Love the game of baseball, and baseball will love you. ~ Babe Ruth
When the Babe uttered those words so long ago, how could he have imagined how much baseball would love back the players in 2019?
I am a life-long Phillies fan. Win or lose, I love to watch the games from the first crack of the bat in the spring until temperatures are cool again in the fall, but watching the contract negotiations of some players these last few weeks has left me shaking my head.
First it was the Phillies acquiring Bryce Harper to the tune of $330 million dollars for 13 years only to have him hit in the ankle by a 97 mph pitch during spring training. I have never been a Bryce Harper fan probably because he played for the Washington Nationals, a division rival, however I have been listening to his interviews, and he seems to say all the right things.
Today rumors are swirling that the Los Angeles Angels and Mike Trout (a Millville, NJ native) are finalizing a 12-year deal worth $430 million. That would keep Trout with the Angels for the remainder of his career dashing any hope that the “hometown” boy would make his way home and play for the Phillies once his contract was up in 2020.
I have to admit that I did get sucked into the Mike Trout fantasy, but who wouldn’t want the most talented player of his generation to come to their favorite team? Yet, I cannot fathom how sports got to this point. Big name players are paid exorbitant sums of money to play “a game they love.” I am still trying to process my feelings – not that it matters to anyone but me. I know that lots of major league players do lots of great work in the communities surrounding their ballparks, but I can’t help but wonder – would they play the game for less money – just for the love of the game? Maybe they could take a page out of Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Chris Long’s book and donate part or all of a year’s salary to organizations that promote educational equity.
I teach in a parochial school, so my salary is nowhere near the salaries of my counterparts in public school. It doesn’t matter though because I really do “teach for the love of the game.”