Monday, July 23, 2007

gregg doyel baits the line; despite my attempts to resist, i bite

[note: good guy at sports has already covered this article in extensively hilarious fashion (see his post from july 16). feel free to just read his. or read both mine and his. or don't read either. why the hell are you here anyways?]

that's the thing about doyel. in most of his articles, i just KNOW he's baiting readers like me. he's knowingly making outrageous statements, ignoring cognitive thought processes, and generally saying anything stupid and controversial that will make people angry and thus generate "buzz" about his writing. that's the brilliant evil of gregg doyel. and usually, i manage to take what he writes with a grain of salt and not waste time blogging about it. unfortunately that's not going to happen today. this particular piece of crap is different, because doyel covers such a wide array of material. it's a disaster on a much bigger scale than what he usually comes up with. an analogy would be to say that reading average doyel column is like a getting punched in the face, but reading this doyel article is like getting punched in the face while also getting kicked in the crotch, bit by a doberman, and zapped with a taser. you'll see.

Big deals mean raw deals for Joe fan

The number to kill all numbers is coming soon, and I wish to God I was talking about Barry Bonds and the number 756. Instead I'm talking about Alex Rodriguez and the number $35 million, which is the annual salary he and ruthless agent Scott Boras will pry from some team this offseason after A-Rod opts out of the final three years of his contract with the Yankees and becomes a free agent.

it's true, that's a lot of money. salaries in baseball are spiraling out of control these days. but personally i'm getting pretty sick of reading about it; the topic is almost becoming the new steroids. a topic that everyone already agrees is a problem, which sportswriters can fall back on when they need to rant and rave and make themselves feel like keepers of the moral high ground. i mean, don't get me wrong. as a fan of a small/mediumish market team i am certainly bothered by the trend in question. my beloved local franchise has no shot whatsoever at landing top line free agents. hell, they're even out of the running for most "sort of good, kind of" free agents. they simply can't afford it. and that sucks, big time. but what are they going to do about it? they're going to look for any bargains they can, and develop talent from within their own organization. going all gregg doyel isn't going to help anything. speaking of which, where is the public outrage about members of the sports media who suck at their jobs but probably get paid in the high five figures/low six figures annually? this is ridiculous! we need a sports journalism salary cap! hello?

A-Rod learned nothing from his last contract, that 10-year, $252 million monstrosity he stole from the Texas Rangers in 2001, when he doubled the previous record contract in U.S. sports history and -- congratulations! -- became universally despised for his shocking greed.

he didn't "steal" it, you clod. rangers owner tom hicks was being stupid, and offered it to him. gregg doyel says: how dare he accept! also, arod didn't become "universally despised." people were mad at the situation, but not specifically at rodriguez. in his 3 years in texas, he finished 6th, 2nd, and 1st in MVP voting. he averaged 52 HR and 132 RBIs. no doubt he was overpaid relative even to other great players, but he definitely played like he was worth a hell of a lot of money. you want to know who is "universally despised?" the guy who plays left field for the giants. compare arod (even in the weeks and months immediately after arod's contract was finalized in 2001) to that guy. it's not even close.

A $35 million or even $40 million annual contract is coming. You can feel it in the air, like a bad storm. You can smell it, like a bad bowel movement. The perfect confluence of events is here: the great player having the career season ... the desperate team with too much money and not enough recent World Series titles ... and the brilliantly unscrupulous agent.

it's worth mentioning that if arod didn't opt out of his contract, it would have paid him more than $30 million annually already in these last 3 years, because it was backloaded. so he's not really going for that much of a raise. sort of. also, great poop joke.

It's unavoidable. The Yankees already have given $28 million this season (pro-rated) to Roger Clemens, an old pitcher past his prime. A-Rod is on pace to hit .320 with 58 home runs, 160 runs and 165 RBI, which would merely be the best (clean) offensive season since the 1930s -- and he's just 31 years old. He could play at this level for another four or five seasons at least, and could play at an All-Star level until he is 40. If he stays healthy he will pass Ruth and Aaron and Bonds and not only become the all-time home run king, but put that record out of reach. He will sell tickets wherever he goes, he will raise the value of whatever television deal is in place for his franchise, and he will sell $125 jerseys like Ernie Banks once sold 12-cent baseball cards.

so people are stupid. so what? supply and demand, my friend. if people pay for those tickets and jerseys, we really only can blame ourselves when a player gets a $40 million a year contract. i don't even have a snide comment to make here. as chris w would say, :shrug: . that's the way things work these days.

Those are just some of the points Boras will hammer into the Yankees and any other team that joins the bidding for Rodriguez after this season, and if no other team joins the bidding, Boras will lie to the Yankees and make them believe otherwise. Would I put it past Boras to promise a favor to another franchise down the road, a player delivered at a reasonable (for Boras) price, in exchange for that franchise pretending to get involved in the A-Rod bidding to pump up the price? Hell no I wouldn't put that scenario past Boras. He has a history of getting unwitting teams to bid against themselves. This guy is so shady, so good, that he'd pretend to have a terminal disease if he thought some team's sympathy would help him finagle a few extra bucks for a client. If you asked me to pick the more admirable form of life, Scott Boras or WWE president Vince McMahon, I'd ask to check the bottoms of their shoes in case a more palatable choice was squished underneath there.

whatever. wrestling is a shady business, obviously, but vince mcmahon is partially a fictional character. just saying comparing him to boras is stupid. let's get to the good stuff.

It's not like Rodriguez will need nefariousness to get the contract to end all contracts. In the past week alone, sports owners seem to have lost their collective minds.

this is the part i was describing at the beginning with the crotch kick, the doberman, and the taser.

In the NBA, the idiot in charge of the Magic gave a six-year, $118 million contract to an underachieving role player named Rashard Lewis.

it was indeed a horrible decision by the magic. but calling lewis "an underachieving role player" is hyperbole and detracts from the point. it's like if when the royals signed gil meche, some dumb analyst said "they just dropped $55 million on a guy that has never gotten a major league hitter out, ever!" lewis's contract will cripple the magic for years to come, but he's a pretty good player. check the stats.

In the NFL, the idiot in charge of the Colts gave Dwight Freeney, who is injury-prone

has yet to miss a regular season game in his NFL career. not saying he's never been hurt, but he isn't rex grossman or something.

and coming off a career-low 5½-sack season,

in which he was double and triple teamed most of the time, probably because he plied up FIFTY ONE sacks in his first four years in the league. doyel is implying that a 27 year old guy who was one of the most dominant pass rushers in the league for 4 years, is suddenly not good anymore because of one mediocre season. he is wrong.

a six-year, $72 million deal that features a $30 million signing bonus and is the richest contract in NFL history for a defender.

i don't want to get into the complexities of guaranteed money vs. non-guaranteed money in NFL contracts, the salary cap, and how franchise player tags work. i'm sure doyel has no fucking clue about any of the above. what you need to know is this: the colts avoided the stress of dealing with freeney on a year to year basis for the next couple of seasons (see how well that's working out for the bears and patriots with lance briggs and asante samuel right now), and less than half of that $72 million is guaranteed meaning if something goes wrong they're not on the hook for very much money at all. meanwhile, if he can average around 10 sacks a year for the next 10 years, which is unlikely but certainly not out of the question, he'll finish in the top 5 all time for career sacks. yeah.... wouldn't want to pay that guy to play for my football team. how outlandish of the colts to do such a thing.

In baseball, the idiot who owns the Indians gave $57 million for four years to a .260-hitting designated hitter named Travis Hafner, whose slugging percentage has taken a mysterious tumble from .659 last season to .452 this year.

what fools. just like freeney, its 100% clear that hafner will never be a good player again. for those unfamiliar with his play, hafner was arguably the best hitter in baseball last season. at this point in 2006 he was having roughly the same season arod is having 2007, minus a couple HRs and a handful of RBIs. how dare they sign him to a long term deal. cut and run, indians, cut and run!

Back to the NBA, the idiot in charge of the Detroit Pistons has committed three years and $11 million to Amir Johnson, or $1 million for every game he has played in a worthless two-year career. this one is a little questionable on the surface.

i don't know anything about amir johnson. apparently he tore up the NBA d-league last year for what that's worth. with that contract, the pistons are basically treating him like a mid/high paid first round draft pick, which is probably the production they expect out of him. i mean, like i said, it seems a little silly. but it's worth noting the pistons have been a very well run franchise for the last several years, excepting the darko milicic draft pick. joe dumars seems to know what he's doing.

After this season, Alex Rodriguez will break the bank, and my fear -- or my hope -- is that his new contract will break baseball and then perhaps all of professional sports. Maybe it will take $35 or $40 million per year to an athlete, any athlete, for sports fans to finally have enough with rising salaries and the rising ticket and apparel prices that come as an added bonus. Boycott a game. Embarrass a team by forcing it to play in front of 150 spectators.

fans of the pittsburgh pirates, arguably one of the worst run franchises in all of sports during the last 15 years, tried this less than a month ago. it didn't work out so well. i'm not saying this idea could never, ever work... but if it didn't work for pirates fans, i wouldn't be optimistic about it.

Send a message to the Yankees or Magic or Colts or Indians or any of the other out-of-touch franchises: The everyday families who fund those franchises are struggling to buy homes and send kids to college and fill up their gas tank on a weekly basis, and we simply will not tolerate any more Monopoly contracts.

preach, gregg. preach on.

It's not like Rodriguez will deliver a championship, either. yes. we know this to be objectively true. He hasn't won a World Series. He hasn't even been to a World Series.

yeah, in 2004, when the yankees lost to the red sox in the ALCS, (as well as 2000 when his mariners lost to the yankees) that was totally all his fault. i mean, in those two appearances, he's only OPSed 1.020 and driven in 10 runs. choke artist.

This isn't the NBA, where one player can get it done. Give Michael Jordan $35 million a year, as the Chicago Bulls once did, and you have just won yourself an NBA championship. Give A-Rod $35 million and you have just ... given A-Rod $35 million. The championship is optional and maybe even irrelevant.

thus, even if you're george steinbrenner and have more money than you know what to do with, why bother to pay great players to pay for your team? if they can't 100% guarantee you a championship they're not worth having around.

Give A-Rod $35 million and what you have done, however, is given star-struck fans justification to spend $100 or $200 to come to the ballpark for one night. Why are baseball tickets so expensive in New York? Because A-Rod makes $35 million. Why will he make $35 million? Because tickets are so expensive. It's a vicious cycle.

it sucks, big time. welcome to the 21st century gregg. supply and demand; supply and demand.

In Seattle, the Mariners gave Ichiro Suzuki $90 million for the next five years, one of the richest contracts in U.S. sports history, for a player who turns 34 in October. At $18 million, Ichiro would make more in a single season than all of the 2006 Florida Marlins combined, which might be why Marlins president David Samson predicted in an interview with Miami radio station 790 AM that Ichiro's new contract "will take down the sport. ... It's the end of the world as we know it."

5 years from now, when baseball is still alive and well and ichiro is still hitting over .300 (which is likely because his game depends so little on raw power) and playing good defense in right field every day at age 39, i expect doyel and samson to each publicly apologize for their statements here. i mean, will he be worth $18 million? probably not. but the list of guys that were/are going to be comically overpaid in the last couple years of long term deals is, needless to say, very very very long. that's the nature of the beast.

If only.

yes. if only the apocalypse would come, due to a professional athlete signing a lucrative contract. that would be awesome and totally appropriate.


Chris W said...

Good Guy With Sports posted about this same article on his blog, and this is the comment I posted re: it:

In re: to his Texas contract too, what is almost always ignored is the fact that the Rangers had a 250 million dollar tv deal offered CONTINGENT on signing A-Rod (to appeal to the large hispanic audience in the DFW area).

That is, as a condition of the 250 mil. deal (iirc) they had to sign A-rod.

So pretty much they broke even, if you consider increased ticket sales and having the best SS in baseball for, essentially free, breaking even (I acknowledge that they probably would have signed a lesser TV deal lacking the ARod deal, so this is slightly probably would have been in the mid to high 100 millions, so essetially , the increase in TV revenue was probably about 50-100 mil, which means the net hit of A-Rod's contract was about 150-200 million).

However, now that you consider that they still have that television deal, PLUS they are only paying a partial amount of A-Rod's salary for the duration, it really doesn't seem like such a "robbery" on A-Rod's part, does it?

Chris W said...
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Chris W said...
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Chris W said...

here's a link to an article that supports what i'm saying:,barra,74310,15.html

eriz said...

i dunno man, Ichiro may not be worth 18mil in a few years purely by his playing abilities, but so many people who bitch about player salaries forget about other aspects of pay. Ichiro is adored in Seattle, and his presense alone boosts ticket and merchandise sales. He is the face of a franchise in a region with lots of Asians. His impact isn't just on winning ballgames. Why did the LA Galaxy risk so much money on David Beckham? Is it because he'll be the one player they need to win championships? They'd better not be, because as an all-around soccer player, he's mediocre. He's getting that much money because they are counting on his "star power" to boost the overall value of the franchise.

Sports is a business, and there is money in it. It's the exact same reason sportswriters like Doyle make good money. People pay to see and read about sports, be it directly (tickets, Pay Per View, merchandise, etc) or indirectly (advertising).

Although being a Rockies fan is frustrating at times because of payroll, over the past 7 years, payroll is not always an indicator of how well a team will do. Look at the Rangers. They have been in the top ten in payroll since 2000, and don't have jack shit to show for it. Meanwile, look at the past 7 world series winners' payrolls, and their respective rank in the MLB.

2006: 89 mil (11th)
2005: 75 mil (13th)
2004: 127 mil (2nd)
2003: 49 mil (25th)
2002: 62 mil (15th)
2001: 85 mil (9th)
2000: 92 mil (1st)

Jerks like Doyle like to bitch about stuff like this, and then 90% of their column space is occupied by Yankees, BoSox, Dodgers, and the Cubs. Part of the reason that teams like these make (and spend) a ton of money is because they are in such big markets, but it's also because they are so widely covered in national sports media. Who do kids from Iowa, or Montana, or Arkansas, or any other place without a nearby MLB team root for? It's the team they read about, hear about, and see the most. So you're part of the problem, Doyle. And please shut the fuck up.