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Whatever's Best For the Team Has Been Replaced by Whatever's Best For Me

The development of Johnny Damon signing a one year contract with the Detroit Tigers is the most recent example of the overwhelming selfishness and insincerity of the professional athlete today. When the New York Yankees signed Damon to a four year, $52 million contract in 2005, he claimed he had always wanted to play for the Yankees. Fast forward to yesterday and Damon made the same claim of the Detroit Tigers.
It seems the 36-year-old outfielder has the desire to play for any major league club that pays him what he thinks he's worth, but not what the market says he's worth. When the Yankees signed him in 2005, Damon was a centerfielder in his early 30's. Damon, whose 36 and an average left fielder, wanted the Yankees to give him a pay increase. In 2005, $13 million a year for a starting centerfielder who came from a World Series winning team was reasonable. The Yankees in 2010 wanted to pay an aging left fielder with less than stellar stats $14 million for two years, and Damon found this unreasonable.
At a time when ten percent of the country is out of work, Damon doesn't think a guaranteed $14 million in his pocket for two years of less than stellar work is a sufficient salary. Maybe he and some other ballplayers need to be reminded that not too long ago players needed to work in the offseason just to make ends meet.
A right fielder for the New York Yankees by the name of Roger Maris had to share an apartment with a fellow teammate during the year he broke Babe Ruth's single season home run record of sixty home runs. Maris also was coming off of an MVP winning season. According to the Baseball Almanac Roger Maris made $42,000 in 1961.
Damon has never come close to this caliber and yet wants to make more than the $13 million a year the Yankees were paying him. On the other hand, not all of the blame lies with Damon. Baseball has become a multi-million dollar a year business where superstar agents are sold to the highest bidder. The question still remains, is it too much to ask these millionaires like Damon to take a pay cut for the team that has already given them too much.


  1. "not all of the blame lies with Damon"

    What? I thought this was America and people were supposed to bargain in good faith with employers and strike the best deal they can. And if the current employer won't pay what's acceptable to you, then you look for another one. What's wrong with that?

    Companies (and baseball teams) look at this the exact same way in reverse.

    Jeter is about the only player in the game who seems like he would be willing to sacrifice money out of loyalty to the team. But the fact is, he shouldn't have to. The Yankees should be loyal to him also and pay at least as much as another team is willing to offer.

    Roger Maris made $42k in 1961 and shared an apartment with the Mick. So? That was the standard of the time. Times change. Subways used to cost 15 cents...no more.

  2. Oh please. Forget Johnny Damon. He was just not worth the money.