Archive | 2:38 am

Gods and Fastballs

2 Dec

I’m a Yankee fan… as in the New York Yankees but I have to admit that it’s getting hard for me to care about whether the Yankees do well or not these days. After all I’m not a kid any more and at the ripe old age of 57 it just feels embarrassing to root for a team of millionaires, with even wealthier millionaire owners and a top season ticket price that now eclipses what the average American worker earns in a year.

Andy Pettitte just signed a one year contract to pitch for the Yankees for 12 million dollars. Last year he started 12 games and he won 5 of them. At 1 million dollars per game that would mean that Andy Pettitte earns as much money in one start, perhaps 2 hours, (After all no one expects him to pitch all 9 innings any more…not that he ever did) as the average American worker earns in 25 years.

Wow! 2 hours work = 25 years of work. It’s hard to wrap one’s head around a statistic like that isn’t it? But after all Andy Pettitte is one of the best pitchers in baseball isn’t he? Actually no, he’s not. And at 40 years of age and having won only 5 games last year he’s not even close.

In fact, the minimum salary in major league baseball will rise this year to almost 500,000 dollars which means that the lowest paid player will earn in 3 years what the average American worker earns in a lifetime.

3 baseball years of playing = 1 average lifetime of working.

I won’t even mention meal money. If I did you’d probably cry like I am right now.

But it’s a free country and we live in a free market economy where workers earn what the free market can bear.

I just no longer can understand how the market can bear it or can even bear to look at it? How is it that the free market supports these salaries and ticket prices and why do average American wage earners pump money into sports and entertainment personalities and venues that must be crippling their ability to meet their own family’s needs?

How is it that In an age and civilization where we are still undecided on whether or not all citizens should have access to affordable healthcare or retirement benefits or well funded schools or decent places to live we are still so able and eager to sustain such frivolity and waste at our own expense?

Once upon a time Roman citizens turned their thumbs down and brought the anger of the gods upon the poor wretched souls who entertained them in their arenas… and now 2 thousand years later we shower cheers and applause upon the richest men who play among us and treat them as though they were our gods, with thumbs up in approval as we spy one another wearing their names on our backs as though if only we could be them then all would be right with the world.

Is it their wealth that makes the difference? What is it about wealth that we revere so much and destitution that we so revile?

The rich get richer because we make them richer while we get poorer and can’t seem to help ourselves.

Meanwhile our elected leaders who themselves can’t help but get richer with each election’s victory no matter how poor their constituents may be, debate and cat fight over whether or not the wealthiest individuals in our country can afford to be taxed at a higher rate without bringing the entire ass backwards society of ours down.

Can a nation’s wealthiest citizens who earn as much in one year as that nation’s average citizens earn in a lifetime afford to pay for that privilege at a higher tax rate?

It seems to me that shouldn’t be the question. The question should be: How can they afford not to? How can they afford to screw such a good thing up? Let’s face it most of us actually do revere them as gods! All they need to do is pony up a little  more of their chump change so we worshipers can have our medicaid and medicare and social security and 30 year mortgages and jobs with minimal healthcare.

Are the gods really gonna screw this one up?

Will A-Rod hit the fastball next year?




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