Baseball as America Fact that George Will Forgot

"Psst! ~ Hey, buddy, you need any tickets for Opening Day?" ~ George Will

“Psst! – Hey, buddy! – You Astros fans need any extra tickets for Opening Day at Yankee Stadium today ? I’ve also got some very good deals on top coats -sizes XL to XXXXL!”
~ George Will

Darrell Pittman sent us this nice good-feeling message from journalist George Will that tweeted its way around the Internet yesterday in timed correspondence to the start of the 2016 baseball season. On the sentimental level of things, you have to love it as deep-in-the-mine baseball fans.

Link to George Will message:

As Wills points out, (1) baseball is the game that can be played by ordinary sized people; (2) the game is governed by a clear and fair justice system. i.e, “Three strikes and you’re out;” (3) baseball big league integration in 1947 beat federal support on the time line (1948), Brown vs. The Board of Education (1954), and Rosa Parks (1955); (4) baseball is the big tent among American sports – 20% of all MLB players hail from foreign countries; and (5) baseball forces its work force of teams and players into accountability. If your team doesn’t win, most cities stop supporting it. If your players don’t produce, they are gone faster than anyone can think “George Steinbrenner”.

My only issue is with the general idea that baseball players are ordinary people in all the ways that count beyond physical size ordinariness. “Size matters” in baseball definitely when it comes to pay. Nothing “ordinary people” in the area of salaries. The minimum annual wage for an MLB player is $507,500.

That’s right …. Five Hundred and Seven Thousand, Five Hundred Dollars and No Cents. …. And that makes little to no comparative sense, whatsoever.

Look at this table of the minimum wage pay for MLB players in relation to the prescribed base salaries, without all the extras, for the leaders of our federal government:

An Annual Base Salary Comparison

1 MLB MINIMUM WAGE $ 507,500
2 PRESIDENT – USA $ 400,000 *
3 tie CHIEF JUSTICE – SC $ 223,500
3 tie SPEAKER OF HOUSE $ 223,500
6 Majority/Minority Leaders $ 193,400
7 Senators/Congress Reps. $ 174,000


  • The President also gets annual budgets for travel ($100,000), expenses ($50,000), and entertainment ($19,000) to eke past the poor MLB minimum wager in annual pay, but even the figures quoted here seem to be lower than the annual cost of wine for all those state dinners and the eggs and egg dye needed for the annual Easter Egg Roll on the White House lawn.

As we know so well, the real power of those jobs in Washington comes not from the legally approved salaries, but from the power they each derive to receive money and other perks from corporate sources that are willing to reward government leaders and legislators for their support of special interest legislation.

The MLB minimum wager only has the power by his performance on the field to influence the club who signed him into this not-so-dire employment circumstance in the matter of what happens next, if anything.

Relative to most of us, and that includes thousands of business owners and small corporation CEOs, the minimum wage MLB player is not your Average Joe when it comes to his base pay. It’s simply no power base for future gain unless he produces in a very measurable way. – And there’s that clear justice presence in baseball that George Will described.

Presidents and Congressmen, on the other hand, have a very different challenge. They don’t really have measurable result stats, except by fable and folklore. When it comes to us ordinary voters, all they have to do is live up to the advice that Joe Kennedy once gave his boys when he told them (paraphrasing here): “Boys, it’s not who you are that counts. It’s who the people think you are that matters.” Throw into the same wash, the earlier dirty laundry of that great New York swindling politician, Boss Tweed, who reminded his fellow felons and all of those like-minded kinds that have come after him what they need to keep in mind when stuff hits the fan.

“The public has a short memory,” said Tweed.

Oh well! Baseball may not be perfect, but it’s a whole lot fairer and more fun than everyday life.

Come on, Astros, let’s go get those Yankees today!


eagle-0rangeBill McCurdy

Publisher, Editor, Writer

The Pecan Park Eagle

Houston, Texas


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