Posted by: susanideus | May 7, 2007

It’s Monday and I’m Mad

My daughter regularly has a “Monday Madness” entry on her blog, looking at something strange, quirky, funny or downright ridiculous. Today, I’m doing a Monday MAD entry…

Let me begin by saying that I’m a baseball fan — and an ardent Houston Astros fan. Like many others, I admit to my chagrin that I was caught up in the hype of signing “The Rocket” Roger Clemens a few years ago to be an Astro — it was great PR and let’s face it, the guy can pitch (most of the time anyway). But then his demands grew as his prowess lessened. Last year, it was like he held the team hostage until he decided whether or not he would play again. I said enough with the drama, pitch or be quiet. Wow, he’s “giving” us another year. But, I didn’t particularly want him back this year because I felt the rest of the team, especially the pitching staff, was slighted and overlooked due to his glitz and fame, despite his rather mediocre stats. Still, he said he might… I know there were ongoing negotiations, but it was really no big surprise that he went back to the Yankees, following another Houston hometowner Andy Pettite. Money talks and the Yankees have plenty of that, and Clemens feels “privileged” to be a part of their organization again and will do all in his power to help the team. Hey, I guess he should feel privileged — at a cool $4.5 mil a month or whatever he signed for…. That buys a lot of privilege. Now not being a Yankees fan ever, I had a few choice (private) comments about his “tough” decision… (I don’t think wishing for a 19.5 ERA is too harsh…)

Now, I’ve long been a critic of athletic salaries — those for professional athletes and my pet peeve, college coaches who can rake in more than the school president, not to mention much more than a tenured professor. It’s not that I think a person should not be compensated for doing good work.  Indeed, I have long fought that battle for those who worked for me through the years.  Somehow, though, priorities have gotten mixed up here. Athletics should never be played at the expense of education, and no one (no, not even the Rocket) is worth that much money. I know, before someone tells me, that Clemens is generous to charities and his foundations. Many high-salaried athletes are. As well they should be. I believe with privilege comes responsibility. But, almost $20 mil to pitch part of a season??? Good grief! What is wrong with this picture??? I heard a sports report today on NPR. Someone sat down and figured that given roughly the average number of pitches Clemens usually throws in an outing, EACH pitch would be worth upwards of $7500.00 — I’m sorry, but that is simply obscene. In less than an inning, he can surpass my yearly income… Now, I’m not a ball player and I don’t entertain millions and I’m not good PR for any cause and I can’t give what he does for charities, but please… Where is the sense of scale and purpose here? He’s not a Nobel scholar or a researcher out to cure a dreaded disease. He throws baseballs!!!

Of course I know that so long as there are fans willing to pay the price to see their teams play (OK, so maybe I should think about boycotting baseball if I’m serious here…) and as long as those college teams win, this picture is not likely to change. So I’ll just keep on ranting when something this ridiculous occurs. And I’m privileged to do so!

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