There’s no denying it’s hard times. Starbucks is closing some shops, even Toyota is losing money, and I saw a story in the paper about a guy who’s heating his apartment by boiling water and blowing the steam around the room with a fan.
But hey, U.S. Congress, let’s not get carried away. Coming down on Citigroup about their naming rights deal for the Mets new stadium is harsh. Citigroup, recipient of three hundred fifty billion dollars in taxpayer support, will hardly miss the four hundred million it’s going to cost them to sponsor the Mets. And, come on, what better investment of their money could taxpayers request than Citigroup’s name on a big, new ball yard in New York?
According to some smart people I know, the worst financial collapse in almost a century hasn’t altered the fact that you have to spend money to make money, and what better way to spend money than on sports?
Just ask Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig. According to the figures filed this week with the IRS, to preside over his game in 2007 he was being paid a little over eighteen million dollars a year, which was apparently insufficient, since he also got almost half a million dollars for expenses. That works out to more than eleven hundred dollars a day for meals, travel, and his subscription to Sports Illustrated.
But, hey again, if you don’t pay top dollar, you don’t get the top guy at the top of your organization. If it works for Wall Street, it works for Major League Baseball.
And who can possibly argue that it hasn’t worked on Wall Street? (Rim shot)
All this is not to suggest that responsible restraint is nowhere evident in baseball circles. Consider Manny Ramirez, who helped the Dodgers get to the post-season last summer. This week he was offered twenty five million dollars to play for the Dodgers this year, and he nixed the deal. My guess is that he felt that twenty five million was insanely excessive in these days when people are heating their apartments with their tea kettles.
In fact, I don’t have to guess about that. It says right here in the press release that....that...
Oh. Ah. I see. Manny Ramirez turned down the twenty five million for one year because it wasn’t enough. He wants at least twenty five million a year for six years.
This program aired on February 5, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.