The Other Fifteen

Eighty-five percent of the f---in' world is working. The other fifteen come out here.


Rank hypocrisy

Anyone who's ever questioned the desire of athletes to chase the money needs to read John Brattain's article about Santana wanting out of Minnesota.

After four postseasons and two Cy Youngs, all of which made tons of money for the Pohlad family, Santana, could, with one more year’s work, reap the fruits of his labor and do what all too many major leaguers never do and hit the open market.


It was this set of circumstances caused that Jim Pohlad to utter the statement: “There's loyalty and wanting to stay in Minnesota, and it varies from player to player.” What did Pohlad mean by this? In all practical terms in meant that Santana’s loyalty should translate into accepting less money than he is worth in baseball’s marketplace.


If Santana accepted this route, what would happen in the grand scheme of things—who benefits? Will the savings cause prices to watch Twins games to go down?


No.


Will it reduce the costs of going to games in the new park?


No.


Will your cable/satellite package that carries Twins games go down?


No.


Will the extra money be ploughed back into the roster?


Possible, but the Pohlad family’s track record indicates otherwise.


What then happens to the money Santana forgoes?


It goes right back into the pockets of the Pohlad family.


What the Pohlads are saying in effect is that the loyalty means that a kid from Venezuela who worked at his profession for 14 years to get to this point in his life should subsidize one of the wealthiest men in one of the richest countries on the planet.

I vaguely recall a Chris Rock sketch where he said something like, "Shaq is rich. The man who writes his checks is wealthy." It absolutely exasperates me - people, the cost savings of not handing out those big contracts go straight to the people who make the money off these things. Fans who get bent out of shape about the size of contracts - the absolute morans out in right field who booed Jacque Jones just because of the size of his contract, for example - have absolutely no context. If the money didn't go to Jacque Jones, do you know who it goes to? Tribune shareholders. Or debtholders.

And fans are obsessive about treating baseball as all-business, "nothing personal," when it suits our needs. A guy stops performing, we demand that he be sent down or shipped off. A guy gets past his prime, we are adamant that our team not sign the guy for anything more than a minor-league deal and a NRI.

And the team owners - well, it's certainly a business to them. And, on the whole, they do everything possible to wring every dime out of their players.

So why do we insist on athletes showing loyalty, when nobody is willing to show them any? And almost every major sports franchise is a corporate welfare case - they're the ones that need to be showing the locals some loyalty, not their employees. If your team isn't willing to spend enough - don't blame the rich. Blame the wealthy.

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