marlins have won two World Series and the Anaheim Angels won one. The contraction candidate Minnesota Twins just three-peated in the AL Central, the Oakland A’s just missed their fifth straight post season appearance, the one-time pitiable Cleveland Indians (remember the
Major League movies) won six division titles and two pennants, the one-time equally pathetic Seattle Mariners won three division titles and qualified for the playoffs once via the wild card. The Yankees, the team you’ll recall that wins the World Series every year before they start the season, haven’t won since 2000.

So when Bud and the owners are saying: “Baseball needs to become more competitive.” What they’re really saying is? Class?

“We need more free money.”

Now you’re getting it.
Go read the whole thing; it's long but very enlightening

Len on 01.29.05 @ 06:07 PM CST

January 2005

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