Mood: party time!
Topic: "Who dat?" (2)
Duke Snider was a great baseball player who proffered the fact that he played the game for the money, not because of some pure affection for the game. In those days, one would've thought that he had admitted to a certain sympathy for Communism. It was the "national pastime," and it was an honor to walk where Babe Ruth had walked, or stand where Walter Johnson had stood. It was beyond comprehension for anyone to expect that he could play for whom he wanted, and that he could negotiate his own financial deal. Something called the "reserve clause" allowed the financial owners of the major league francises to treat their players as chattel. Duke Snider's suggestion that money was an issue was a direct frontal assault on the special treatment afforded team owners.
"My, my, how times have changed," said Frodo as he stared at the make-up of the various football teams contesting for the right to go to the Super Bowl. The New Orleans Saints, who had a worse record than every other team in the entire National Footbal League, except one, were getting ready to face the Chicago Bears for the NFC title this year. The revamped Saints success revolved around "free agent" Drew Brees, their quarterback for the next 6 seasons at $10 Million per season.
The allegiance of player, coach, community, and fan is long gone in American professional sports. Duke Snider was merely a predictor of the prevailing attitude that ensnarls our games into our business. Despite all of that, Frodo couldn't help but root for the Saints in their game, if not merely for the fans, who really deserve some good news, and a good reason to cheer. Alas, it was not to be.
Brooks Robinson, the Hall of Fame Third Baseman of the Baltimore Orioles once received a blank contract from the owner of the Orioles. The owner explained that Robinson was such a great player, that he represented everything that the Orioles wanted to be, and that he was an Ambassador-at-large for their community. For that reason, he told Robinson to put in a figure as the salary he thought he deserved for the upcoming season.
My, my, how times have changed.