I haven't done a "Changeup" post for last week or a Music Monday post for today. I don't even know if people enjoy my music posts at all, but I enjoy putting them together usually. I just took the last week or so off.
With the Superbowl over and the "pitchers and catchers report" dates quickly approaching, the reality of the slow offseason is being discussed. A lot.
I missed Pitch Talks last week, but this has been a widely discussed tweet. I wasn't there, so I didn't hear the context, but this is what was quoted:
This has been a generally accepted concept for fans. People said Atkins sounded reasonable, and truthfully, he does sound reasonable.
But the thing about "overpaying" aging players is that the reality is that they are looking for a pay day because they were underpaid in their prime. (And when I say "underpaid", I understand this is a statement based entirely on context. I realize that everyone involved is making serious bank. I'm talking about relative bank and the distribution of wealth here.)
Here is where the system favours the owners: baseball has now decided to buy in to the idea that young baseball players are better than aging ones. The stats back that up and that's dandy. However, baseball has also decided that teams can have control over a player for six seasons, what baseball has now determined to be their prime years.
They under control until it is determined they are less valuable. And now some are struggling to find a deal that seemed a reality not too long ago. I understand their frustrations.
It's not like any one is truly cash strapped in this situation. I understand that not every team is the Yankees, but even the less rich teams are making a serious amount of money. This is not the NHL.
A lot of executives talking about wanting to focus on "younger talent", but the silence on actually paying the younger talent in proportion to the amount of money these teams are making on them is deafening. If it was just value for money, that would be the solution.
In my more cynical moments, I suspect that some owners would be fine not paying these players at all. It is important to remember that players now have the right to guaranteed contracts and free agency because previous generations fought for it. Demanded it.
I was wondering about the tendency fans had for siding with management in these situations. I suspect some of it is to do with fantasy baseball, though this predates the popularity of fantasy baseball. But it might explain some of its popularity.
Here's my theory:
Professional athletes are freaks. Average people may have difficulty identifying with them and some might even hate them because of it. The envy of those who are stupendously gifted athletically and the envy of their ability to play something that many love and few excel at makes some fans think these players should just shut up and take what's offered.
While a child may identify with or aspire to the 6'2", 220 lbs specimen that can hit 50 bombs, run like a deer and make dazzling catches, an adult better understand their own limitations and realities.
Fantasy baseball allows these adult fans to identify with someone who seems more relatable- the possibly pudgy but very clever baseball executive. They are no longer just dazzled by the stellar plays of the athlete, but they see him as a means to an end and wonder what value he has in what can be received in trading him. For millions of fans, baseball is no longer about having the player, but about moving the player.
And maybe because both sides are made up of various different types of men that I don't identify with either side.
I am baffled by the people choosing the billionaires over the millionaires, though I understand that rich people feuding would seem nonsensical and petty to most average fans, especially if it meant the loss of baseball.
However, if it comes down to a fight between owners and players, I'm going to take players 99.9% of the time.
People that are supremely good at throwing, catching and hitting baseballs are what make up baseball. Baseball is extremely wealthy right now.
Pay the players their fair share.
I hope y'all ready, you know I'm ready
I reign all day, you know, confetti
I gotta go get it, I gotta go get it
I gotta go get it, I gotta go get it, skrrt
Happy Birthday, Hank Aaron
Feliz Cumple, Roberto Alomar
Most magical baseball day?