Tuesday, October 30, 2007

A-Rod, Manny and Bonds: playing for the game?

Not many of us can recall seeing the speech Lou Gehrig gave on the July 4th, 1939, but I am sure that we have all heard bits of the speech. Gehrig played the game because he loved it. He didn't have a multi-million dollar contract, he didn't need one. Gehrig played in 2,130 consecutive games a record that was once thought to be untouchable. Gehrig mentioned in his speech that he may have been given some bad breaks in his life but he was still the luckiest man in the world because of the opportunity he had to play the greatest game in the world.

Fast Forward 48 years. We now see players who have no heart or honor. Player like Manny Ramirez who exclaimed that if the lose the it is no big deal because there is always next season but the people who pay money to go see him play think it is a big deal. In fact as MLB itself put it a few years ago the average fan "Lives for this Game". Then there is A-Rod who has no respect for the game. He and his agent decided that game four of the World Series would be the day that they decide to exercise the option in his lucrative contract and become a free agent. He obviously thinks he is bigger than the game and for this I believe that A-rod will never win the World Series.

Many things have been written about the Barry Bonds situation so I will make this brief. Some people have made the argument that players in earlier years may have been taking Benzedrine or other stimulants to boost their performance or other unknown tactics were used in order to gain an advantage like sharpening cleats or using Vaseline on a ball to change it's trajectory. The argument is that they do not have an asterisk* by their name or they do not get ridiculed for their use of performance enhancing drugs. Those people who make that argument are the same reason why baseball is not what it once was and have no respect for the game. Anytime you as a player take or use a drug or product that is not available to other players whether it be because of mandates or legality then you are CHEATING and there is no room for you in sports period! After all it is only a game.

This brings me to my point of this whole blog. When will people stop paying for the ridiculous ticket prices? In Economics 2310 we all learned the principles of diminishing returns. This principle states, in simple terms, that ticket prices will continue to increase until people stop paying for the tickets and stay at home watching the games. Player's salaries will continue to get larger and larger and people will continue to complain about the large player salaries. When A-Rod starts making 40 Million a year will people care? When the first baseball player starts making 100 Million a year will anyone care? When a family of four has to take out a loan to go see a regular season baseball game will anyone care? The argument was made that Wall Street's top performers make 40 and 50 million dollar bonuses and that no one bats and eye but what does the Wall Street guy get if he does poorly especially in crunch time, or if he does something illegal like take steroids or if he loses the passion for what he does as a trade. He gets fired! So is it time to fire baseball? Not as long as people still buy the tickets.

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