Ellsbury leaves Sox, Schmidt leaves baseball

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Free agent outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury, fresh off winning the World Series with Boston, reached agreement with the rival New York Yankees on a seven-year contract worth about $153-million, a person familiar with the negotiations said on December 4th.

The same night longtime Red sox fan and noted baseball afficinado Ted Schmidt announced his divorce from the summer game.

“This is the final straw”, the Scarboro community theologian stated in Toronto’s Hush Free Press.”The great game is in the hands of accountants and players with no allegiance to anything but their pocket books.Loyalty is a nineteenth century word, long gone from the vocabulary of today’s mercenaries.

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I have notified the Red Sox that their longstanding fan is out for good.

As  I once said to the great Japanese scout Aki Yoshamoto whom I first met in Oakville in 1960, Sayonara!

 

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3 Comments »

  1. 1

    I heard that Ellsbury is now reconsidering–when he got the news that you were objecting to this and leaving the game.

    In all seriousness, let’s examine your outrageous claim:

    ”The great game is in the hands of accountants and players with no allegiance to anything but their pocket books.Loyalty is a nineteenth century word, long gone from the vocabulary of today’s mercenaries”

    Why is it okay for you to offer your gifts, talents, and skills to a potential buyer, but not him? His job is not in the public sector, but yours was; he has to worry about things you don’t have to worry about and never had to worry about. But let’s put you in the private sector, where he is, just for a moment. You offer your gifts, talents, and skills, and your employer offers you $100,000 a year (a significant raise). You are about to accept, but someone else chimes in: “I will offer you $150,000 a year to teach for us. If we hire you, parents will send their children to our school, because you are a drawing card” (remember, this is imaginary).

    Now, you say to yourself: “I could use that extra 50 thousand for this and that and the other thing.” You are about to accept, until someone else chimes in: “We’ll give you $200,000 a year if you agree to teach with us. We like your message, we are sure our students would benefit from your skills, and parents would certainly send their kids to our school if they know that you are on staff. Please, accept our offer.”

    Now, your daughter is still in university and she could use some help, a shelter for the homeless is struggling and could use some help, etc. So you are about to accept this latest offer–mind you, someone is shaking his head, claiming that you have no loyalty and that all you think about is money, money, and nothing but money–, and then someone else calls you, and offers you $300,000.

    This goes on, to your surprise, for about a week. The final offer is pretty high. Are you obligated to go back and take the lowest offer, because you’ve been there the longest, in other words, for loyalty’s sake?

    Of course, Ellsbury is not taking home the full 153 million. There are taxes to pay, agents to pay, accountant to pay, a pension to put into, investments to be made, etc. That 153 million looks like a lot of money from our vantage point, but if he’s not careful, he could be living in poverty by the time he’s 50.

    In any case, someone values his skills at 153 million for 7 years. That’s a market price. That’s what he’s worth. I’m not worth that. The average pro ball player is not worth that–he’s worth something, but not quite that much. Ellsbury is worth that much, just as Brad Pitt’s skills as an actor are worth millions, because having him in your film, you are guaranteed to be making millions and millions on that film. If a school is going to be making so much more money and drawing so many more students to the school by having you on staff, then you are worth a lot to that school. How much are you worth? It will be precisely what you finally end up agreeing on. If the school is willing to pay you $300,000, then clearly you are worth $300,000 to them. Your decision to enter into a contract with them is not prostitution. You’re still a teacher, you still love what you teach, you still love students, you still love your first school that you worked for, you just want to get on with teaching and not have to worry about whether or not you can afford new snow tires, whether or not you can afford to have your furnace repaired, etc. Now you don’t have to worry about that, you can just focus on teaching.

    Athletes do not retire at 55 or 60. Their careers are short lived, relatively speaking. They have to make their fortune within a shorter time span. Also, they have to worry about inflation. The dollar they make today is not going to be worth the same in nominal terms by the time they reach 50, especially if people like Obama are elected to office. Printing money devalues the dollar, and Obama has printed a hell of a lot of money since he’s been in office. And when you print money, you do NOT create wealth, because wealth is NOT money. What you end up doing is changing the dollar value of the total volume of goods and services produced in a given year. If it was $100 and is now $200 because of the extra money in circulation, you have now reduced the value of everyone’s dollar to 50 cents. That’s what Ellbury can expect in 30 years. When you consider everything, that 153 million begins to look more and more reasonable.

    Your problem is that you are looking at it from a very simple angle. There is so much you do NOT see, so much that you have not thought to calculate or bring into the equation. You just see that large number assume that this is greed and injustice. It’s called lazy-mindedness. But the truth of the matter is that you’re simply a bigot.

    .

  2. 2
    wmgrace Says:

    It is not as if Pope Francis needed any more concrete examples of the “new tyranny”, or “the idolatry of money” or the “thirst for power and possessions [which] know no limits” or the “deified market…which tends to devour everything which stands in the way of increased profits”. But Jacoby Ellsbury’s MLB contract does serve the purpose. To be fair, Ellsberry is only a small part of baseball’s capitalist equation but nonetheless its extremely revealing. The financial details of the contract as described by Ted, speak for themselves.

    The old and once-honourable sport of professional baseball has been on the decline for many years as a result of the commodification of the all aspects of the game from the locker room to the boardroom and beyond, and also the mindless pursuit of winning at all costs. The timeless qualities of sport (which have been discussed many times on this blog, and would be known to those who have seriously played the game) such as teamwork, honesty, loyalty, cooperation, fair play and tolerance to name some, have been neglected and subverted by the reckless pursuit of personal and corporate wealth, which goes well beyond reasonable salaries, and profits needed to sustain the corporate enterprises. These same qualities are the necessary civic virtues needed to maintain and grow the democratic institutions we depend on – so that we can all work together to support and help one-another to achieve our common goals within society.

    What is particularly striking, is the fact that this MLB behemoth of spectacle and conspicuous consumption of valuable economic and social resources exists side by side with tens of millions of Americans pushed aside to the margins, and needing government and charitable assistance just to maintain an adequate level of nutrition. Side by side with once-prosperous but now decaying and gutted communities – such as those found in Ohio, Michigan and all over the US – because their industries and jobs have been relocated to countries overseas where human capital is much cheaper. Side by side with people who still exist perilously within these broken communities, where the hope of finding another job is a just another shattered dream.

    As I see it, Ted’s act of resistance/rebellion against the MLB establishment is exactly what is needed. Unfortunately most fans are not inclined to resist or complain. Overall, fans are addicted to their specific sport team and they would really miss handing out large sums of money for over-priced tickets and paraphernalia, or sports cable services, to support their teams. In addition they would prefer that their cities grant huge financial subsidies, directly (e.g.. discounted purchase of land, buildings or equipment, shared building costs or repairs, special parking concessions, vast infrastructure, the cost of externalities such as pollution,congestion, displacement etc.) or indirectly through one huge tax dodge or another, just to have them come and set-up shop in their town. On the other hand, many sports corporations are addicted to these government handouts and wouldn’t be there without them. The bottom line is that the people are paying enormous sums of money for all of this, and getting little or nothing of substance in return for the benefit of their communities.

  3. 3

    It is not as if Pope Francis needed any more concrete examples of the “new tyranny”, or “the idolatry of money” or the “thirst for power and possessions [which] know no limits” or the “deified market…which tends to devour everything which stands in the way of increased profits”.

    I suspect that Pope Francis knows nothing of baseball in the United States. His words about the idolatry of money and the thirst for power, etc., can only be understood in their proper context, like anything else, and that context is the corruption and crony capitalism of the developing countries of the South. When he speaks of “trickle down” economies, he’s not referring to the United States or Canada. We have the solid legal infrastructure that’s needed for a market economy to work, but the developing world does not. The wealthy in these countries do speak of “trickle down” economics, but there is no such concept in the history of economics. When we understand the context of his words, things begin to make sense. But it is bad hermeneutics to take his words and read them within the framework of the market economy of the First World.

    But Jacoby Ellsbury’s MLB contract does serve the purpose. To be fair, Ellsberry is only a small part of baseball’s capitalist equation but nonetheless its extremely revealing. The financial details of the contract as described by Ted, speak for themselves.

    No they don’t speak for themselves. Only when you come at them with an already established framework of assumptions that have sat in your mind for years, without any critical scrutiny do they say what you want them to say. You just assume that because they sat there in your mind all these years untouched, that they must therefore be true. The problem is you never allowed those ideas to enter into real debate and discussion with people who understand business and the fundamentals of economics. You’re just not that kind of person. You are not really a seeker, a thinker, someone who observes and wonders and questions. You like to shout and object instead. You’re an activist, not a thinker

    The old and once-honourable sport of professional baseball has been on the decline for many years as a result of the commodification of the all aspects of the game from the locker room to the boardroom and beyond, and also the mindless pursuit of winning at all costs.

    This is just rhetoric. What have you said? Nothing at all. “Commodification…from the locker room to the boardroom…” What are you saying? Sounds good, but it means nothing.”

    The timeless qualities of sport (which have been discussed many times on this blog, and would be known to those who have seriously played the game)

    You know, that’s true. You said something here that is genuinely true: “…and would be known to those who have seriously played the game”. There is a mode of knowing that can only be had via connaturality. The artist knows the quality of good art because art is “within him”; it is a kind of self-knowledge. But that’s what you need to realize when it comes to the world of business. There is a vast universe of knowledge to be had, and you don’t have it, because you have not lived and breathed the world of business. You don’t understand these things. You understand your ideology, which is abstracted from the real, and it’s very simple, lacks precision and detail, not to mention mathematical rigor. You speak about these things from the outside. You are like the old man who looks at modern art and says “that’s crap. Whatever happened to real art?” You just don’t know the world of business, and sport is a business. Players have to make a living.

    such as teamwork, honesty, loyalty, cooperation, fair play and tolerance to name some, have been neglected and subverted by the reckless pursuit of personal and corporate wealth,

    What are you talking about? There’s no teamwork and cooperation and fair play in baseball today? What nonsense! Subverted? Pure rhetoric!

    which goes well beyond reasonable salaries,

    And what is a reasonable salary for a young professional baseball player? And how did you determine that? What criteria do you use to determine a reasonable salary for a young man who plays baseball? I’d really like to know that. What’s a reasonable salary for a teacher? Because I know some people who laugh hysterically at the thought that a Catholic teacher of a high school gets paid close to $100,000 a year in Ontario. Laugh out loud funny for some people. They don’t think it is reasonable, but you do. What’s the criterion for reasonableness?

    and profits needed to sustain the corporate enterprises. These same qualities are the necessary civic virtues needed to maintain and grow the democratic institutions we depend on – so that we can all work together to support and help one-another to achieve our common goals within society.

    Okay, you believe you said something here, but I’m not sure what

    What is particularly striking, is the fact that this MLB behemoth of spectacle and conspicuous consumption of valuable economic and social resources exists side by side with tens of millions of Americans pushed aside to the margins, and needing government and charitable assistance just to maintain an adequate level of nutrition.

    Why do you assume that they’ve been “pushed aside”? I’ve worked with street people and the unemployed, and they are not all victims who have been pushed aside. What an assumption that is! What you on the left typically fail to understand is that people make choices, and sometimes people are in the situations they are in because of bad choices that they made that landed them there. You are operating out of a very old and outdated psychology. There are people who cannot take care of themselves, and it is the role of government to provide for these people. But it is not always so clear who are in that predicament as a result of poor choices (i.e., drug use), or whether they are innocent. My point is that not all of them have been pushed aside. Many of them pushed themselves aide. You know these people, they were the ones who, despite state funded education, well paid teachers, programs for behavioral students paid for by the Ontario government, state of the art equipment, etc., they chose to skip class, extort money, deal drugs, and flush their education down the toilet in a spirit of entitlement .

    Side by side with once-prosperous but now decaying and gutted communities – such as those found in Ohio, Michigan and all over the US – because their industries and jobs have been relocated to countries overseas where human capital is much cheaper.

    Yes, and I wonder just how much the unions were the driving force behind this move overseas.

    Side by side with people who still exist perilously within these broken communities, where the hope of finding another job is a just another shattered dream.

    I wonder if you really understand the economics behind these broken communities. If you do, there is hope that you might be able to offer an intelligent and well thought out plan to bring some sort of recovery. But it is easier to shout slogans and spew rhetoric. But there is a way out. You can’t see it. Ideological blinders are in the way.

    As I see it, Ted’s act of resistance/rebellion against the MLB establishment is exactly what is needed. Unfortunately most fans are not inclined to resist or complain. Overall, fans are addicted to their specific sport team and they would really miss handing out large sums of money for over-priced tickets and paraphernalia, or sports cable services, to support their teams.

    No, it’s not addiction. It’s just that they really enjoy watching baseball. It’s a tremendous way to leisure. And again, what is the “right price” for a ticket. What is your criterion for “over priced”? What would be a good price that is not “over”? And how did you determine the answer?

    In addition they would prefer that their cities grant huge financial subsidies, directly (e.g.. discounted purchase of land, buildings or equipment, shared building costs or repairs, special parking concessions, vast infrastructure, the cost of externalities such as pollution,congestion, displacement etc.) or indirectly through one huge tax dodge or another, just to have them come and set-up shop in their town.

    Well, local governments should NOT be subsidizing professional sport. If they can’t sustain a team, then the team should pack up and move on to the city that can.

    On the other hand, many sports corporations are addicted to these government handouts and wouldn’t be there without them. The bottom line is that the people are paying enormous sums of money for all of this, and getting little or nothing of substance in return for the benefit of their communities.

    addicted? Or dependent upon? In any case, if people are paying enormous sums of money and are getting little or nothing of substance in return, then they would stop purchasing tickets. The fact that they have not, proves you wrong. They are clearly getting their money’s worth.


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