I was intrigued by the Arizona Diamondbacks resigning Joe Saunders this week after many had considered him headed for another team. He was arbitration eligible,and the Diamondbacks didn’t think that the salary he’d get if he won his arbitration case would be a good value for them.
So the didn’t offer to go to arbitration with him,and he became a free agent –only to come back to the Diamondbacks for about $2.7 million less than what his arbitration number was thought to be.
So the Diamondbacks got back a pitcher who they admitted to wanting on better terms for them. I’m sure Mr. Saunders wasn’t terribly thrilled by the outcome,although maybe he was. He still gets a raise of $500,000 from 2011,he’s back in a place he seemed to enjoy,on a team that won their division last year,and he got to test the free agent waters.
This got me to thinking a bit,don’t we all find ourselves in relationships that aren’t quite perfect,and just need some of the terms to be adjusted? Mainly it’s to drop some of the drama that people bring,or the commitment level,or whatever. There’s clearly something that’s very enjoyable about that person,but when you put everything together,it just doesn’t create the best value.
But what do we do when we run into those situations? Drop the person all together? Put up with the stuff we don’t like? Neither are great options –and again,this isn’t to say we shouldn’t accept people for their flaws and imperfections. But it would seem that if we were just honest with those people about the things we don’t like,we might all end up in a better situation.
Just like the Diamondbacks saying,“Joe,we like you a lot,we think you’re a great pitcher and we’d love to have you on this ballclub,but we just can’t justify $8.7 million,”what might you need to say to that friend of yours?
“I love our conversations,but the swearing really needs to stop –I’m not comfortable with it and it makes it tough for me to focus on what you have to say.”
“I know you want to hang out every night,but I just can’t do it –can we make a promise of one or two nights a week?”
“I really love going to these nice bars and restaurants,but the cost is taking a hit on my wallet and taking away from some of the things I’m saving for. What about doing some nights in or at places with a bit more modestly priced menu?”
We all have our teams –those people we keep around us for support,advice,guidance,and assistance. But to maintain those teams in a healthy way,we often have to define the terms of those relationships in order to nurture them. It’s not the easiest conversation to have,but it’s an important one to have if you value your friendships. There’s nothing wrong with asking what the terms are in a relationship,from your casual buddies to your life and business partners.
Try it –you may just end up strengthening your relationships.
Something I was thinking about the other day —the National Anthem is performed at each and every baseball game played,yet as I can recall it’s rarely televised,nor is it played in any form on the TV or radio before those same games.
The simple thing that comes to mind is that it’s not a money-maker. A television network couldn’t really sell a sponsorship of the anthem –not without a fairly large outcry from viewers. I’ve seen it done once in the Cactus League,where the national anthem was presented by a credit union of one of the branches of the military,and it certainly didn’t sit well with me.
But you’d think the impact would be much greater if the anthem was included as part of the broadcast,wouldn’t you?
That begs the question –the impact of what? Which I will respond with both an answer and a question –why do we even need the national anthem to be played before a baseball game or any sporting event? There is no inherent connection between the two –certainly not one that I can see or think about when I ponder the subject.
Rather,it seems that it’s a way to drum up a sense of patriotism among a sizable group of people who are effectively held captive and can’t turn off the programming. Which could also answer the first question –people could simply flip the channel or disengage from the television,further weakening its merit for airing. Television is a fairly simple business –it’s there to accumulate as large of an audience as possible and then sell –or rent –those people’s attention to paying advertisers. Maybe the anthem just doesn’t do that on an everyday basis?
And why do we need to drum up patriotism? So the government is trusted and can do things that may not ultimately be in the best interests of their constituents. The anthem is an old drinking song,and more-or-less a feel good song. It also gives us the feeling of belonging to a large group with shared interests –something that reinforces our social nature as animals. Put all that together and you can see why the government would want the anthem played before sporting events.
But why not on TV?
I was at an Arizona Fall League game the other day and got to see firsthand the hierarchy of who should get a foul ball argued amongst fans.
Now if you’ve never been to an AFL game,let me preface it by saying that there is generally less than 300 people at a game,and most of them are working for one of the 30 MLB clubs. Another chunk of them are older folks who really aren’t trying to chase down foul balls. The remainder are either people who could chase fouls balls but don’t (me),grown-ups who do chase down foul balls (these are often the autograph hounds as well),and kids.
Another piece of the equation —players,coaches,umpires and bat boys aren’t allowed to throw balls into the stands,otherwise I believe they get fined. This will factor into the story.
So I was sitting at Peoria Stadium in the section behind home plate watching a game,and a couple of foul balls were hit down the left field line,where an older guy in a wheelchair was sitting with whom I presumed was his wife. The left fielder doesn’t toss it to him for the reason mentioned above. This encourages a guy sitting around me to start yelling “give it to the guy in the wheelchair!”
A few innings later a kid started moving towards the same area where the guy in the wheelchair was. Foul ball goes into the left field bleachers. Both the kid and they guy’s wife go after the ball –not a scrum or anything,mind you,she was much closer to it than the kid was –and she gives the ball to her husband.
She gets booed for it. People start yelling “give it to the kid!”as they are often known to do at ballgames.
Now this pisses me off. Why does a kid take precedence over a guy in a wheelchair? So I figured there must be some kind of hierarchy established to figure out who gets a foul ball in cases such as these.
Of course we could argue specifics ad nauseam,so I’d want to stay a bit more general. So let’s start with the kid versus the guy in the wheelchair? Who should get that ball?
I say the guy in the wheelchair —even though he’s older,he’s at a distinct disadvantage. If he wants one and it’s within reasonable distance,he gets it. The kid can wait for the next one. If anything,the kid should be made to offer it to him.
Now,a kid in a wheelchair trumps both of them.
At the bottom of the list almost without exception is the 25-65 year old white guy. Seems like no one wants him to get a foul ball. He’ll be yelled at to give the ball to a kid,even if he’s got one of his own at home who would love it. That doesn’t seem to count for much,and you know he doesn’t want to explain it and no one wants to listen to him.
But that leaves quite a bit of room in the middle. Who do we slot into this hierarchy?
Where does grandma fit in? Where does a guy with a kid fit in? By himself he’d stand no shot,but does the kid boost him up? And how old does that kid have to be in order to help?
Something to think about.
Sometimes I wonder if it would just be easier to be a Yankees fan…you know,assimilate into the masses,wear the dark navy blue with the interlocked white NY logo,cheer for the winners,the big payroll,the history,the pomp and circumstance.
I grew up in Seattle,and wasn’t much of a Mariners fan until the arrival of Griffey,Jr. and the ’95 team. To be honest,I rooted for the Pirates. I thought the Bonds,Bonilla and Van Slyke outfield was the best thing since sliced bread. They didn’t win a World Series,but I thought they were pretty cool all the same.
But then I realized that it’s important to cheer for the home team. Now I live in Phoenix,and I root for the Diamondbacks. Yes,they’re struggling;yes,D-backs fans were outnumbered when the Yankees came to town a few weeks ago and are challenged for numbers when the Dodgers and Cubs come to town,but when you live six blocks from Chase Field as I do,pay your Arizona taxes and left one town in search of better opportunities in another,I think you have to show some love to the locals.
Of course,I still cheer for the Mariners,I still love Seattle,and I would love nothing more than a World Series between the Mariners and Diamondbacks,and I would be happy regardless who won.
But then again,I watch the All Star Game and wonder,would it be easier to just put on a Yankees hat and join the masses?