Major League Baseball players make too much money. Why do they make too much money? They make too much money because we give them too much. The average big leaguer made $3.15 million in 2008. Many casual fans are turned off by this and so am I. However, I do not blame the players. They’re just playing a game they love. I blame the fans. I am a fan.
Fans love to blame players and owners for all the problems in, not only baseball, but all sports. It’s the players’ fault for the steroids problem, they say. It’s the players’ fault for the “greed” in the game. It’s the players’ fault for not sticking with the same team like they used to. It’s the players’ fault for skyrocketing salaries. Players can be blamed for part of the problems, but most fans fail to look in the mirror and take equal responsibility.
My favorite fans are the ones who complain of overpaid players while wearing a $200 jersey and drink five $7 beers for every one of the 20 games they attend throughout the season. Those same fans usually have satellite television at home with the baseball package and scores of memorabilia on their walls. This is why Alex Rodriguez makes over $25 million a year. But I’d be confident to say the New York Yankees and Major League Baseball make much more than that off of his face in the lineup every day. It’s called capitalism and there’s a lot of it going around.
There’s also the complaint from fans that ballplayers aren’t loyal to their cities and teams and simply go where the money is. Fans act as if this is a new revelation within the game and players are more greedy now than the “old days.” Once again, I ask these fans to look in the mirror and the rest of today’s American society. How many different places have you worked? Ever left a job for a better opportunity somewhere else? Ever tire of a city and want to move? The main reason players stayed with their teams up until the mid seventies was because the reserve clause bound them to those teams thanks to greedy and powerful owners. Most owners are still greedy, but they don’t have to power they used to – the players do now. To paraphrase George Will, I believe in a Marxist view when it comes to baseball. The players make up the workload and labor; they should receive the majority of the profits. Millions and millions of people buy tickets to a ballpark every summer; not one of them pays to see an owner. When you segregate the rich, you segregate the poor. Individual players have lost my respect based on their attitude and personality, but I can’t blame someone for being a capitalist. Players belong to their cities and teams as much as I do to the corporation I work for.
Players make a lot of money for the money they bring in, not necessarily for playing baseball. Fans like to say I can’t believe he makes that much money for playing a game. Manny Ramirez makes a lot of money because he does the same for the Dodgers, not necessarily for playing baseball. No one complains of Julia Roberts making millions of dollars for a month’s work on a film. Why does she make so much? It’s not because it’s difficult to act, it’s because people line up at the box office every weekend to see her perform.
For those who don’t think players should be making so much, I ask, where should that money go? The owners? There’s a lot of money flying around Major League Baseball and they’re not going to let it go to waste. Baseball has become big business by the fans’ choice. According to his statistics, it could be argued Derek Jeter is overpaid. When considering the revenue he brings to the Yankees and the game based on the hype that surrounds him and his pretty-boy face and smile, he’s probably vastly underpaid.
If you’re like me and you don’t believe ballplayers should be making so much, there is something you can do. It’s quite simple actually, but the only problem is you only get one vote, much like a presidential election. All you have to do is not give the ballplayer your money. I love the game so much it’s difficult for me not to give any money to major leaguers throughout the season because I like to see the best of the best play the greatest game. However, I can say I do a pretty good job giving less than the average fan. You too can follow these gifted athletes without contributing to their expansive salaries too much. Here are a few tips.
– Eat before you go to a game. Every ball game I go to I see at least one big family who watch about three innings of the game while they spend the rest of their time going to get concessions and using the restroom. Ball park food is overpriced and usually not very good. Fill yourself up before the game. Not only will you save money on stadium food, but you’ll also be able to enjoy more of the game.
– Stay away from souvenirs. A cap costs around $20 and lasts for years. What else do you need to show your team pride? A cheer for the home team can go a lot further than a $200 authentic jersey.
– Never pay for what you can get free. If you’re with your son or daughter and come across a ballplayer before a game and are able to grab an autograph and picture, great. But lining up at a fan fest and paying money for the same thing only contributes to your difference in income.
– Learn to enjoy the radio, it’s free. When you pay for cable, part of that money goes to the local sports network. Much more obviously, when you purchase a satellite TV baseball package, MLB gets a big chunk of that money. Aside from the playoffs and the FOX game of the week, rarely are major league baseball games on regular television. The radio is free and there are some great personalities on the airwaves. Want to watch the game? Hit a local tavern and grab a few reasonably priced beers while you watch. This gives your money to small businesses and not Bud Selig.
– Don’t give in to sponsors. Every season I watch big league baseball and think, a Budweiser would really hit the spot right now. Of course, Budweiser is the official beer of Major League Baseball and its advertising is everywhere from radio and television ads to billboards in the park. Every time I buy a Bud I’m only telling the Busch family that I saw their ads and they worked.
– Is the extra dough really worth the “premium” game? This is a relatively new concept to baseball, at least in Minnesota. Owners recently realized they were selling a lot more seats when the local rivals or the Yankees, Red Sox, Cubs or any other team that draws fair-weather phony fans to the park. Because they saw the money to be made, the owners raised the ticket prices to these select games. Of course, they also have “value” games for those mid-week games against the Blue Jays. They try to act as if they’re discounted, but really they’re just regular price. Don’t give in to the premium game. You’ll have just as good of a chance to see good baseball when the Rangers are in town. David Ortiz, CC Sabathia or the mismanagement of the Cubs may not be there, but the baseball will be just as good. In Minnesota the premium games just mean big crowds of either fair-weather drunken frat boys who don’t necessarily root for the opposing team, but root against the home team, or drunken Brewers fans from Wisconsin who act as if a Twins-Brewers game is a Vikings-Packers game.
– The zero tolerance plan. Want to enjoy the great game of baseball without giving any of your hard-earned dollars to the millionares to play it? Here’s what you can do. Don’t pay for a ticket. No, don’t sneak in, but unless a friend offers up a ticket, don’t go. Don’t buy the merchandise. Don’t give money to any of the sponsors. That’s what you can’t do. What you can do is enjoy the game on the radio. Be sure to catch the FOX game of the week, especially if your team is playing. Want to catch highlights? The internet isn’t free, but checking MLB.com is still free as long as you’re not giving in to the sponsors. Check all the scores, read all the columns and articles and watch highlights; you’re still not giving a dime to the game. Although, for every time you click on the site, that’s one more view they have to show advertisers how much their banners will be viewed. However, if those advertisers aren’t selling their product, they won’t advertise.
I’m only one person and you’re only one person; how can we make a difference? Don’t like the job Barack Obama is doing? Then don’t vote for him. One person won’t make a difference, but millions thinking and acting the same way will. I don’t believe big leaguers should be earning so much, but I do believe they deserve every cent we give them.