Quote of the Day: A-Rod isn’t gonna talk about the $6 million home run bonus

24 Comments

Everyone is talking about the bonus the Yankees seem intent on not paying Alex Rodriguez for tying and, eventually, passing Willie Mays for number four on the all-time home run list. Everyone, that is, except for A-Rod:

“I’m just happy to be playing baseball. That’s family business. That’s nowhere near where my energy is these days. My energy is playing the game tonight. Just baseball . . . “I’ve been in a good place for a while now, and it’s just fun to be playing baseball. I’ve learned my lesson. The old (A-Rod) is gone.”

The “old A-Rod” referring to litigious A-Rod. Which isn’t to say that he and/or the union won’t do something about this at some point, but it makes way more sense for him to wait until the season is over so he doesn’t have to answer questions about it and stuff all year.

As we’ve noted here many times in the past, the whole home run bonus thing is a legal matter which is hard to assess without actually having access to the marketing agreement that created the bonus. This isn’t necessarily like guaranteed player salaries or bonuses in standard contracts governed by the CBA. There may, in fact, be legal and straightforwardly defensible ways for the Yankees to withhold the bonuses, so talking about the team as “reneging” on the deal or breaching a contract is premature and could, technically speaking, be wrong.

Bigger picture, however, it’s impossible to see the Yankees’ effort to avoid paying on this as anything other than a bit of spite based on a rocky relationship with A-Rod over the past several years. To exploit a “because we can” argument as opposed to appreciating “because we should” reasoning. In this, it’s not unlike the Cubs dealings with Kris Bryant’s service time or, perhaps, the Angels’ understanding of their rights with respect to Josh Hamilton.

Put differently, what is legal and what is right is not often the same thing. And sometimes pursuing one of those ends means ignoring the other.

MLB crowds jump from ’21, still below pre-pandemic levels

mlb
Logan Riely/Getty Images
1 Comment

PHOENIX — Even with the homer heroics of sluggers like Aaron Judge and Albert Pujols, Major League Baseball wasn’t able to coax fans to ballparks at pre-pandemic levels this season, though attendance did jump substantially from the COVID-19 affected campaign in 2021.

The 30 MLB teams drew nearly 64.6 million fans for the regular season that ended Wednesday, which is up from the 45.3 million who attended games in 2021, according to baseball-reference.com. This year’s numbers are still down from the 68.5 million who attended games in 2019, which was the last season that wasn’t affected by the pandemic.

The 111-win Los Angeles Dodgers led baseball with 3.86 million fans flocking to Dodger Stadium for an average of 47,672 per contest. The Oakland Athletics – who lost 102 games, play in an aging stadium and are the constant subject of relocation rumors – finished last, drawing just 787,902 fans for an average of less than 10,000 per game.

The St. Louis Cardinals finished second, drawing 3.32 million fans. They were followed by the Yankees (3.14 million), defending World Series champion Braves (3.13 million) and Padres (2.99 million).

The Toronto Blue Jays saw the biggest jump in attendance, rising from 805,901 fans to about 2.65 million. They were followed by the Cardinals, Yankees, Mariners, Dodgers, and Mets, which all drew more than a million fans more than in 2021.

The Rangers and Reds were the only teams to draw fewer fans than in 2021.

Only the Rangers started the 2021 season at full capacity and all 30 teams weren’t at 100% until July. No fans were allowed to attend regular season games in 2020.

MLB attendance had been declining slowly for years – even before the pandemic – after hitting its high mark of 79.4 million in 2007. This year’s 64.6 million fans is the fewest in a non-COVID-19 season since the sport expanded to 30 teams in 1998.

The lost attendance has been balanced in some ways by higher viewership on the sport’s MLB.TV streaming service. Viewers watched 11.5 billion minutes of content in 2022, which was a record high and up nearly 10% from 2021.