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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

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