This writer feels a bit of ambivalence after the tirade posted in this forum yesterday. Like most writers, I had an emotional reaction to the news that Mariano Rivera would be willing to leave the Yankees if they didn't show him the proper "respect." Now, after thinking a little more on the subject, It occured to me that if it is respect that Mariano wants, then he should show some respect for the fans.
When Mariano Rivera was busy saving games in the post season for the Yankees, he was paid handsomely. Even the MLB minimum wage going back to when Mo was learning on the job from John Wetteland was a sizable chunk of change. In reality, I'm not worried if Mariano Rivera or any other baseball player are going to get a raise. Mariano makes a lot more money than I do and I make a decent living
Now, this writer believes in the free market. The fact is that Major League Baseball has no salary cap, and baseball in general is making tons of money, then ball players should be compensated too. But, don't belly-ache in public to me about respect from your organization. Ultimately, it is the fans which supply George Steinbrenner with ship loads of currency to lavish upon free agents. The effect is, however, that ticket prices go higher, as does the cost of refreshments, parking, memorabilia, etc. I'm sick and tired of having my pockets vacuumed out when I enter the stadium just to cheer when Rivera exits the bullpen to the strains of "Enter Sandman." It's a terrific experience, and one of the best entrances in baseball. But, I don't want to hear him whine about not being offered a contract extension on the first day of spring training and complain in advance that he'd better be given more than the $10,000,000 a year he's making now (give or take a couple of hundred thousand). I don't even want to do the research on how much he's actually making becuase if I won that much in the lottery it it would change my life forever and he's earning that sum every year. He's a filthy rich man carping beforehand that the Yankees had better making him stinking-filthy rich, or he'll take his glove and ball and play for someone else. Yes, Mo, baseball is a business, and you stink at it.
The Yankees can wait him out as long as they want. They know that if he played for the Red Sox or the Tampa Bay Devil Rays for that matter he'd be miserable. The Yankees have a few young arms in their system to make him look like last year's model "Terminator" against the T1000 in "Terminator II". Yes, he's battle tested and proven, but getting old.
Also, fans who admire him for his past success now have a bad taste in their mouths since he's come out and protested about money. Chances are, after all of the adoration and praise and cheers fans have heaped on Mariano in his relatively long stint as a Yankee that he'll move back to Panama when he retires and live like Bill Gates leaving the fans wondering if they mattered to him at all. At this point in my life, I couldn't care less about the complaints of the rich. Again, I'm not complaining that I'm not rich as I am the master of my own fate and the amount of money I have is in direct correlation to the skills I have. But, when a guy like Mariano starts to cry because he needs an extra million or two I can't shed any tears. The two million or so extra the Yankees will ultimately pay him when the season is over will come out of my pocket and the rest of the folks who will slavishly shell out mega-bucks to attend games at Yankee Stadium.
Greed is not an attractive quality, especially in those you once respected. If you want respect Mo, respect the fans and don't be greedy. If you're not happy, Fenway park is a little ways north and Brian Bruney and others like him can throw really hard.