Ballplayer Envy

It’s that time of year again. No, I’m not talking about turkey and Christmas trees. Each off-season, you can count on hearing the cries from baseball fans far and wide, crying foul over another huge, multi-million dollar baseball contract. We all do it at times. In some ways its part of being a fan.

With a couple more big signings this week, I ask - why demonize the players for earning every dime they can get? Wouldn’t you?

Fifteen years ago, while broadcasting in professional baseball, I sat with a ballplayer and his parents, after he received a signing bonus worth over $10 million.

“The point of a huge bonus,” she said, “is that now he can simply concentrate on baseball. The money will take care of all the necessary pitfalls of everyday life, and he can keep himself focused 100 percent on being the best ballplayer he can be.”

Beyond that, however, it is simply a matter of supply and demand. There are a limited number of premier athletes with skills that consumers are willing to pay big bucks to see. Period. Regardless of the sport, these are the top fraction of a percent of all who play the game. And we, as fans, have always been willing to pay.

This baseball off-season, I just wish we’d hear less of the envious negatives when talking about a player’s big new free-agent deal.

Am I wrong to admire a great talent for earning every penny he is worth in the marketplace?