Major League Baseball just announced that A-Rod and the Yankees have resolved the dispute over Alex Rodriguez’s $6 million bonus for passing Willie Mays on the all-time home run list. Short version: only $3.5 million of it is being paid out, and all of that to charity. Here’s the statement:
Mr. Rodriguez and the Yankees have agreed that a total of $3.5 million in charitable contributions will be made by the Club, with $1 million going to the following charities that have long enjoyed the support of one or both: the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, the Boys & Girls Club of Tampa, and Pitch In For Baseball; and $2.5 million going to the MLB Urban Youth Foundation, which will use the money to further programs and initiatives aimed at increasing youth participation in baseball, particularly in urban areas. Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr. will determine the initiatives to be supported by the $2.5 million contribution after consulting with Mr. Rodriguez, and taking into consideration the focus of Mr. Rodriguez’s past charitable contributions.
Neither party will have any further comment on the specific terms of the agreement and both look forward to focusing their energies on winning another championship for Yankees fans.
One could criticize the union and/or A-Rod for caving here — and many will — but the fact remains, we still do not know the language of the marketing agreement between Rodriguez and the Yankees and whether or not a challenge to the Yankees’ withholding the money would have any traction. After all, this was not guaranteed money under a player contract and some reports stated that the Yankees had the advantage with respect to the operative language.
Ultimately, A-Rod and the union chose to agree two having $3.5 million go to charities rather than take a chance that they could get $6 million while risking losing it all. Given the risk and the fact that, to get that money, everyone would have to go back into a courtroom someplace and argue about things everyone got pretty sick and tired of arguing about last year, it’s a defensible position to take.
Yankees donate $150,000 to charity to get Alex Rodriguez his 3,000th hit ball
Zack Hample, the Yankees season ticket holder known for catching home runs balls, has changed his mind and will give Alex Rodriguez his 3,000th hit home run … for a price.
According to a statement released by the Yankees, the ball will be given to Rodriguez at a press conference this afternoon and in exchange the team has agreed to donate $150,000 to Hample’s charity Pitch In For Baseball and also give him various tickets and memorabilia.
Hample has caught thousands of home run balls and once wrote a book on the subject. He publicly said he planned to keep Rodriguez’s ball–including an angry, anti-Rodriguez tweet that has since been deleted–but then met several times with Yankees officials and changed his mind.
So, to recap: Ballhawk catches ball and gains attention. Wealthy team pays money to get possession of the ball. Player with 669 career homers gets to keep a particularly memorable one. Everybody wins, I guess?
What is this world coming to? How are we, in the year 2015, looking at a possible showdown between the Yankees, Alex Rodriguez and the union that won’t be characterized by acrimony and bad behavior but, instead, will result in a win-win-win and have everyone coming out looking good in the end?
Representatives for Rodriguez, the players’ union and Yankees have been talking for weeks about a deal to redirect the $6 million bonus that Rodriguez was to receive for hitting his 660th home run, according to a marketing agreement between him and the club.
The talks aren’t close to yielding a deal yet, but it is progressing. Thank goodness there’s still time to derail it. Or, short of that, thank goodness Bill Madden has time to spin any eventual charity-benefitting deal in such a way as to make A-Rod look like a monster of some sort. But hey, he’s a Spink Award winning journalist. I’m sure he’ll come up with some gold.