I have one of the coolest jobs in the world. Think about it. Someone actually pays me money to watch, talk and write about sports. Basically, beyond being an adult film star or a professional athlete, this is probably the #1 job that any American born male would want to have. Seriously, what else would you rather be doing? Hell, there are probably millions of women who would want my job as well. I’m blessed, no if’s, and’s or buts’ about it.
However, I come in contact with everything that the sports world has to offer on a daily basis. While that certainly revolves around high’s, things like Drew Brees‘ amazing early season work (nine scores in two weeks) or the fact that we are witnessing the daily excellence of a man that will one day be considered one of the 10 greatest men to ever swing a bat in Albert Pujols, there is also a dark side of sports that I’m constantly exposed to. Steroids, performance enhancing drugs, children out of wedlock, drug use, spousal abuse, animal abuse, murder — the dregs of society aren’t just in the neighborhood next door to you selling crack on the corner, they are also in the world of professional sports. But today I don’t want to vent my anger at the duplicitous actions of players, I want to focus on you, the fan, by given one example of what is wrong with sports today and it can be summed up in one word – greed.
Oakland Athletics’ youngster Matt Carson fulfilled a life long dream by making it to the major leagues, and on Monday he did what each of us who has ever swung a bat has done a thousand times in our backyard – he hit his first major league home run. Of course he rounded the bases full of jubilation, and when he calmed down he sent out a representative of the team to see if he could work out a deal with the fan to retrieve the ball for his own collection (the A’s traditional method is to offer an autographed bat in exchange for the ball, in my mind more than a fair deal). Alas, in this case, the fan wanted money, and a lot of it. Apparently he told the club that he would only give the ball up if he received $10,000 for that sucker.
Did I miss something here? Last time I checked no one outside of his family even knew who Matt Carson was a week ago. Clearly, he isn’t a superstar, nor will he ever be one, and it’s not like it was a home run of any historical relevance (something like the 10,000 in team history). I mean really. A baseball, that you could buy for $15 bucks at the store, or a bat which would cost you $75 with an autograph on it that would likely to cost you at least another $20 – which would you want? Beyond the monetary issue is the fact that a signed bat is a way cooler memorabilia piece than some dirty ball you have to put on the fireplace mantle. Give the kid the ball you moron.
But that is the world we live in today. Everyone involved with sports seems to be a greedy S.O.B. OK, everyone is clearly too harsh a way to put it, there are wonderful people all throughout the sports world, but the point is still pretty clear. In a world where athletes routinely say they had to take the bigger deal because they need to feed their family, as if they couldn’t live on the $35 million they were offered by Team A instead of the $40 million Team B offered, it appears that the fans have adopted the same tact, and for that I’m truly saddened. Whatever happened to the time where all a guy wanted to do was to shake a guys hand, get an autograph, and say good job while handing over a baseball that was priceless to the athlete but merely a cheap piece of leather and laces to the fan? I miss those days, don’t you?
By Ray Flowers