By now most people are familiar with the Fyre Festival and the utter disaster it was. The documentary was a rollercoaster of hilarity and you probably rewound it at least once to say “wait, WTF?”. My attention was rapt as I watched the horrific meltdown that was thousands of people with more money than brains showing up for an event that was barely better than a disaster relief tent in some war torn African country. What I was completely unable to do, was have the smallest shred of pity for people who were so ridiculously stupid to buy tickets to such a ridiculous event, at ridiculous prices, in a ridiculous place, then board a plane with a ridiculous lack of information, with ridiculous expectations that it would somehow turn out ok. How ridiculous.
In short, this explains the problem that MLB players face when complaining to average fans about the current “lack of movement” in the free agent market. I’m sorry that I can’t bother to be upset that Bryce Harper hasn’t received an offer for a GUARANTEED contract worth 10 years $400 MILLION DOLLARS, when he turned down 10 years $300 MILLION DOLLARS. Is he worth it? In terms of what he might provide in revenue on a baseball field? Well, it’s possible. Do I care that he isn’t getting it? Not one bit.
Common sense might lead you to believe that in a war between millionaires and billionaires, average Joes like me would side with those they are closest to, the millionaires. However, the truth is, their arguments ring as hollow as a loaded bat. Oh, I’ve heard all the arguments, some make sense while some are downright stupid.
“Stats are killing the game and our contracts.”
No, they aren’t. A guy that hit .249 last year, was the worst defensive outfielder in baseball, and was worth 1.4 WAR is asking for more than 10 years $300M. And a bunch of old guys (in terms of baseball), like Adam Jones, who can’t get on base and can’t hit baseballs are asking for multi-year contracts and millions of dollars.
“Owners are making ridiculous amounts of money that should funnel down to talent on the field.”
Yes, but if you explore the history of long expensive contracts, very little of that money ever makes it onto the field due to injuries, poor play, and general lack of giving a sh*t by the players signed to those contracts. No GM in his right mind would give a repeat of the AROD contract (much less $100M more and more years). Baseball contracts are guaranteed, meaning no matter how terrible the player’s performance or how injured they might be, they still get paid.
“There’s no reason these injury prone, 36 year old guys, who can’t take a walk shouldn’t be paid millions already, wait a minute…” oh oops, I said that.
When you and I wake up and go to work for a company that makes millions off of our work while we are being paid slightly better than minimum wage, I’m sorry if I can’t feel sorry for guys whose league minimum salary to play a baseball game for 6 months out of the year (mainly the summer months) is $555,000.
Things that writers and player-advocates seem to forget is that the billionaires that make money off of them, also incur all of the risk associated with owning a baseball team. First, that billionaire has to make enough money to buy the team. Arguably, not the best investment for your billions to begin with. Next, he must pay front office staff, build a stadium (or convince some taxpayers to), field vendors, find sponsors for naming rights, buy equipment, pay coaches, travel, insurance on a place that will have millions of drunk visitors per year, bribe agents, send a cut to cheap-ass teams that don’t have as much money, buy a spring training facility, pay an entire army of people to be sure the grass is grown, the lines get painted, and pay some guy to dress up in a suit and run real fast to entertain all the drunks and call him the Freeze, then hire some brilliant genius like Mark Owens to repeatedly do silly games to help drunk fans, that can’t answer the simplest trivia questions known to man, forget that replay sucks… and the list goes on and on.
Oh yeah, and that billionaire then also has to pay a bunch of self-indulgent wieners who have been coddled their entire life and told that they’re the best at everything they do. And not only does he have to pay them, he has to guarantee their contract no matter how badly they suck at playing or how severely they get hurt.
You see, it’s just like your boss assumes all the risk (and possibly the reward) from the success of your hard work. That same boss ultimately assumes the risk of the buildings, the employment structure, the insurance, the payrolls, and if it all fails the bankruptcy and financial fallout of his venture. I’m sorry baseball players we understand how risk and reward works and we don’t care if you get hundreds of millions to play a freaking game.
While players probably should fight with the owners to get some changes made, it’s my understanding that they just did that a few years ago and their “demands” were fancy foods in the clubhouse and a team psychiatrist to talk about their feelings with, rather than actually looking into supporting minor league players, or balancing compensation picks, or qualifying offers, and all of the other actually broken stuff that players SHOULD fight for. So, pardon me if I think these guys are whiny idiots when they continue to employ people like Tony Clark who failed them horrifically last time they negotiated with the owners and continue to do so today.
I’m fine with players standing up for their business and trying to get every dollar that they can when they discuss a new CBA with owners. But please spare us average joes the brain-dead BS that is whining about the fact Bryce Harper and Manny Machado won’t make up their minds about which $250-350 Million dollar offer they want to accept.
I love baseball, I think players make-up a huge part of that love, but at the end of the day when I sit down with my family, I have zero sympathy for a bunch of whining brats who are begging for ridiculous guaranteed contracts to play a game (mainly during the summer months). So please shut the hell up, agree to a deal and play the f****** game. If not feel free to return to college, start your own business, make billions, buy your own team, and give out all the $400M contracts your pretty little heart desires. Meanwhile, I’ll be sitting back here watching it with the same laughs and enjoyment as watching the horrified faces of Fyre Festival attendees fighting over soaking wet popup tents and searching for their Louis Vuitton luggage left on the side of the road. How ridiculous.