Wednesday, October 22, 2014


The last couple years have been less than wonderful if you are a fan of having Yankee baseball in October. The Bombers came up short in back-to-back seasons, and we’ve had take up the mantra of the Chicago Cubs, “Wait ‘til next year!”

I try to look for a silver lining in the baseball void. For example, I don’t need to take the Tums that usually get me through the tension filled short series that is the ALDS…although I do miss those chalky little suckers in a strange way. I also get to take a moment and think about the big picture and listen to music. Yeah, it’s the little things.

Instead of gearing up for game 1 in the Bronx I watched the new HBO show documenting the Foo Fighters. By the way it’s awesome if you’re into that kind of stuff. In a recent episode the focus was on Dave Grohl’s Nirvana years. The producer and engineer of “In Utero” was interviewed and discussed his unbelievable way of doing business in the record industry. In almost every case the engineer/producer will receive a royalty for all sales of the album they worked on. That means when you buy a record some money goes to the artist, some to the record company and some to the producers. However in the case of Steve Albini (said engineer/producer) he feels that he should be paid for the work he does and then that’s it. It’s almost criminal to think about how much money he left on the table with a band like Nirvana, but all the same…it’s really fantastic too. Think about it, a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.

Now here is where my mind traveled a bit bringing this revolutionary concept to the World of Baseball. We will often blame the owners for raising the price of tickets to outrageous levels…and to be fair, they deserve some of that blame…but not all. The players are to blame in a BIG way too. Let’s take my favorite example of a player making insane money for his actual worth, Mark Teixeira. Tex will take home nearly 45 million over the next two years. Once again, 45 MILLION!! He is not even in the realm of players worth half that at this point. And that yearly bill makes the Yankees raise prices. It’s basic economics. They pass the extra cost onto the consumer…us, the fans. What if we could implement Mr. Albini’s working agreement? What if we sign Tex and tell him, “To remain at that 22 million level you HAVE TO hit a minimum .275 with 28 HRs and 100 RBIs. Otherwise we can pay you what you’re worth.” That would give the player some incentive to not say things like, “Welp, I’m in decline and most players get paid too much.

I know, I know…this seem nuts right? Well it isn’t. We’ve just become Okay with what truly is crazy, PAYING SOMEONE INSANE MONEY FOR NOT DOING A JOB WELL!! Think of how much the price of a ticket would fall if the Yankees could take money away from Tex, ARod, CC and Beltran. None of these guys is worth the check that bring home.

(In Photo: Steve Albini)
Look, I’m in NO WAY a class warrior. In fact a deplore them. If you’re poor, it’s not the rich guy’s fault. And if you’re rich, it doesn’t mean you worked hard to be that way. No, what I am saying is I’d prefer a world like the one Steve Albini lives in. It would raise the level of competition. It would make people less complacent and realize that they need to hustle everyday. Nobody would be able to protect someone for doing a lousy job and still rake in a big bag of dough. If you work hard today, you should get paid big bucks today. If you wake up in a week and dog it, do we still have to pay you for the work you did last week? I don’t see it.

I get that players have a short time in this game and that they are trying to make enough to take care of themselves and their families going forward. They have reach the pro level and deserve to make good money. My post is just saying the prices will continue to go up. The players will continue to lose that fire once they sign the long-term, big money deals…and those players and owners will get up from the table and leave us with the bill.

** Enjoy the Offseason, folks. And here’s Dave and the boys playing the appropriate “Something For Nothing” **

 --Mike O'Hara
Senior "Features" Writer
Twitter: @mikeyoh21

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