By now, you’ve probably heard of Stephen Strasburg, the San Diego State pitcher that took the mound for Team USA, threw 100 a bazillion times, cured cancer and once caught a bullet with his teeth at a frat party. With today marking the start of the MLB Draft, the hype may finally be reaching a fever pitch. The Washington Nationals, who hold the first overall pick (shocker, I know), are certain to grab Strasburg and throw large piles of cash at him. And that’s really the way it should be.
Some people will use this draft as another opportunity to argue that rookies are overpaid, that It’s Not Right to be set for retirement, out-earning the veterans. This is poppycock. Poppycock, I say. As The Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase always said, everybody’s got a price. Yes, I just quoted a pro wrestler from the 1980s. Got a problem with it? Then it’s time for you to shove off.
Let me offer one analogy that might be a little too crude to withstand the holes that some of you will try to blow into it. Think about the car you drive. Right now. You like certain things about it. Your list of dislikes about it might be a little longer. Now suppose you had to buy that car–yes, I know you already own it, but stay with me. You either have to buy that car now, as-is, or buy the same make and model of that car from five years earlier. Assuming the price is the same, it’s a no-brainer, right?
Would you really spend the same money on a car that would last 60,000 fewer miles? If you would, this might be why you don’t own a professional sports team. Just as it would be ridiculous to spend money on transpo that you know will die sooner, spending money on a player with an equal relative shelf life would be equally heinous. And sure, you could buy “your car” and it could blow an axle in six months, but is it more likely to happen with the newer car? Not at all.
If one team is going to have the best player thrown into its lap–without having to competitively bid for his services–that team should be forced to pony up. In such a truly “fair” system, rookie contracts would be even larger. And the veterans would still be earning relatively less. Oh well.