Friday, February 02, 2007

I Read the News Today, Oh Boy: Matheny Retires

As announced in a variety of media outlets, like the Merc, Mike Matheny retired today. I had guessed this on Lefty Malo when Bonds signed and Lefty asked who goes off the 40 man, but it does me no pleasure that I was right in my guess. I like Matheny and was glad that he was our catcher, though, again, the free agent bad karma hit us again (Christiansen, Alfonzo, Durham, Alou, Benitez, Rennie Stennett, to name a few big let downs) and the player is way more expensive than the production we got from him.

As Lefty very nicely opined here, on 2/2 in "What's Cooler Than Cool", we need to keep things in perspective about the price players pay as athletes, as their abused bodies betray them in their post-athlete period and they suffer the consequences of pushing their body to the limits.

On the Other Hand

However, I'm sorry, but if certain Dodgers were to bite the dust due to injury, it is not like I wished it upon them, and if it helps the Giants win, well, I'm going to cheer, like mad. I'm crazy competitive like that. And if a player makes a mistake and I think he could have done better, I'm going to cuss him out (see Benitez, Armando, if you question this). Lastly, while I will feel some sympathy for athletes who cannot do normal everyday things with their body when they get older, it is a choice they made, that they gladly made, and they were well paid for what they do.

It's A Lifestyle Choice

Everyone takes risks with their body and mind with their work, some much more than others, and there is some level of responsibility there for some of these choices. For people who have to work in mines and suffer for that, they have my utmost sympathy, as some of them have no or little choice, oftentimes. And I feel similarly sympathetic for any of the heroes who help protect us or who help teach us, they are all woefully underpaid for what they do and they chose to do that for us.

But athletes are doing what they want to do, and they willingly do it, and they are paid well to do it, as they are entertainers. Matheny, I can feel the utmost sympathy for, because his severe injury is not something that regularly occur, at least bad enough to retire a player, particularly in baseball. I have no problem feeling for player like him or Joe Theiseman or Alonzo Mourning (I think he's the one with the kidney problems or something), where unusual injuries or conditions limit their careers.

But Burks and Bonds, yes, I'm sorry their knees will be gone, and they might not be able to do what other people do with their children, but that's a choice they made. They know (or should know) the dangers of going into such a profession and having a long career. Same with executives or sales people who need to travel everywhere and leave their families behind. These people have choices in their lives, maybe not ones where they could make as much money as in the profession they chose, but there are still choices made, and they chose to risk some part of their personal life to earn that money.

Meanwhile, there are people like I who chose jobs that don't earn as much money (as I could), that don't require as much travel, so that I can do what I want to do most of all: spend time with my family, to be there for my children. I made this choice because my father died when I was relatively young (15) and, basically, I never saw my dad much once he took a swing-shift job when I was 5, only on weekends. And being the typical stupid teenager, I didn't always want to go out on family outings, though I did make 99% of all family outings (I didn't always go of my own choice :^).

And I make good enough money, so don't cry for me, but there comes a time when a choice is made and maybe you didn't realize all the ramifications when you made the decision when you were young, I think by the time you reach the majors, and been there for a few years, before the wear and tear sets in, you can see that in the vets, in how they are after games, and how they complain about their bodies, like Bonds in every other interview I hear. I don't wish their injuries or body breakdowns upon them, but there are more worthy people in this world to feel sympathy for than highly paid athletes.

Within the world of pro sports, there are some clear areas of sympathy for me besides the ones I noted above. I feel sympathy for the players who played long ago, when the pay was low and now they don't have the money to support the medical care they require today. Some NFL greats are currently rallying to get more money to these vets and I think that's great, these long-ago players helped build the foundation so that the athletes of today can benefit greatly from the sport. I think the others sports should do so too, if they aren't already. And they should gladly contribute to support their predessessors in their time of need.

But the players today are making very good money, and they are being paid for the risks they are taking with their bodies. And if they do not think that the pay is good enough to compensate for future expected aches and pains, then I suggest that they find another job where they don't have to worry about not being able to play with their children, about not being able to get out of a chair without your body creaking. Their children, their wives, and their bodies will thank them.

1 comment:

  1. I'm disappointed ... no stories or jokes about juggling monkies.

    Well, you did mention Benitez, so I guess that counts for the monkey side of things. But what about juggling?

    I'm so disappointed ...

    ReplyDelete

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