As spring training gets underway and the 2011 baseball season is right around the corner, we can all feel comfortable about the health of the game, even in a bad economy. Attendance remains high. But, salaries keep rising, especially for the star players. Recently, Albert Pujols and the Cardinals couldn’t reach a long-term contract agreement before his self-imposed spring training deadline. Reportedly, Pujols is asking for a 10-year contract in the $300 million range. We’ll see if he can get that kind of salary from another team.
While the sports world has been focused on a possible NFL lockout, Major League Baseball finances seemed to be under the radar. Until now. White Sox General Manager Ken Williams recently had this to say about Pujols becoming the highest paid player in the game. “For the game’s health as a whole, when we’re talking about $30 million players, I think it’s asinine,” Williams said on Comcast SportsNet. “We have gotten to the point of no return. Something has to happen. And if it means the game being shut down for the sake of bringing sanity to it, to franchises that aren’t going to stop the insanity, I’m all for it.”
Hopefully the game doesn’t have to be shut down to bring sanity. We don’t need to lose another World Series over a disagreement between billionaire owners and millionaire players.
What the owners and players fail to realize is that the average fan suffers the consequences of high player salaries. Sure the high income folks who attend games will always be able to afford seats, parking, concessions, etc. But the average baseball enthusiasts can’t afford to go to as many games as they want now. Imagine if the payrolls keep climbing. It will only get more expensive.
And the greater point is, why are athletes and owners making so much money on sports that are intended to give us a little distraction? As Williams says, “This is a game where millions upon millions of people watch on television and come to the ballpark to get away from some of the things that are going on in life, to have a little bit of entertainment.”
A little entertainment shouldn’t cost a fortune.Share