Starting next year the Mets will pay Bobby Bonilla $1.2 million per season through 2035

21 Comments

Mike Sielski of the Wall Street Journal notes that starting exactly one year from today the Mets will begin paying Bobby Bonilla an annual salary of $1.2 million … for the next 25 years.
Bonilla is 47 years old, has been retired since 2001, and hasn’t played for the Mets since 1999, but when they bought out the remaining $5.9 million on his contract in January of 2000 they agreed to defer payment at eight percent interest.
And now it’s time to pay the fiddler.
Back then Bonilla was represented by agent Jeff Borris of Beverly Hills Sports Council and the Mets’ general manager was Steve Phillips, and according to agent Steve Gilbert “both sides thought it was a good idea.” And in fairness to Phillips, the Bonilla thing certainly wasn’t his worst idea.
Anyway, as Sielski notes by deferring the money owed to Bonilla the Mets were able to add Mike Hampton, Todd Zeile, and Derek Bell to the 2000 team that won the National League pennant and lost to the Yankees in the World Series, but now instead of simply paying him the $5.9 million in 2000 the team will end up giving Bonilla slightly under $30 million from 2011 to 2035.
Bonilla was at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in Puerto Rico this week for the Mets-Marlins series and referred to his unique arrangement as “that beautiful thing.”

The Braves cave, a little anyway, on their outside food policy

Leave a comment

On Friday the Atlanta Braves announced a new policy for outside food, prohibiting ticket holders from bringing in their own. This was a reversal of their old policy — and the policies of the majority of teams around the league — which allowe fans to bring in soft-sided coolers with their own food and beverages, at least as long as the beverages were sealed.

The Braves claimed that the policy change was “a result of tighter security being put into place this season throughout the league,” but this was clearly untrue as no other teams are cracking down on outside food like this. If there are new security procedures, everyone else is able to accommodate them without an opportunistic crackdown on fans bringing in PB&J for their toddlers. It seemed more likely that this was a simple cash grab.

Today the Braves have reversed the policy somewhat:

While they’re looking for kudos here, this is likewise an admission that the “security” stuff was bull because, last I checked, security procedures aren’t subject to popular referendum and aren’t changed when people complain. What really happened here, it seems, is the Braves, for the first time in living memory, were called out by the public for their greed and realized that even they have some responsibility to not be jackasses about this sort of thing.

Still, a gallon bag policy is not the same as it was before. You could bring coolers into Turner Field and still can bring them into most parks around the league. But I guess this is better than nothing.

Donald Trump may throw out the first pitch at the Nationals opener

Getty Images
9 Comments

It’s just gossip now, but Politico is hearing that Donald Trump is in talks to throw out the first pitch at Nationals Park on Opening Day. The Nats are not commenting. Neither are the Palm Beach Cardinals of the Florida State League, who no doubt feel slighted given that the president effectively is a local.

With the caveat that, on Opening Day, tickets are likely to be more expensive and thus you’re likely to have a lot more rich people and friends-of-the-owners in attendance, thereby ensuring a more conservative crowd, I’m struggling to imagine a situation in which Trump strolls on to a baseball field in a large American city and isn’t booed like crazy. He’s polling as low as 36% in some places. He’s not exactly Mr. Popular.

Oh well. I look forward to him three-bouncing one to Matt Wieters and then grabbing his phone and tweeting about how it was the best, most tremendous first pitch in baseball history. Or blaming Hillary Clinton for it in the event he admits that it was a bad pitch.