Sports Illustrated‘s annual Fortune 50 list of the 50 highest-earning American athletes list is out and Major League Baseball is heavily represented. In fact, 36% of the athletes are baseballers — some better than others (looking at you, Barry Zito). And while I’m sad to see an star like Floyd Mayweather, Jr at the top, one who eschews real glory at the highest level for a comfortable place atop boxing mediocrity, I am glad that baseball players are makin’ that pay-puh. It makes me feel less suicidal when I pay $8 for a 16 oz beer.
Here’s a quick rundown of the highest paid American baseball players and their overall ranking among American athletes in parenthesis.
1. Alex Rodriguez (6)
Too bad for the Yankees A-Rod can’t be young and steroided like the good old days. His health is just going downhill from here.
2. Derek Jeter (9)
He can do no wrong. I would pay this man a bazillion dollars a year if I could. And since Albert left me, I have no problems admitting my 17-year Jeet man-crush.
3. Joe Mauer (12)
Really? 12th highest paid American athlete overall and third highest Major Leaguer? I would feel better about this if he could hit it over the Target Field fence once in a while.
4. Vernon Wells (17)
PSSSHH!!!! I just ruined my keyboard with a mouthful of coffee.
5. C.C. Sabathia (20)
Mo’ money, mo’ foooooooooooooooooood!
6. Mark Teixeira (21)
Nothing says $23 million a year like a YEEE-HAW JAW!
7. Prince Fielder (22)
I have a feeling if I make one more Prince Fielder fat joke then I’m going to be… eaten…
8. Adrian Gonzalez (25)
He may have lost his power stroke, but with $21 million a year I’m sure he’s strokin’ plenty of power.
9. Justin Verlander (28)
A man’s man, I would prefer to see Verlander at the very top of this list, or at the very least, have the opportunity to rifle a fastball at Mayweather’s head.
10. Cliff Lee (29)
Way to go, Phillies. You’re making Clifton Phifer look bad.
11. Ryan Howard (32)
While many of my Cardinal fan brethren choose to hate on Albert, I prefer to hate on Howard, the man who made signing Albert impossible.
12. Roy Halladay (35)
Way to go, Phillies. You bring in the best pitcher in baseball to get you over the hump then s*** the bed three years in a row.
13, 14, 15. Barry Zito, Carl Crawford, Albert Pujols (Tied for 36 overall)
One of these things is not like the other…
16. Josh Beckett (44)
Is it me or has he gained like 40 pounds since he was traded to the Red Sox?
17. Jake Peavy (45)
Up until this year, I thought dude was done. Yes, the crow I’ve been eating tastes bad.
18. A.J. Burnett (49)
Huh? How did A.J. get on this list? I’d like to know the same. He should’ve signed two contracts, one for each of his personalities. At least he’s been living up to it ever since his worst day ever.
Hate me ‘cuz I didn’t make the list, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right!
I am trying not to be angry right now.
But I am hurt.
I’m human. And humans have feelings — feelings that, obviously, get hurt. I understand Albert Pujols had some hurt feelings too, because Ryan Howard — a mere scrub in comparison — was making more money than him.
Once again, a professional athlete tells the world with his actions that the fans don’t really matter — that having statues erected in one’s honor, charitable foundations in one’s namesake and a universal key to the city, forever and ever and ever just ain’t worth a pass at a few extra million.
The Cardinals will be fine. Maybe they go hard after Prince now. Or maybe they just move Lance to first and let Freese and Craig become superstars hitting in front of and behind Matt Holliday. Maybe they go and get Jimmy Rollins or one of a bazillion other high value free agents.
But Albert Pujols’ legacy will not be fine. No longer will we mention him among legendary Cardinals like Gibson, Brock and Ozzie. His seat next to Stan the Man is no longer available.
That was Albert’s choice.
Pujols will be remembered as a great Cardinal, yes, but one who, in the end, was all about the money. I thank him for all the memories — memories I will hold dear to my heart until the day I die.
But now there’s no denying that those memories will always be bittersweet. And there’s nothing I can do about it. In the end, the fans don’t matter. And that’s just a reality we’re all going to have to deal with on our own.
Both the Phillies and the Yankees went down in the first round. If you had to blame it on one player from each team and then have those two fight it out in the Thunderdome, which two men enter and which one leaves?
St. Ignace, MI
Don’t answer that.
Yes, the Yanks and Phils missed the LCS boats this year. And yes, they each featured some disappointing performances; but in both cases, the epic failage cannot be pinned to just one guy. The Yankees went in with questionable starting pitching and the Phillies entered as the feast or famine team, the results of which were both early exits. To pin the burden of failure on just one person isn’t fair and it isn’t right.
But Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Howard do make beautiful scapegoats.
Meanwhile, you want me to throw these two guys into a Thunderdome and see who comes out alive. HA! Can you imagine the inherent lameocity of a fight between a pinstriped cover-mag diva and a silent slugger who tore his Achilles on his way to being the final out of the NLDS? Puhhhhhhh-lease.
Baseball hasn’t been able to produce a good basebrawl since 1993’s Ventura v. Ryan main event and even THAT was a lopsided affair. Yes, we have been teased over the years. Morgan v. Volstad had potential. So did Lee v. Young. And even more recently, Gregg v. Ortiz.
But the one thing those latter three matchups all have in common is that, ultimately, THEY WERE LAME. And when it’s been nothing but Lame City in reality, it’s really hard for me to imagine an A-Rod v. Ryan scenario that would not be equally as lame.
And make sure you stick around to the end to see Mickey Hatcher walk off the field with a bloodied face. Now THAT’S some Thunderdome s**t.
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
THAT’S A WHOLE LOT!!!
So after Buster Posey’s devastating injury suffered during a home plate collision with Florida Marlin Scott Cousins Thursday night, I shouldn’t have been so surprised that Olney would come out with some stupidly fandangled approach to squash any potential collision-based injuries.
Ban home plate collisions? What are you talking about, Buster? It was a freak accident. Ban home plate collisions!?!
Why don’t we ban pitching inside too!?!
And we should ban breaking up the double play on a hard slide into second!?!
How about we ban walk-off celebrations and ban beer in the grandstands, JUST FOR FUN!?!
EFF THE WORLD! YOU’RE ON A ROLL, BUSTER!
No one likes to see people get hurt. No one. But guess what: it happens. People get hurt playing baseball all the time. Sometimes they get seriously hurt. It sucks. There’s no denying it.
But that still doesn’t make it okay to go off and make drastic rule changes to the game, just because you and your worldwide leader in smut want blog traffic.
Hate me ‘cuz it ain’t sugarcoated, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
PS. Things might be different had you not “broken” that story on Ryan Howard for Pujols a while back. You lost all respect from me — and many other knowledgeable baseball folk, I imagine — after that.
The symbols of relevance, the things that transform a simple it into that proverbial “it” are generally born all in the timing, and since the Birds on the Bat are stuck in a Philadelphia this week, so too am I.
And I don’t like it.
No, this has nothing to do with Philadelphia being a backwards place (it is). It doesn’t have anything to do with the type of fans who cheer when the other teams’ star gets hurt (they do). And of course, this does not have anything to do with that ^sswipe Jim Bunning (he really is an ^sswipe, folks).
Indeed, my suddenly emphatic aggravation with Philadelphia is rooted in one fella and one fella only. His name is Ruben. Ruben Effing Amaro (that middle name is still surreptitiously unofficial).
Why? Why such distaste for one man?
Because he gave a mighty slugger who is notoriously awful against left-handed pitching the contract extension of all contract extensions — a mesmerizing $25 million a year… for 2012 to 2016 — causing massive migraine headaches for we Cardinals fans already obsessively worrying about Albert Pujols’ future with the team.
Yeah. Ryan Howard is good. But $25 million a year? He ain’t that good.
And anyone who has ever seen the game of baseball can tell you that Albert Pujols is LIGHT YEARS better than Ryan Howard, in all aspects of the game. All… of… them.
So if Howard is worth $25 million a year, then Albert is worth $30-$32 million a year, which means that if I want A.P. to remain a Cardinal for life, I and the rest of Cardinals Nation better be ready to pay $100 for a bleacher ticket, or imagine a world where Albert isn’t our savior.
(That would kill me by the way)
So thanks a lot, Ruben. Just a week ago, deep down inside, I would have admitted to having a strange yet pleasurable affinity for the Phillies. Dick Allen. Mike Schmidt. Steve Carlton. Pete Rose. Lenny Dykstra. Darren Daulton. Just the thought of those guys grindin’ it out with the “P” on their caps kinda got me excited… and I have no idea why.
They’re dead to me.
And so are you.*
Hate me ‘cuz I give it to ya straight, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
*You’re not really dead. This is what fancy writers like Al and I call “figure of speech”. It can be AWEsome. Like it is here.
Considering the Cardinals just dropped their first series of the year to a splendidly stellar Giants club that miraculously unearthed the early aught version of Barry Zito, I guess you are probably expecting a lament.
I ain’t got it in me.
But I did learn something very valuable over the weekend:
Hate me ‘cuz it’s Monday, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
Is baseball becoming a small man’s game? Frank Thomas is retired,
Jermaine Dye can’t find a new home. Even Ryan Howard didn’t seem to be
quite the same dynamo last season as he was the year before. Joe
Mauer and Albert Pujols, while not necessarily small, definitely
aren’t monsters like McGwire and Bonds. And let’s not forget Dustin
Pedroia’s MVP win from a year ago. With all the focus on multi-tooled
players, is there still a place for a big man with a big stick?
Believe me, dear readers, when I put an entire year’s salary on the table and bet on the fact that from now until the end of time, in this grand game of ours there will always be a place for a big man with a big stick.
(That’s what she said.)
That and I will obviously continue to have the self-restraint of a 14 year old.
But that doesn’t matter.
Sure, the game changes. It morphs to suit the times, needs. In the nineteen-aughts the emphasis was on the fundamentals — moving the runner over, taking the ball the other way, sliding cleats up. The Ruthian era saw the longball gain importance. The 60s saw pitching dominate. The game of the 80s stressed the need for speed. The steroid era killed all of that, making it easy for old, overweight has-beens to resuscitate their careers while inflating the record books at the same time, thus exaggerating the homerun to cult status.
And now, after all of that, indeed we are seeing another theme take form and that theme is: athleticism. Five tooled players are the hottest commodity. Weight consciousness abounds. The current goal is to be well-rounded and excel at every part of the job. The more a player can do, the more valuable he becomes and we are experiencing a real shift in the athletic zeitgeist of Major League Baseball.
What a wonderful thing!
Instead of waiting for the juiced-up meat-head to play the 3-run homer waiting game, now we get to see hitters expand the strike zone and hit to all fields. The running game is in renaissance and we get to experience the art of the steal, which in my opinion, is one of the most beautiful facets of any baseball game. And now managers manage more: hit and runs, double steals, sacrifice bunts. They’re all results from this new found shift towards athleticism.
Baseball is rewarding itself with pure, stealth athletes.
Yet fear not, homer lovers, for the game will always need its big men. The premier archetype, George Herman Ruth, made baseball what it is today; and without that powerful mystique and consistent threat from the “slugger”, baseball would not remain as our US American pastime.
So while the bones of the league may shift more towards athleticism and overall skill, I assure you that there will always be room for Dave Kingman and Frank Thomas and Ryan Howard.
Like they say all over the internets, chicks certainly do dig the long ball.
And contrary to everything you know, chicks run the universe.
Don’t hate me. ‘Cuz I’m right.
***SEND US YOUR FILIBUSTERS****
Something on your mind? Want to see Jeff and Al sweat (separately, not together, eww)? Think you got a real stumper? Send us your Filibuster question(s) by commenting or emailing them to us at email@example.com.
***Photo collages of Tiffani Amber Thiessen circa 1992-1996 also welcome.