Mark Teixeira, who made $213 million in his career as a baseball player, would like to see today’s baseball players take less money to return to the field and endanger people’s lives in the process.
“Players need to understand that if they turn this deal down and shut the sport down, they’re not making a cent,” Teixeira said on ESPN’s Get Up on Tuesday morning. “I would rather make pennies on the dollar and give hope to people and play baseball than not make anything and lose an entire year off their career.”
Teixeira, who now works as an ESPN analyst, found agreement from one of his Worldwide Leader compatriots.
“If this thing blows up over money, they will lose fans that they will never get back,” host Mike Greenberg said. “And they will deserve it.”
Teixeira did make a good point: The owners’ proposed 50-50 revenue split under a restart plan would represent a bigger piece of the pie than players have been getting in recent years as owners’ self-imposed austerity has held baseball salaries in check Last season, for instance, USA Today calculated players took in 47.3% of revenues. He conveniently ignored the agreement between management and the MLBPA from last month, in which players agreed to prorated salaries based on the length of the schedule.
The owners are now trying to change the terms of that deal, assuredly because they believe that revenues from a shortened schedule, with possibly zero in ticket sales, would be far lower than the percentage of the season that gets played, thereby making a 50-50 split better for them than paying those prorated salaries.
There was something else Teixeira ignored, as outlined by Jeff Passan (who was on “Get Up” alongside him on Tuesday) and Kiley McDaniel in their ESPN writeup of the labor-management agreement last month. That would be that one of the three “necessities to start the 2020 season” is the “determination, after talking with health experts and the union, that playing does not expose players, staff or fans to health risks.”
Well, Sean Doolittle is a player rep in the union, and he’s not convinced that those health risks wouldn’t be present. Health experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci don’t seem so sure, either. But maybe they need to take a page from Danny Rose over in England, who said, “I don’t give a fuck about the nation’s morale, people’s lives are at risk.”
Maybe that message would get through to people like Illinois governor J.B. Pritzker and Teixeira, who are thinking this is all about money. It’s about doing the right thing amid a public health catastrophe.
Of course, Teixeira, despite his Georgia Tech education, never has been much of a guy to follow the lead of science. When a Yankees-Red Sox spring training game was held up in 2014 for a swarm of bees, the New York first baseman came out of the dugout waving two bottles of honey, thinking that would be an effective solution to the problem.
“What I thought was, if you could just do a line of honey out to the parking lot, the bees would maybe follow it, and then just leave us alone,” Teixeira said that day.
Instead of doing that, the Steinbrenner Field groundskeepers sprayed the field, and play was able to resume after a delay of just seven minutes. Amazingly, you can get positive results when people who know what the fuck they’re doing are in charge.