Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that the average major league salary rose to a record $4.4 million this year. That’s a record, and is the second straight year it has exceeded $4 million. Meanwhile, Nightengale reports, there are a record 127 major-league players who will earn $10 million or more this season.
Tempering that is the fact, as noted by Sean Lahman, that 40% of players make less than $600,000, which means that the top salaries are skewing those averages quite a bit. As has happened in America as a whole, there is a very rich top of the heap, a lot of people on the bottom and an ever-shrinking middle class.
Now is the time when some of you will chime in with “hey, they’re being paid millions to play a kids’ game!” or some other variation on “the greedy players make too much money!” My favorite is when someone says “that’s fine, but why aren’t school teachers making that?!” or when they otherwise compare what these highly-skilled, extraordinarily rare and extraordinarily talented physical specimens fueling a $10 billion industry make to what normal people make at their normal jobs.
That’s a fun conversation, but it misses the fact that, given how baseball works, that $10 billion is being raked in regardless. If you think the millionaire players are making too much of it it means, by definition, you think the billionaire owners should be raking in more of it. Sorry, but it does. You’re not a moron. Don’t pretend to be one. You know the owners aren’t going to give it all away to schools and hospitals or orphanages. They’re keeping it if the players don’t and you need to own that if you’re going to rail against player salaries.
Or, alternatively, you can explain to us a mechanism for the wealth of these capitalists to be diverted to the pockets of those workers you mentioned above. God knows I’m all ears for that. You know how I roll. I just find that the folks who complain about player salaries tend not to skew commie like I do, so your suggestions on that whole millionaire-billionaire-proletariat thing should be mighty interesting.