“The best things in life are free, but you can keep ‘em for the birds and bees. Now give me money.”
The Beatles sang that on the Ed Sullivan Show, and it’s even more true today than it was back in the 1960s.
I reference that song as I halfheartedly listen to a press conference for Manny Machado.
He signed a $300 million, 10-year contract to play baseball for the San Diego Padres.
Good for him.
He is 26 years old, and barring foolishness or something unforeseen, he and his family are set up financially for the rest of their lives.
I never have any problems with the amount of money athletes or entertainers are paid because I know that if I was offered $300 million, I would take it. Furthermore, if anyone complained about how much I was being paid, I would tell them to get as good at their profession as I am in mine, and they would be rich, too.
You can say there are people who deserve that type of money more than athletes, and you are right.
Teachers, firefighters or military people all deserve to be paid more than they are, but that is not the world we live in, so that argument is like screaming at a wall.
People can be upset the world in messed up in terms of salary, but it is not going to change.
Teachers are striking in this country, trying to get a little more pay, and the fact they have to strike tells you all you need to know about the pay structure for educators.
Money is a relative thing in our lives.
We pay a lot of money to go to sporting events or concerts. We may complain about the price of tickets or $5 bottles of water, but we pay anyway.
The only way anything would change is if people stayed away in droves from these events, and that is not happening.
We usually come up with money when we really want something. We complain about paying bills and how high gasoline is, but we will dig a little deeper into our pockets to go watch our favorite teams play or go out to eat.
Salaries for athletes have always been a bone of contention in this country.
When Babe Ruth was asked about being paid more than President Herbert Hoover, the Bambino quipped he had a better year than the president.
Ruth’s salary was $80,000 in 1930.
Sports is big business and the monster is out of hand.
Like the stock market, I would expect at some point there will be a correction that impacts sports.
Today, television money is filling the coffers of all sports, from college to pros, and as long as people tune in, advertisers will follow and the cycle continues.
Don’t forget, people like Machado are among the best in their profession. There are only about 750 major league players, so the pay scale is based on the limited number of players who are good enough to play at the highest level.
So, just sit back and enjoy watching the best of the best — or don’t. They get paid anyway.
Patrick Murphy, editor-publisher of the Humphrey Democrat and Newman Grove Reporter in Nebraska, is a former assistant managing editor of The Telegram.