First off, the next time I see hours and hours of ESPN coverage of a player who signed a fatty deal but won’t actually take the field for a month, I’m throwing my TV three stories to its doom. Now that I’ve got that off my chest, I was putting off each of the million things I needed to do yesterday by watching the Yankees – who I hate more than anything and always will – take on the Mariners. Of course, the commentators said one word about the game through the first few innings and instead spent the time discussing every imaginable angle of Roger “The Rocket” Clemens’ contract. Yes, they also showed the suspended Joe Torre lightin’ up a cigar in the press box – which made me have the utmost respect for him, until I saw it a few innings later still unlit – but it was ridiculous and caused me to actually go to work.
All this Clemens talk has pissed me off to no end, and then I found out that Roger makes more than $100 a minute. While still angry at the amount of media coverage this thing has been getting, this realization made me feel about as poor as I have ever been. Let’s just say I work here for my love of journalism, not the dough I get at the end of the month. This whole thing got me thinking about what I would do if I ever had such a contract.
We can start with my evening last Thursday, when I was sitting at this very computer after the Warriors destroyed the Mavs in game six, debating if I should buy a Baron Davis “The City” jersey. I filled out the entire form on NBA’s online store – credit card number and everything – before clicking cancel when the total price went above 100 freaking bucks. If I was the Rocket, I could have had that jersey for 58 minutes of work or something. Clemens’ absurd salary per minute makes me wonder how much he makes for doing some pretty normal things.
Mr. Clemens takes the “family man” approach to ensure that he doesn’t have to travel with the Yanks on road trips when he isn’t scheduled to pitch. I’m as close to my family as this guy, but if I bailed on my employers for a few days to kick it with my siblings, I probably wouldn’t eat that month. As honorable as Roger is with regard to his family connections, if I was unable to see my dad/husband/anyone related to me for a few weeks at a time so they could go make millions, I’d give them a thumbs up in a second.
The point is that these kind of contracts are ridiculous. In a sport where four teams per league make the playoffs, the Yankees should not have a 12-year-long postseason appearance streak. The Astros never really had a chance in the Clemens sweepstakes because they simply cannot match the prices that the Red Sox and Evil Empire could offer. We never saw Michael Jordan or Wayne Gretzky hanging out to see who will overpay for them the most in the midst of a season, and congratulations to the NBA and the NHL for not allowing that to happen.
I should probably feel quite financially inadequate when I compare my income to that of any professional athlete. Heck, Sasha Vujacic makes more than me, and I know I work harder than that guy. But baseball players and their gluttonous paychecks quite frankly sicken me. I guess that’s why after the NBA Playoffs end and baseball is the only thing going on, I start counting down the days until UCSB soccer starts.