Arts & Culture

Show Me the Money!

I don’t see any potential for "trickle down effect" in C.C. Sabathia’s Contract Last week my roommate and I finally watched No Country for Old Men. The story revolves around an evil, creepy man pursuing a briefcase containing two million … Read More

By / December 12, 2008

I don’t see any potential for "trickle down effect" in C.C. Sabathia’s Contract

Last week my roommate and I finally watched No Country for Old Men. The story revolves around an evil, creepy man pursuing a briefcase containing two million dollars that is found following a drug deal gone wrong by a random passerby. This man is absolutely brutal, shooting anyone who gets in his way with no mercy.

At one point, I asked my roommate, “How much money is in there? Two million?” He nodded. I followed with “Doesn’t A-Rod make that, in, like, one game? It’s pretty sad all these innocent bystanders are losing lives over two million bucks when A-Rod earns about that much per at bat.”

I love baseball. Always have. Always will. But when I heardabout C.C. Sabathia’s $161M contract with the Yankees yesterday, I was finally ready to admit for the first time, that baseball players’ salaries are beyond extravagant. They are an insulting slap in the face toward those who are being hit hard by the economy.

It never used to bother me how overpaid the best baseball players are. My grungy Boston neighbors, Berklee College of Music students, would display their typical, pretentious and anti-conformist, yet fully conformist in their own right attitudes with lines like “Jeter gets paid millions just to swing a bat around,” and I’d tell them to shut the fuck up. I still loathe those types, but now that I’m in the “real world” and not the bubble that is private college, I am not able to be as naïve about the unfairness and ludicrousness of it.

Since baseball season ended and the media shifted focus toward prospective trades, I have stumbled upon many an article calling baseball “recession proof.” I suppose that makes sense, but in a time where Obama is claiming executives should forfeit their bonuses, show humility and make small sacrifices through this economic crisis, I ask: shouldn’t baseball players do the same?

Nobody ever claimed that business executives were role models, In fact, we often indulge in portraying them as the sleazy, unethical antagonists in movies and glorify stories where a big evil corporation is held accountable for shady actions as if to make up for the fact most of us are forced to conform to office politics on a daily basis.

Baseball players, on the other hand, have to be more concerned with their image. I think it’s unfair that the Wall Street executive be vilified by everyone looking for a scapegoat, while baseball players (and their wheelin, deelin agents like Scott Boras) get away with obnoxiously demanding astronomical salaries.

I am past the point of being the typical Red Sox fan accusing the Yankees of trying to buy the World Series. I do, however, think the move on Sabathia is one of many desperate deals the Yanks have resorted to recently, worst example being, of course, Roger Clemens. Unlike other Sox fans, I’m more concerned with what Sabathia’s contract means in regards to our value system than what kind of contract the Sox will answer with. (Ok, I admit, I am very eager to see the latter, but the desire to one-up the Yankees is milder than usual.)

Despite the current economy, I agree with those who are predicting we will simply resume business as usual once this shit storm blows over. Baseball players and their agents probably recognize this and can therefore justify renegotiating contracts that span several years for their own benefit. However, baseball is one of our country’s greatest sources of pride and in a time where it’s hard for our country to hold its head up high, baseball players should act as ambassadors instead of exemplifying the greed that has proved crippling to our nation. In flashing money around this way, the Evil Empire is proving why the city of New York is perceived by terrorists as the focal point of everything wrong with our country; it is ostentatiousness and demonstrative of shallow American values.