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Why Pro Athletes Get Paid Too Much

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“Baseball is the belly of society. Straighten out baseball and you’ll straighten out the rest of the world.” Bill Lee People have a tendency to pay for things they love to see, but has it gone too far? Bill Lee thinks it has and so do many other baseball fans. There was once a time where a father could go to the ballpark with his family for $10 and see their favorite Yankee play, but now things have changed. For a family of four to go see a Major League Baseball game it will cost them anywhere from $200 to $250 to sit in tight, compact seats, while trying to watch the same man as everyone else is. People ask why professional athletes get paid too much; it’s because we allow it. What we pay for, why we pay, and where our money goes are only a few of the ways we know that professional athletes are paid too much.

Big names in the sport business get paid a lot of money to play around and entertain the crowds. Meanwhile, the crowd pays a lot of money be entertained. The crowd is full of doctors, lawyers, teachers, and mechanics that have paid thousands of dollars to earn the money to get to the game in the first place. The players that are being watched normally haven’t worked hard towards a good education. Some have been recruited right out of high school, while most got huge scholarships to play sports at prestigious schools. These schools will do almost anything to keep their best players in school. So they athletes can eventually make it to the professional level, with or without a degree. One might argue that some people get money for being good with their brains, why shouldn’t people get money for being good with their bodies; on the other hand, since when have we paid someone $12 million to think and have fun? It’s not all the athletes’ fault though. Once the player becomes good, many different teams will seek him or her after. Soon after, the highest bidder will get he or she on his team. What is the difference between $80 million and $90 million? Players will even stop playing completely if they think that they aren’t making enough money. So much for the idea of playing for fun. The world of sports has become another business world, which is the reason why athletes get paid so much.

Alex Rodriguez, Michael Jordan, and Roger Clemens will make a combined $12,500 an hour over the course of the next 5 years. That’s $547,500,000, enough to support 100 families for at least 50 years. (Peden, 2000, Sept. 29) Yes, I know that they are good at what they do, but so are the trash men that come and do our dirty work. These people all had to work hard for many years to get the jobs they have, and even if they could reach the highest level of pay for their job, they would still only make a small fraction of what athletes do. Is it fair to say that getting a good education and learning are worth less than being able to hit and throw a baseball?

A person that spends thousands of dollars towards an education so that they can become a chemist and eventually find a cure from some dreadful disease, should be paid much more than a person who is able to hit 2 home runs in one game. It is the spectators who are willing to pay the money to see Alex Rodriguez, Michael Jordan, and Roger Clemens play. If the people wouldn’t pay, then the athletes wouldn’t get paid. I think the players demanded more money, and the spectators agreed because they didn’t want to miss a moment of the action.

In the 1920s a reporter told Babe Ruth that he was earning $5,000 more than President Herbert Hoover. Ruth’s response to this was, “So what? I had a better year than he did.” (Burrow, Dec, 12) Babe Ruth ran baseball, Hoover ran the United States, I’m pretty sure there is a difference there. Teams complain about the athletes making too much money, yet continuously keep handing out these salaries like coupons. The larger market teams such as the Yankees do not care about the smaller market teams and they should, because it is impacting the entire sport by having all of the “All Stars” on one team. Thus giving them an unfair advantage. In 1994, pro baseball dug its own grave with a lengthy player’s strike, which forced the cancellation of its World Series for the first time since 1904. (Peden, 2000) All of this because the players thought they weren’t getting paid enough.

Come on, what will 2 million dollars do when they earn 10 million dollars every year? Before the first decade of the 21st century is over, we can anticipate the signing of the first one billion-dollar athletic contract. Don’t believe me? Just wait and see what Alex Rodriguez re-signs for. The only question is, will there be enough money to go around? “At some point, fans will have to buy Pay Per View in order to watch the games. The fans are already being priced out of watching a game in person.” James Jurik. Now, players rarely stay very long after the games, and if they do, they charge $10 for an autograph, which the fan buys out of the souvenir shop. No longer are sports played for the fun of it. My how the game has changed.

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