Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Joe Mauer Just Crapped On Your Yearly Salary

This is not news: today's athletes make waaaayyyyy too much money.

See this handy-dandy-website to learn just how long (or short, really) it takes for jocks to make as much money as you and I toil a hard 365 days for.

I plugged in 100k for kicks - since isn't that the universal American dream, to make six-figures? - and found out that Joe Mauer makes that much money in basically 6 innings.


Now before anybody gets all worked up, let it be known that I don't begrudge Mauer (or any other jock) their salaries. They have earned it fairly, under "market" conditions. I put "market" in quotes because as we know, professional sports are essentially closed markets, that often feature distorting dynamics.

I still think it's way too much. I still think pro sports leagues should think hard about enduring short term pain (lockouts, strikes) to whack labor costs more into line with business reality.

Sure, Mauer is a fabulous player. Likeable fella, hometown boy. STUD ballplayer. That said, I don't think it makes economic sense to pay him $184 million guaranteed over 8 years.

He's just one player, on a team sport that requires a full roster of guys doing their job to have success. You are telling me, that one guy is directly responsible for nearly $20 million in revenue to the club?

I just don't buy it.

Now, the on-line salary calculator for sports I would love to see (and hint, hint! Maybe the boys here at Smart Interactive Media could whip it up!) is one in which you type in your salary. Then type in the salary of Player X. Then type in either the a) fine he has been hit with by the league or b) the charitable donation he has given.

The result would be to translate what a new donated $120,000 wing to a school for Joe Mauer, would be like for you, Joey Punchclock making like $45,000 per year.

When you find out it's like Joey Punchclock buying an iPod touch ($250 or so) for his wife, then we won't go so gaga saying "Wow, that pro athlete is soooo generous! He bought a whole new wing of a school for those kids!"


  1. My problem with your line of thinking - Where do you want the money to go? If it's not going to players, then it is going directly to owners, who are all making a lot more money than the players anyway and have the value of the club as an asset.

    I suppose you could make the argument that it could go to lowering ticket prices, except that ticket prices are only marginally effected by player salary, and instead go up and down much more based on wins and losses.

  2. Steve G., I disagree. I in no way frown on anyone in any line of work getting what they can in the open market but come on. That pay works out to $2625 per hour FOR EVERY HOUR OF EVERY DAY! That's $2625/hr for playing, practicing, studying, taking a shit, hammering the old lady, cooking Thai food, whatever. It's time to bring in a hard cap.

    While we're at it, get rid of $8 beers, $6 hot dogs and the bullshit parking fees. Taking one kid to a home game (one of 81) costs the very best part of a C-note. That just can't happen anymore, not in this economy.

  3. Then again, what would you do with the revenue that the owner of the team is bringing in? Are you going to mandate that once he hits a $10 million profit, he has to give anything past that over to his local government?

  4. According to the great scholar Patrickles the Ewing "They make a lot of money, but they also spend a lot of money."

  5. "While we're at it, get rid of $8 beers, $6 hot dogs and the bullshit parking fees. Taking one kid to a home game (one of 81) costs the very best part of a C-note. That just can't happen anymore, not in this economy. "

    Here, here! Ball clubs should take some of the money off the top of high salary players and bring back 25cent beer night, 50cent hot dogs - with free cab rides. Call it a convenience fee.

    Hell, the Miller High Life guy was arrested trying to burn down Miller Park because 8 dollars beers are definitely *not* the high life.

  6. You guys are morons. It's called Supply and Demand. The fans are paying the prices to see the games, they're paying for the $6 hot dogs and $8 beers. It's our fault. If you don't like it, don't watch. If enough people don't watch, they'll lose money and prices will come down. Don't blame the owners or players because we're giving them bags of money.

  7. Czabe, you are correct to place the word "market" in quotes. The free agent system is not "free." It is compulsory for many reasons. The owners are forced to bid up the salaries of "free" agents, or the owners will be found guilty of "collusion" and fined millions of dollars. Also, the municipalities will subsidize the resulting salaries by building expensive stadiums at taxpayer expense to pay for it.

  8. I used Jamarcus Russell as an example because if I was a betting man I'd say he's the most likely of the guys on the list of choices to wind up destitute.

    Anyway...these guys make what they make and I don't begrudge them. However, there are $8 beers, $30 parking fees and other exorbitant prices precisely because of these salaries. People who go to the games, buy merchandise and watch the games on TV pay the salaries, which is why I contribute to the pot as little as possible, by just watching on TV.

    My only problem with the players is too many of them want the benefits of partnership, but none of the responsibilities.

  9. Sal, you're mixing up cause and effect. Player salaries are tied to revenues - The more revenues are, the bigger piece of pie the players get. If the Yankees' payroll magically gets shrunk to $50 million tomorrow while keeping all the same players, do you honestly think ticket prices will go down 75 percent? No - They will still charge the same because that's what the market will bear.

    Baseball Prospectus has done plenty of studies about the issue. Player contracts do not effect ticket and concession prices; winning does. If a team wins, ticket prices go up. If they suffer sustained losing, the prices go down.

  10. Hi,

    You have a superb blog. At this point the marketplace has started to appear up and folks are starting up to get jobs. Yet, many are confused whether they are getting the suitable salary. They might validate this by comparing their salaries through internet tools. One such internet site to assess salary mechanical engineers and other professionals is