Living Out Loud

Begrudging Riches


I'm a little jealous of Shohei Ohtani's salary but I am not mad at him for earning it.  Professional athletes deserve every penny they get. We live in a capitalist society with a supply and demand economy. There is a demand for people with athletic ability and baseball players have every right to sell their talents to the highest bidder. After all, due to its exemption to anti-trust laws, baseball can still tie a player to one team for up to nine years (minor and majors combined). How would you like to be told you have only one choice as far as employers go, unless of course you want to switch careers?…….I didn't think so.

If this were a just and sane world fire fighters would be the highest paid workers. These are the folks who risk and lose their lives for the common good. Unfortunately, there are plenty of people willing and able to perform these jobs and the pay rates keep these jobs firmly in the middle class. 

Elon Musk just had a $56 billion pay package approved by the shareholders of Tesla On the average, CEO salaries in Fortune 200 companies rose 13% in 2023. It rose 30% the year before that. In the same time period, the salary of the average factory worker in America rose 3% a year. 

The familiar argument against high salaries for athletes is "They're only playing a game". Yeah, and the Beatles only sang songs. Tom Hanks only plays make believe in front of a camera. I don't begrudge any athlete his salary. People who do are jealous at best and hypocrites at worst. I'd play tiddledywinks for cash. Roger Maris was lambasted when he said playing baseball was a job and that if he could make more money mining zinc, then he'd mine zinc.  When I was a kid, I loved baseball more than anything, but I've never expected players to have attitudes different than other people. Why do I go to the widget factory? So they can SHOW ME THE MONEY! 

I don't go for a bunch of hogwash about how different it was in the old days either. Remember what Babe Ruth said when he was informed that his salary demands would exceed that of the president of the United States? The Babe said, "I had a better year than the president." 

What's the objection to high pay for players? Do we want the corporate owners of sports teams using the stadiums built with tax dollars to be able to keep more of their money? I don't want to hear about how it raises ticket prices and concessions. Eat before you go to the ballpark. I could care less about ticket prices. Go to a minor league game. They are a bargain, or put up with commercials and watch sponsored games on TV.