December 6, 2013 by gregrabidoux2013
Go figure. A few years ago when Jerry Seinfeld was making his millions on the small screen he made a fairly astute observation (he did that from time to time). Discussing his fellow sports fans (remember, that’s short for fanatics) he summed it up this way, “Athletes chase the big dollars and switch teams so often we are all left rooting for the laundry of our favorite team.”
Recently, two free agency contracts in the Major League Baseball offseason reminded me that while I don’t blame the pro athlete for chasing money faster than a line drive baseball I am beginning to blame the rest of us for playing along. And lately, mostly blaming myself.
As I predicted in a previous blog (Scott Boras Officially Ends My Sox Euphoria) one of the stars of the laundry I have followed for decades (Boston Red Sox), Jacoby Ellsbury, bolted the team faster than the corks that popped on the World Series celebratory bubbly for the evil empire that Steinbrenner and Ruth built (NY Yankees). By switching his Sox for pinstripes, he’ll grab $153 million over a mere 7 years. That should make it easier to share a locker room with A-Rod and his posse of lawyers.
And just yesterday, an actual Yankee, Robinson Cano traded in his Pinstripes for the, well, whatever the Mariners of Seattle wear out there in rainy Washington. Robbie will make a reported $240 million (that’s close to a 1/4 of a billion folks) over 10 years. Let’s just say he can afford to spurge on the Vanilla squirt in his Starbucks coffee.
To place this in perspective just a bit. The average American will make a yearly salary of $26,740 in 2013. In a regular season of 162 games, Mr. Cano will receive a paycheck of $148, 150 per game OR about $30,000 per at-bat. In other words he’ll make 5.5 times more than the average American will make in one year each game and slightly more in each at-bat, for about 15 seconds to 1 and a half minutes of “work.”
Again, do I blame Robbie for grabbing the cash cornucopia which is professional sports? Nope. It’s just that lately I am having more trouble whipping up passion to care when the following statistics tell me far too many non-professional athletes are striking out far too often in the game of life.
There are close to 50 million Americans on food stamps. Only 20% of our entire nation will earn a $100,000 in 2013. Only 2% will earn at least $250,000. And 1% of our population controls over 85% of all the wealth in this country. How’s that for balance? If we were a team we’d be so top heavy we’d fall over before we got to the pitcher’s mound.
The top 10 baseball salaries for 2013 hit it out of the park at a combined $234.6 million with A-Rod actually taking in more at $30 million than he’s paying to his posse of lawyers (I think).
It’s not just hard-ballers playing money-ball. The 10 top National Basketball Association (NBA) players will make a collective $213.7 million this season with Kobe Bryant topping the list at $30.4 million. Now that’s a slam dunk of a salary year.
And on the gridiron? Well, it’s a quarterback’s league with 9 of the top ten salaries going to QBs and two of them to the greater Manning (Peyton at $19.2 million and Eli at $16.2 million) cause. Aaron Rodgers scores the biggest money touchdown at $22.0 million, Calvin Johnson’s the only non-QB on the list at $16.2 million. Collectively, this group could fill up the Superdome with their megabucks, coming in at a hefty $197.2 million.
And while the frozen-pond dwellers of the National Hockey League (NHL) aren’t quite in the rarified MLB air, they aren’t exactly bottom-feeders. Shea Weber of the Minnesota Wild will net $14 million alone this season while the top ten will make close to $100 million combined.
Indulge me with just one more comparison. The combined paychecks of the top ten moneymakers in our 4 major pro sports (MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL) will in just one season bank more than the total Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of over 75 Nations.
So, will I continue to root, root, root for the laundry? I guess. it’s just lately I am feeling woefully underpaid as I try and follow the laundry while they follow the money. The good news? I hear a Brooklyn Nets ticket can be had for at least less than a year’s salary these days. No Kidding Jason.