Stupid Money(ball)

A couple of weeks ago, right fielder Bryce Harper icon-external-link-12x12 icon-search-12x12 scored a 13-year, $330 million dollar contract icon-external-link-12x12 with the Philadelphia Phillies. He will earn a $10 million dollar salary this season and will receive a $20 million dollar signing bonus. For the 2020 through 2028 seasons, he will earn a $26 million dollar annual salary. For the 2029 through 2031 seasons, he will earn a $22 million dollar annual salary. He also gets full no-trade protection, which means he doesn’t have to worry about waking up one morning to the phone ringing with news that he is now living and working in another random U.S. city.

He also gets bonuses:
+$50,000 for each All-Star appearance
+$50,000 each time he earns a Gold Glove award
+$50,000 each time he earns a Silver Slugger award
+$50,000 each time he earns a League Championship MVP award
+$100,000 each time he earns a World Series MVP award
+$500,000 each time he earns a league MVP award

This is the largest contract in baseball history. Also this year, Manny Machado icon-external-link-12x12 icon-search-12x12 signed a 10-year $300 million dollar contract with the San Diego Padres, which is arguably an equivalent or better deal. Last year, Giancarlo Stanton icon-external-link-12x12 icon-search-12x12 signed a 13-year $325 million dollar contract with the Florida Marlins. While these are the most egregious examples, there are many more of these types of contracts in Major League Baseball.

By comparison, 99 years ago—in 1919—Babe Ruth icon-external-link-12x12 icon-search-12x12 signed a three-year contract with the Boston Red Sox for $25,000. When accounting for inflation, this contract would be worth just $367,870.68, which is $1,237,129.32 less than the current minimum salary for all MLB players over the same duration of time. This means that perhaps the greatest player in the history of the game would be making just $122,623.56 per year in the modern day.

Babe Ruth's 1919 baseball contract with the Boston Red Sox. [Formatted]

Also by comparison, $330 million is enough money to finance 25 man rosters for a 17 team baseball league with a median salary of $60,000… for a full 13 years! In other words, Bryce Harper’s salary would pay the salaries of 425 baseball players in a provincial baseball league for 13 seasons. Of course, there would be additional costs associated with such a league—building/leasing stadiums, hiring/paying administrative staff, team travel costs, and so on—so maybe cut the total time down to five years from 13.

The sports world is paying one baseball player’s salary instead of purchasing five years of provincial baseball with fair salaries for 425 highly capable players, many of whom would gladly go toe-to-toe with Mr. Harper on the ballfield. WHAT—THE—FUCK?!?

Commander Bulletfoot and the Thrill-Kill Brigade

If I were to run for president, my campaign slogan would be: “The United States of America—never before in history has so little been done with so much. Let’s fix that!”

It doesn’t roll off the tongue as well as I would like, and has at least one grammatical issue, yet for some reason I can’t imagine a more appropriate way to phrase it.

Were I somehow elected, my cabinet would be composed of fiscal tight-asses and proponents of small but effective government. The primary campaign promise would be to decommission the role of the president in its current form and replace it with three presidential-type roles. These new government officials would offer much more flexible public representation in the executive branch: like the senate, they would be elected every two years for six-year terms. Only two of the three sitting officials could ever be re-elected—if two were in the middle of their re-election terms and the third’s term was about to finish, he or she would not be eligible for re-election. These officials could be re-elected only one time, and those who were excluded from the re-election process would be allowed to run again in the future with a renewed opportunity for two consecutive terms.

Significant funding would be spent on schools and public services to ensure that at least 80% of Americans are highly literate. (Apparently in 2013, nineteen percent of high school graduates couldn’t read icon-external-link-12x12 .) First class citizens would be allowed to vote after passing a voting license exam, which would be similar in function to a driver’s license exam: it protects the public from reckless endangerment; in this case, the rampant uninformed decision-making that occurs during presidential elections. Second class citizens—those who are actively receiving most forms of welfare and/or those who do not have a voter’s license—would receive free access to remedial classes at high schools and community colleges.

UC Berkeley and many other bloated and inefficient public higher-education institutions would transition into private universities. All recovered funds would go toward the expansion of community college systems across the country, and allow for the proliferation of free educational services to those in need.

I would direct the FDA to create a “Healthy Foods” certification, not unlike the certifications or labelings for organic and non-GMO foods. Only nutritious foods would be eligible for purchase with food stamps or whatever the hell they call the program these days. People with self-inflicted health problems would not be eligible for government health insurance; instead, they would be required to come up with their own solutions for medical care and treatment, or go without.

Major League Baseball would lose its antitrust exemption icon-external-link-12x12 and professional baseball (and other professional sports) would be greatly expanded. Funding for parks and recreation would be temporarily increased to facilitate the country’s new emphasis on local private and community sports programs.

Costs for concealed weapons permits and arms for women would be paid for by federal funds, if not already paid for by state funds. States that did not already have such accommodations in place would be pressured to adopt them. Semi-automatic weapons would only be allowed to those who had clean records and carried permits that were kept up to date—all others would be forced to surrender such devices.

My press secretary would be a stand-up comedian with a cadre of the finest writers in the entertainment industry. His reports (or monologues) would help smooth over all the unpopular news that would be delivered on a nearly daily basis. Most people would be totally pissed every day of the four years I would be in office, even though the country would be strengthening and people’s quality of life would significantly and genuinely improve.

Finally, and most importantly, the assholes who created and host the The Voice, along with anyone else involved in equally offensive musical/artistic calamities, would be stripped of their American citizenship and deported to whatever third-world country they find to be the most objectionable. Before deportation, each person would have a month-long stay at GTMO where I would personally waterboard them as a necessary form of catharsis and stress-relief. (A round of golf couldn’t possibly be enough to take the edge off of having the heinous gig of being POTUS.)