Lesson in American values — baseball edition

A lesson to boys and girls who love the NY Yankees and particularly their modest superstar Aaron Judge.  It’s a business, kids.  Don’t get too attached to your favorite player.  Even if he’s a humble, cool giant and almost always gets the big hit when the team needs it, robs somebody of a homerun or throws out a runner at the plate in a close game.  Even if he arrived in the Major Leagues after a career in the Yankees’ minor league system (“farm system”) and has always expressed his desire to play his whole career for the Bronx Bombers.

Judge, a superstar player at the peak of his powers, is going to be a “free agent” at the end of this season, his seventh with the NY York Yankees.  He is having a season for the ages, is the leading candidate for Most Valuable Player in the American League and has added a phenomenal base stealing percentage (16 out of 18) to his major league leading offensive skills (he leads everyone in home runs, RBIs, runs scored, slugging percentage, total bases, WAR, and is in the top ten in batting average).  He is also an excellent defensive player. 

His contract with the Yankees is up, meaning that as soon as the season ends he can test the “market” and get the money his skills command.   The contract he signed a few years ago underpaid him, in terms of today’s ridiculous major league baseball salaries for star players.   Judge is a superstar, and can expect to be offered, at age 30, after a ridiculously great year, the highest contract ever for a baseball player.  When the Yankees did not sign him during Spring Training (ESPN reports: Judge declined the Yankees’ seven-year, $213.5 million extension offer earlier this year and figures to land a more lucrative deal thanks to his potentially record-setting 2022 season) he put thoughts of his future record contract out of his head and put in one of the great baseball seasons of all-time, greatly upping his market value.   

When he asked for a million dollars more than his contract called for, during negotiations before the season, the Yankees made him submit to arbitration where they wound up splitting his claim with what they offered.  Seriously?   As a show of good faith?

It’s a business, kids.  A million bucks is a million bucks.

Rap mogul, billionaire JZ, decided a few years ago to represent baseball players, as a way to make more money.  He was the agent to the stars who told then Hall of Fame-bound Yankees superstar Robbie Cano that the Yankees were disrespecting him by offering him only about $200,000,000 to remain with the team.  Cano repeated this statement about disrespect in the media and signed with the highest bidder, for about $40,000,000 more, on his way to oblivion.   He spent the rest of his declining career probably regretting JZ’s advice, although Agent JZ no doubt grabbed several million more on the additional forty million he negotiated for Cano.  Money talks, yo.

The Yankees president declared recently that Judge is an “all-time Yankee” and that they will be “competitive” in the attempt to keep him on the team.   Don’t be taken in by that PR, kids, another team will offer Judge more money and, in all likelihood, Judge will take it, and kill the Yankees for years to come.   Don’t let this shit break your hearts, kids, it’s a game, but it’s a business.   The business of America, as we all know, is business.   No reason to get sentimental when it comes to the bottom line.  Suck up the heartbreak that your hero can be bought and sold.  It’s the country we live in, kid, it’s what American heroes do (see Robert DeNiro’s classy credit card commercial).

Judge could do a remarkable thing, like take a few million less to remain with his team, but expecting the remarkable is a ticket to disappointment.  Don’t set yourself up for it, kid.

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