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Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Cheap PopulismPaul Daugherty has written the kind of column for which I have absolutely no use:
Baseball has never been more disconnected.
Because ballplayers are technically paid "salaries," certain people will always draw unfavorable comparisons between what a ballplayer makes and what an auto worker makes. In a practical sense, however, ballplayers are not truly salaried employees. They're private contractors or suppliers on par with steel companies and the petroleum industry: suppliers of essential manufacturing components without which the entire enterprise is impossible. Quick: is anyone criticizing an iron ore mine for not having "perspective"?
But Daugherty is no dummy. He understands baseball economics, and he understands that comparing a left fielder to a normal American worker makes no sense, and that's what makes this an exercise in transparent populism.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 4:47pm
I’m by no means a Boras supporter, but money he has teams spend on players wouldn’t have been otherwise given to some lower-middle class family in need.
Posted 12/10 at 06:05 PM
Oddly enough, I find a young Latin American man migrating to the United States and finding great success using his God-given talents to be uniquely American and representative of our great nation.
Posted 12/10 at 06:06 PM
Aaron B. said...
What I don’t get is why some people think of MLB ballplayers as guys who get paid to “just play a game”. I mean, would you say that opera singers or orchestral musicians get paid to “just make noise”?
Posted 12/10 at 06:37 PM
i never understand these types of columns or gripes about pro athletes. theyre entertainers and are paid proportionally to what kind of entertainment value they produce. if you want will smith to star in a movie youre making, you still have to pay him $20m, or more, just for 3 months of work.
i dont see how this has anything to do auto workers or the retirement worries of millions of americans. at least Daugherty isn’t picking on the law firms that will generated hundreds of millions in dollars from fees to take companies through bankruptcy so their ceo’s and executives can maintain their salaries.
anyway, bottom line i say is if pro athlete’s salaries bother you then go watch college, high school or american legion baseball. plenty of amatuer sports being played that anyone can watch for free.
Posted 12/10 at 06:40 PM
Laurence Davison said...
I think it’s strange that articles like this always appeal to some sense of justice for the common man, yet what they are fundamentally proposing is that more money should stay with rich guys who own sports teams.
Incidentally and on a different subject, Aaron, you should have a look at the salaries and countries of origin of soccer players in the Premiership before giving it the old “uniquely American and representative of our great nation” BS.
Posted 12/10 at 07:08 PM
Pete Toms said...
Ken D & Laurence. Yes.
And often overlooked, or not of concern somehow, is that NFL players are taking home a larger portion of league revenues than MLB players ( ok, they don’t have guaranteed deals ) but I hear a tiny fraction of the complaining about their compensation than I do MLB players.
Posted 12/10 at 07:28 PM
deez nutz said...
I think The Hardball Times should stick to baseball. You can make a pretty good argument that the world would be better off with both competition AND salaries that don’t range into the millions for anyone, no matter how rare their skills are.
Posted 12/10 at 10:46 PM
Hey, thank for the tip, Laurence. I’ll think I’ll stick to my foolish beliefs.
Posted 12/10 at 10:57 PM
Laurence Davison said...
Well indeed. I’d hate to think you’d actually think about what you said or anything un-internetty like that.
Posted 12/11 at 12:31 AM
I dunno. Daugherty thought a few months ago that every other team in baseball had to pass on Adam Dunn for the D-Backs to win their waiver claim.
He doesn’t understand baseball waiver rules. I wouldn’t assume he understands baseball economics.
Posted 12/11 at 12:49 AM