This time of year sucks. Football is over, baseball hasn’t started, the NBA is at the midseason point and March Madness has yet to begin (sigh). That said, I naturally find my thoughts turning to the upcoming baseball season this time of year, and I came across one hell of stat.
Albert Pujols was in the process of negotiating a contract extension with the St. Louis Cardinals, a process which has come to a halt until the end of the season when he’ll either resign with the Cardinals or become a free agent. The Cardinals supposedly offered him a deal that would make him between the 6th and 10th highest paid player in baseball — not to shabby, but not a deal worthy of the best player in the game. So think for a minute — what if these superstar athletes were paid based on their actual on-field performance, a la a waiter or a salesperson?
Since the 2001 season, A-Rod has earned $594k per home run, and $204k per RBI. Albert Pujols has earned $237k per home run and $79k per RBI.
Absolute craziness, and further evidence that athletes are overpaid (especially A-Rod). Think about it. You stroll up to the plate with a runner on third, maybe half hungover, and slap a single up the middle. Cha-chingggggg — $204k in the bank. My god.
One final note while I’m ranting on the baseball front. I’d like to send a shout out to a former Yankee (yes, you heard me correctly). Hideki Matsui. This guy delivered the Yankees their last World Series title on a silver platter, never once complained about his role, and had countless other big-game hits for the Yankees. Yet he gets little or no credit — you never heard any buzz about Matsui in New York. Sure, he’s foreign, older, quiet, reserved, and generally not tabloid material. But if someone like Nick Swisher ever contributed half as much to the Yankees as Matsui did, he’d have the entire city of New York eating out of his palm. You know I’m right. Just sayin’.
When’s the first pitch?
By Thalia Bardell, howiGit Contributing Writer, Boston, MA
I’m just going to go ahead and skip right over the Super Bowl. The Steelers lost so I have nothing to gloat about and the only thing that matters to Bostonians is that Big Ben Roethlisberger is still one ring behind Tom Brady. I think it’s safe to assume that I can speak for most Pittsburghians and New Englanders alike when I say, I’m over it. Honestly, I was over it last Thursday. If I saw that Clay Matthews vs. Troy Polamalu hair montage one more time on ESPN I was going to tear my own hair out. Time to move on to more important things – like baseball.
Our fair city has one week left to wait for Red Sox pitchers and catchers to report to Fort Myers, Florida for spring training. I’ll tell you the first thing that I’m going to do, plop right down on my couch and watch The Sandlot. Now, I may catch some flak for this statement but it is my opinion that The Sandlot is one of the greatest baseball movies of all time. Yeah ok, Field of Dreams, The Natural, Eight Men Out, they’re good, but seriously, can anything top the scene of buck-toothed and be-spectacled Squints faking a drowning at the pool so he can get mouth to mouth from hottie lifeguard Wendy Peffercorn? I think not.
The sandlot clan played some pretty sweet ball too. The team’s conglomeration of neighborhood misfits and scrappy style of play remind me of the 2004 Red Sox; Kenny DeNunez’s windup looks a whole lot like Pedro’s, Benny “the Jet” Rodriguez is cracking homers like Manny,and “Yeah-Yeah” – totally Kevin Millar. They even have jacket and jersey clad, expensive bike riding rivals — the Tigers — who are, of course, the New York Yankees. The sandlot crew blew those snobs out in a backyard brawl just like the Sox blew out the Yanks in 2004’s ALCS game 7. Proving that dirt, heart, and a little trash talking à la round-faced catcher Ham Porter – “Is that your sister out there in left field, naked? She’s naked?” – were more important than expensive jerseys and highly paid free agents. Maybe it’s because I’m tired of trudging through ankle-deep slush or I’m nostalgic for a time in my life when bike riding wasn’t just for hipsters, but this movie feels like just what I need to get me through the next week and into the start of the Boston Red Sox 2011 season. I can’t wait to play ball.