Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Baseball's Crazy Salaries; "Foul Ball!"
Albert Pujols left St. Louis for a spanking new contract with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. They are paying him $24 million dollars a year for the next ten years. That is guaranteed money! It doesn't matter how he performs; he's going to make in excess of $240 million dollars over the next decade.
Albert Pujols has hit one home run this year and he's batting below the "Mendosa Line", with a sub 200 batting average.
Last year the Washington Nationals paid Jason Werth almost 20 million a year. He had a really bad year. This morning brings news that Jason Werth has a broken wrist and will be out for months, perhaps longer. If and when he does come back there is no guarantee that Werth will ever hit for power and average as he did in Philly.
A few years ago the San Francisco Giants signed Barry Zito to a long term contract that pays him $124 million dollars. He's been a bust ever since he signed that contract and his 80 mile an hour fast ball is one of the slowest in the league. I can count on my fingers the number of pitching victories Zito has posted since that huge contract signing.
Carl Crawford signed last year with the Boston Red Sox. The Sox gave him $124 million dollars over seven years. Crawford was hurt most of the year and batted an anemic low 200's batting average. His Home Run total tanked as well. This year Crawford is again injured, hasn't' played a single game, and his injuries are now a matter of great concern to the ball club.
I could cite another hundred or so examples of ball clubs paying enormous salaries with little in return for their money! Baseball executives surely come from another planet! How is it possible in this day and age, when our country continues to slog through a deep recession, that ball clubs can afford to give these kind of salaries and get nothing in return?
The answer is: You, the fan, are paying for these mistakes. Once upon a time we cold go to a major league ball park, have a hot dog and a beer, and fork out less than ten bucks! You won't find that bargain today. And keep in mind, we weren't seeing an inferior product for that ten bucks. We were seeing the likes of Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays and Willie McCovey and Reggie Jackson! It's also interesting to note that only three players in those days were paid as much as $100,000 dollars; Mantle, Mays and DiMaggio. In the mid-60's the great Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale held out for salaries of $80,000 and $50,000 respectively!
Amazingly, while we fans are being gouged at the ballpark, the major league club owners continue to thrive! Broadcast revenue and sky high ticket prices continue to line their pockets with billions of dollars while our cable bills and tickets increase. And note this: as baseball continues to hide their books, as they plead poverty, there has never been a baseball club sold for less than the price they paid for it in the beginning!
I believe if baseball continues to ignore the welfare of the fans they are going to go right down the tubes. As baseball executives continue to pay these ridiculous salaries...and pass the costs of their mistakes down to the fan, baseball will eventually suffer.