Alex Rodriguez derangement syndrome continues to the very end

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Alex Rodriguez has always been controversial, but the degree to which his critics have historically gone overboard in slamming him has always outstripped his actual transgressions.

He landed a big contract and was instantly cast as the greediest person alive. He fooled around and blew his marriage up and was cast as an immoral villain. He made some public relations missteps and he was branded as the most clueless person alive. He took performance enhancing drugs and lied about it and he was compared, with no irony, to a literal mass murderer.

It all started with that $250 million deal he signed with the Rangers, though. A-Rod may have broken rules and acted arrogantly and stepped in it a whole bunch, but the day he signed that deal with Texas is when he ceased to be a ballplayer like any other ballplayer in the eyes of the press and became a caricature whose every move was scrutinized more and whose very existence was treated differently than any other player’s. That’s when the narrative about him was forever slanted and after which he’d never get a fair shake.

Even now, on the eve of his final game, it does not end. Just look at this Associated Press story:

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NEW YORK (AP) — By the time Alex Rodriguez collects his last payment as a player from the Yankees next year, he will have received $317,368,852 from New York, according to a review of his contracts by The Associated Press.

Luxury tax caused by his deal totaled an additional $132 million through this year, although the Yankees could have spent more money on other players had A-Rod not been on the roster.

Was it worth it, given that the Yankees have won one World Series title during his years in pinstripes?

Honestly, what other athlete is covered in this way? The only other ballplayer who gets anything close to this treatment is Joe Mauer, but that’s a localized phenomenon for the most part. Where are the national stories about how much the Dodgers, for example, have spent on player salaries without a World Series title to show for it? Where is the cost-benefit analysis of the Albert Pujols deal? The Miguel Cabrera deal? Robinson Cano? Joey Votto? CC Sabathia?

More to the point, where is the stuff about how much revenue the Yankees have taken in during A-Rod’s time in pinstripes? Or are we to believe that Alex Rodriguez is the only actor in the world of baseball who sought to maximize his earnings?

There is a debate to be had whether A-Rod was worth his contracts over the years and I’m sure that, if asked, the Associated Press and the author of this story, Ronald Blum, would defend it by simply saying that it is a fact piece, not an opinion piece. And yes, facts are facts. But the very act of writing and running this story is an editorial choice which reveals a belief that Alex Rodriguez — unlike any other athlete, league, team or executive — must answer for the money he earned. And a strongly implied judgment from the get-go that any answer will come up short.

It’s been that way for 15 years, really.

AP Source: Minor leaguers reach five-year labor deal with MLB

Syndication: The Columbus Dispatch
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NEW YORK – Minor league players reached a historic initial collective bargaining agreement with Major League Baseball on Wednesday that will more than double player salaries, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because details were not announced.

As part of the five-year deal, MLB agreed during the contract not to reduce minor league affiliates from the current 120.

The sides reached the deal two days before the start of the minor league season and hours after a federal judge gave final approval to a $185 million settlement reached with MLB last May of a lawsuit filed in 2014 alleging violations of federal minimum wage laws.

Union staff recommended approval and about 5,500 minor leaguers were expected to vote on Thursday. MLB teams must also vote to approve and are expected to do so over the next week.

Minimum salaries will rise from $4,800 to $19,800 at rookie ball, $11,000 to $26,200 at Low Class A, $11,000 to $27,300 at High Class A, $13,800 to $27,300 at Double A and $17,500 to $45,800 at Triple-A. Players will be paid in the offseason for the first time.

Most players will be guaranteed housing, and players at Double-A and Triple-A will be given a single room. Players below Double-A will have the option of exchanging club housing for a stipend. The domestic violence and drug policies will be covered by the union agreement. Players who sign for the first time at 19 or older can become minor league free agents after six seasons instead of seven.

Major leaguers have been covered by a labor contract since 1968 and the average salary has soared from $17,000 in 1967 to an average of $4.22 million last season. Full-season minor leaguers earned as little as $10,400 last year.

The Major League Baseball Players Association took over as the bargaining representative of the roughly 5,500 players with minor league contracts last September after a lightning 17-day organization drive.

Minor leaguers players will receive four weeks of retroactive spring training pay for this year. They will get $625 weekly for spring training and offseason training camp and $250 weekly for offseason workouts at home.

Beginning in 2024, teams can have a maximum of 165 players under contract during the season and 175 during the offseason, down from the current 190 and 180.

The union will take over group licensing rights for players.

Negotiating for players was led by Tony Clark, Bruce Meyer, Harry Marino, Ian Penny and Matt Nussbaum. MLB Deputy Commissioner Dan Halem headed management’s bargainers.