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December 12th, 2000

Is anyone worth $252 million?

The Chicago White Sox were in the running to sign a baseball player by the name of Alex Rodriguez. Allegedly, at one point, Rodriguez’s agent wanted certain demands in order to sign with the Sox. They included his own office, his own promotional campaign, any and all marketing campaigns must focus exclusively on him, his own locker room, and – my favorite – an entire marketing team just for him.

Thankfully, Rodriguez signed with the deep-pocketed Texas Rangers. He’ll be getting over $21 million a year for the next seven years. Mind you, he’s already been in the league for seven years, and that’s starting to approach the late stages of a career (in traditional timeframes.)

But it begs the question, "Is this guy really worth $252 million?" I’ve always had a hard time understanding why sports figures get paid so much from their teams. Now, I won’t deny that sports are a popular form of entertainment in America. But sports figures are wholly marketed now. It used to be that folks like Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays went out there, played good baseball, and all of the other things (including endorsements) followed. These players are legendary but, as I said in my Ping the other day, the talent came first. Now, the marketing comes first.

I’ve always heard people say that "regular" workers will never understand the monetary scale of high-paid athletes, CEOs, and government officials. Maybe that’s so, because I can’t believe that any one individual is worth that much money. If he suffers just one injury, he could be gone from the game forever. Just one really bad chance could screw it all up. Then what? Well, he won’t have to care about that, since he’ll have a nice bank account.

What do you think? Is anyone worth that much money? -pm

Posted in Miscellaneous

FROM: Old Fezziwig
DATE: Tuesday December 12, 2000 -- 9:19:11AM
No - I don't think anyone is worth that amount of money. Especially relative to what important people are making, like teachers. The salaries in baseball have gotten way out of hand and I can't wait until they impose a salary cap. Of course, that will cause a player's strike so then we will have no baseball to watch.

DATE: Tuesday December 12, 2000 -- 9:47:07AM
I think I'm worth that much money. Or, more precisely, I think I should get that much money, whether I'm worth it or not.

FROM: Robert
DATE: Tuesday December 12, 2000 -- 12:40:36PM
As long as people want to treat pro athletes like heroes, they will pull down heroic green. Everyone should be like me and only watch sports as much as it is entertaining, which ain't that much.

FROM: Matt
DATE: Tuesday December 12, 2000 -- 1:35:37PM
Paul your column brings to mind the answer: who cares baseball sucks now and so do all the nameless and faceless players that make up the sport. Actually most sports suck. I like to watch UFC and basketball, but I'd rather play basketball.
I think the only person thats worth that much money is God

FROM: Maria
DATE: Tuesday December 12, 2000 -- 4:00:58PM
Good point, but look at Hollywood. Actors like Jim Carrey, Tom Cruise and Julia Roberts consistently make $15 to $20 million per movie (sometimes more!). If they make one or two movies a year, they can easily pull in more over a 10 year period than any athlete. Granted, movies have a lot more entertainment value (in my opinion) than sports, but if you consider viewing time, you only get 2 hours or so of the movie stars per movie (so maybe 4 hours per year), while you get several hours of an athlete, per game, per season.
This is not to say that any of this is right, though. I wholeheartedly agree with Old Fezziwig that teachers are the ones who are REALLY important.

FROM: Monica
DATE: Tuesday December 12, 2000 -- 5:04:33PM
hey Matt-- I can just imagine God singing "if I had a million dollars"

FROM: Robert
DATE: Wednesday December 13, 2000 -- 2:22:07PM
Matt--In that case, Bill Gates, et al, really would have "more money than God".

FROM: Matt
DATE: Wednesday December 13, 2000 -- 6:21:43PM
LOL yes but his currency would be paper which is burnable

FROM: gary b
DATE: Wednesday November 6, 2002 -- 2:14:36 pm
well what go's around comes around.why do you think so many actors support charity's.thay give $1000. to charity whit one of those big giant cheaks the one's that are 6 feet long.and think there great givers but i give about 250.00 a year and i only make $21.000 a year.if you put that on a scale it whould be huge.but millonnars are greedy and give money mainly forpublisity and tax relief.well it's coming around

FROM: Raifficastillo
DATE: Thursday January 8, 2004 -- 4:50:55 pm
well I think I make more money then all those player or artist

FROM: Dave Walls [E-Mail]
DATE: Thursday January 8, 2004 -- 6:11:00 pm
Apparently, all the money in the world still can't buy you a first grade education.

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