The Orioles have reportedly offered Chris Davis a $150 million deal to stay in Baltimore. Davis is reportedly still considering it while trying to see if there’s anything more than that available out there. It seems like that may be as good as he’ll do, but you never know. Either way, he’s a free agent so he’s free to look for more money if he can find it.
Buck Showalter was asked about the Chris Davis situation yesterday. He said something interesting:
“How much is enough?” he said. “I asked Chris during the season, ‘Chris, when you walk into a Target store, can you buy anything you want. So, how much is enough?’ I love Chris, but if that (his decision) makes or breaks our team, shame on us.”
I wonder if Buck Showalter asks Peter Angelos if the millions, maybe billions, he’s made running the Orioles is enough. Or Rob Manfred if MLB revenues are so good and so high that earning more for the unique product he controls is unnecessary. If the fact that they can buy whatever they want means that wanting or expecting more is unreasonable.
I’d guess not, because that’d be a silly thing to ask. Baseball is a business and as long as people are willing to pay for the product — and will continue to pay more for the product over time as they determine is reasonable given the value they receive from it — the question of whether it’s “enough” is beside the point. In a capitalist system, one sells one’s product as long as there are buyers. And the price of the product is based on continuing demand for it, not whether the seller has sufficient assets in the bank from past sales.
Why the product a worker like Chris Davis sells — his labor — is not assumed by those in a capitalist system to be priced the same way has always been a mystery to me. That he should take less for a valuable and desirable service he provides because, in someone else’s view, he has “enough,” is almost a comical notion given how everyone else in that system operates. Yet that is widely assumed to be reasonable in baseball. Fans, media, the owners and the managers think that the players make too much and, on some level, should be satisfied with what they have. That they should not look to make more given that they can buy anything they want at Target, or whatever.
Marvin Miller and the MLBPA won the ground war when it came to getting players their fair share of baseball revenues. But they never did win the propaganda war. It’s still a majority view that the players are greedy and overpaid and that they should be honored to simply be allowed to play the game. The idea that they are the single most valuable part of baseball and that they should, therefore, take a huge chunk out of this multi-billion industry is impossible for many to swallow.
It’s not just baseball, of course. The idea that a man or woman’s labor is a product being purchased is lost on most people. Indeed, when one suggests that it is, one is often accused of being a communist. How ironic that is.