Tuesday, February 13, 2007

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Yesterday Mariano Rivera was speculating about his future with the NY Yankees. He is currently in the final year of a three year contract that pays him approximately $10 million a year. I'm paraphrasing here but what he basically said was that if the Yankees don't show him the proper respect, then he was going to have to pack up his bags and move on. He went on to say that the Yankees have always shown him the proper respect in the past and that he was sure they would deal with him fairly.

This is one of the things that annoys me most about athletes. They like to use code words for MONEY. It's a fairly simple thing to say that if I don't get enough money then I'll have to go somewhere else. I guess athletes think that by using the code word "respect", the fans will be too stupid to know what they really mean. I remember when Mike Hampton signed the biggest deal ever given to a pitcher with the Colorado Rockies. The Rockies basically doubled the offer from the nearest competitor for Hampton's services. Everyone in baseball knew that Colorado was a graveyard for pitchers and especially for breaking ball pitchers. Hampton was not a classic curveball pitcher, but he wasn't exactly a power pitcher either. I knew he was going for the money, he knew he was going for the money, the American people knew he was going for the money. So what did he say in his press conference announcing the deal? He talked about how he and wife had decided on Colorado because of the school system. The public school system???!!!??!!? You just signed a deal for $90 million and you are trying to tell me that the reason you chose to go to Colorado was because of the public school system?

Why won't athletes just say that they chose to sign a deal because the team offered them the most money? It's not a crime. I'm sure most people make decisions on their next job based on money. The public won't hate you for admitting it. In fact it makes you look foolish when you come up with ridiculous reasons other than money. Tomorrow when you go to work, why don't you try throwing around the word respect and see how far it gets you. Say something like, "When my review comes in, I better get the proper respect or else I might just have to start looking elsewhere". See how far that gets you. It might even work if they happen to like you. Perhaps they'll give you a better office or more assistants. Of course what you really wanted was more money, but respect in the real world, just mean respect. In the world of the athlete it means cold, hard cash.

Mariano is probably my favorite player on the Yankees. He's been spectacular for the past 11 seasons. He's been so good in fact that I never really blamed him for blowing the series against the Indians in '97 or the World Series in '01. He's done his job and has seldom had anything but positive things to say in the press. Perhaps he's getting cantankerous in his old age. I don't know, but hopefully the Yankees show him the proper respect in contract negotiations. I would hate to have him end his career somewhere else. But seriously Mariano, if you want more money, just say that. Trust me. No one is going to hold that against you. You are arguably the greatest closer of all time. But if you start using stupid sports cliches, I am going to hold that against you.

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