Clippings: Pro baseball player strikes it rich
News item: Miami Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton has signed a contract extension that will pay him $325 million over the next 13 years.
To play baseball for around eight months each year.
I say eight months because the Marlins have as much chance of making the playoffs next year as I have of playing center in the National Basketball Association. And I’m 52 years old and 5 feet, 6 inches tall on a good day.
As a Red Sox fan, I am fully aware of how Major League Baseball payrolls have escalated through the stratosphere and into a realm without reason. The Stanton contract is just another record in a sport that used to be about athletic feats on the field and not coups at the bank vault.
Courtesy of MSN Sports, here are a few facts about the extremely blessed Mr. Stanton’s new contract, which he feted on Monday with a $20,000 bottle of champagne. Largesse was essential. None of that cheap Dom Perignon swill, you know.
• He will make $17,146.78 per inning if he should play in all of his team’s 162 games during each of the next 13 years. Based on a projection of 7,600 at-bats during the next 13 years, he will make $42,673 each time he comes up to the plate. That means Stanton’s salary per at-bat will be in the same ballpark as the current median annual household income for Addison County, which is $55,454. That is really mind blowing.
• His net worth is suddenly higher than the Gross Domestic Product of six nations, including the Marshall Islands and Tuvalu.
• He could feed about 30,000 children for an entire year at a daily budget of $30 per child.
Giancarlo Stanton will undoubtedly endow one or more major charities to share his newfound riches, and he should be commended for that. But the sheer magnitude of his salary makes one also wonder what an infusion of that kind of money could do in the public sector.
Looking close to home, Stanton could cover the Mount Abraham Union High School renovation project of $32.6 million — almost 10 times over. As a matter of fact, his annual salary will average $31 million per year toward the end of his contract, so he could almost pay off the Mt. Abe project in one year. And he could probably root under his car seat and find the $6.5 million it will take to build a new town office building and recreation center in Middlebury next year.
I’m not saying we should begrudge Mr. Stanton his money; I’m just amazed that playing baseball — even at its highest level — can generate such a financial windfall. Stanton is barely 25 years old, can hit a baseball for average and power, is a good fielder and speaks with humility and respect. And he’s playing for a team owner, Jeffrey Loria, who is misguided enough to write checks so big that he will likely not have enough payroll flexibility left to field a quality supporting cast for Mr. Stanton. The Marlins are one of the so-called “cash-strapped” teams in the MLB that don’t have the TV revenues, advertising and fan base to compete year in and year out with the big-market teams in New York, Los Angeles and Boston.
And unfortunately (for Marlins fans) it appears as though the Marlins are unlikely to get a lot of bang for their buck — at least when it comes to increasing its fan base in South Florida. With Stanton already on their roster, the Marlins drew an average of 21,386 spectators to their home games last year. That was 27th out of the 30 MLB teams. So they will still have Stanton on their roster next year, albeit a much richer version who will most assuredly feel added pressure to connect with every pitch. I bet $325 million can buy you a lot of boos from fans making an annual salary equivalent to each Stanton at-bat. Of course one has to wonder how many games a person earning $42,673 per year will be able to attend. The average price of a Marlins ticket last year was $65.44, and that doesn’t count parking and concession prices. You can bet Jeff Loria will be increasing that ticket price next year to help pay for Stanton’s meteoric rise in pay.
So what is the takeaway from all of this?
Apparently it’s to give your kids a bat, glove and ball as soon as humanly possible.
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