The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

December 13, 2012

Mike Pound: Baseball player admits it’s about the money

I have always liked pitcher Zack Greinke.

First of all, he’s got a cool first name for a baseball pitcher. Zack just sort of sounds like the name of a guy who would play baseball.

Another thing I like about Zack is that he had the inner strength when he was with the Kansas City Royals to admit that he had some anxiety issues. His anxiety issues were serious enough, as a matter of fact, to force him to the leave the game for a short time. The fact that Zack was able to overcome his condition and pitch at a high level is a testament to his courage and his toughness.

The other reason I’ve always liked Zack is that he tends to be honest — sometimes brutally honest. Zack this week signed the largest contract ever for a right-handed pitcher. I laughed when I read the reasons he decided to sign a six-year, $147 million contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

“Besides the money ... they have a team that could win a World Series for several years,” Zack said.

Is that great or what?

For once, a professional athlete admitted that the reason he signed a contract was because of the money. Most of the time athletes, who have had their agents spend months working to get them the best contract they can get, say that “it wasn’t about the money,” even though everyone knows that it’s always about the money.

Last year, Albert Pujols decided to sign a contract with the Los Angeles Angels for something like $240 million rather than accept the St. Louis Cardinals’ offer of a bit more than $200 million. When he did, he basically said it wasn’t about the money.

I like Albert, and I don’t blame him for wanting more money, but I just wish he would have said, “Dude, it’s a $40 million difference. Would you take $40 million less? I didn’t think so.”

In the past few weeks, the Dodgers have spent a bunch of money to lure baseball players to Los Angeles. How much money have the Dodgers spent? So much that the New York Yankees are saying, “Whoa, slow down, Richie Rich.”

If the Dodgers took all the money they’ve spent on players and sent it to Washington, the whole “fiscal cliff” crisis would be solved.

They’ve spent a lot of money, is what I’m saying.

Of course, in a few years, when it’s time for the baseball owners and the players union to hash out a new labor agreement, the owners will complain about rising salaries and blame the whole thing on the players, which, of course, is laughable. The reason salaries continue to rise in major league sports is not because of the players. Sure, the players want more money. Who doesn’t? But the owners don’t have to offer more money. Yet, they do. And you know why they do? Because they can’t help themselves. Owners of professional sports teams are rich. And rich people love to buy things to prove that they’re rich, which is why the Dodgers gave Zack $147 million to throw a baseball.

By the way, the group that owns the Dodgers is called Guggenheim Baseball Management. Here’s a business tip: If you get into a bidding war with a group with the name Guggenheim in its title, stop. You’re not going to win.

So good luck next season, Zack. I hope you have a great year. And, Zack, never forget: It is always about the money.

DO YOU HAVE AN IDEA for Mike Pound’s column? Call him at 417-623-3480, ext. 7259, or email him at mpound@joplinglobe.com. Follow him on Twitter @mikepoundglobe.

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