Analyzing The Odds

Originally Posted

On Sunday night, I clicked on the sports page last night to that a PGA golfer, Jim Furyk, won $10 million as part of a $35 million kitty that the FedEx Cup set up for the top 125 golfers in the world. Let me state that one guy won 10 million dollars for playing a couple of professional golf tournaments in the span of about a month. Ten million dollars. I’m clearly in the wrong profession, but kudos to Jim Furyk (in all seriousness, thank Tiger Woods for making the PGA a billion-dollar industry). The system that the PGA has now involves some mega payments for these golfers and the fans are coming out in droves to support golf in America.

Say what you will about Jim Furyk winning $10 million or about the Chicago White Sox paying Manny Ramirez $4 million to play two months for them while their odds at making the playoffs were slim, at best. Good for Jim Furyk and good for Manny Ramirez, I say. On sports radio or other media outlets, these high-priced athletes will be demonized for making so much money while ‘the little guy’ is struggling to get by. Feeding the kids on hot dogs and pretzels at the ballpark apparently hurts ‘the little guy’ too much when it costs fifty bucks. Little Jimmy (or Kaplan) doesn’t need a third hot dog. Still, that money goes somewhere and it’s supporting a product that people love to watch at the park, at home, at the bar, etc.

Let’s face facts, the athletes are the product. Often times, people don’t look at what actuallypushes the product.

Sure, the answer is the business organizations (i.e, the Red Sox) that present the game to us. One has to ask, how do they make their money? Easy, through me and you. We just accept the fact that beers were meant to cost 7.25 at Fenway Park (seriously, what’s up with that extra quarter?), when you can get a six-pack for the same price or less at the liquor store and then even get a 30-cent deposit/incentive for a return voyage. Still, beer is only the 2nd biggest ripoff as ‘fountain water is free of charge’ while vendors charge $4 for a bottle of Poland Spring. People don’t ask ‘why the hell am I paying for a bottle of water’? while we’ll fork over cash for one of the earth’s prime resources. What’s next? Are the folks at Fenway going to charge us during day games for catching sunlight? Concessions and skyrocketing ticket prices have yet to keep most regular consumers away from the park. (I myself have been to two games this year. I usually only get standing room tickets. Both were sell-outs, though a rainy one allowed me and my lady-friend an entire row of bleacher seats to ourselves for a Clay Buchholz gem back in August. A two-hour delay will, reasonably, keep people away.)

One thing that chaps me is that people will complain because J.D. Drew didn’t earn his $14 million this year. Yet, the processed cheese in the nacho trey helps to pay J.D. Drew’s salary. How much does The Big A (Aramark…yours truly is a former Big A employee that made pizza and smoothies back in college) spend on making that fine cheese at Fenway for Fat Fatty to consume? The easy reaction is to blame Theo Epstein and the ownership for paying those damn players so much money (even if it’s the going rate on the marketplace). But maybe, just maybe, we ought to analyze our own spending behavior. It’s totally plausible to go to a game, enjoy a beer or two, and not spend less then 50 bucks. Very possible.

Did you know that John Lackey earned 18.7 million dollars this past season? And in an attempt to make you feel worse if you’re a Red Sox fan, you probably paid his salary if you went to a ballgame or bought office supplies from W.B. Mason. Also, Clay Buchholz and Jon Lester combined to make less than half his salary this past season, while Lackey managed an ERA of 5.00. Paging Bernie Madoff….

The major themes of this satirical observation are twofold: first, it’s quite alright to analyze what you’re really pumping into the wallets of the fat felines, even the ones who run your beloved baseball team; and secondly, I have a gut feeling that most people would probably be content with spending with what they consider to be a fair value. (A great example is how when you hit a certain age, say 25, you usually refuse to pay a cover charge at a bar unless the bar is out-of-this-world or you’re in Vegas. It’s the natural progression of your consumer behavior shifting into what you deem as fair value.) Maybe it’s me, but somebody giving 10 million greenbacks to one golfer in one day while we, the regular consumer, repeatedly pay $7.25 for a freakin’ Bud Light seems inequitable. It’s the system that needs to be analyzed to correct such imbalances.

(*Speaking of imbalances, why haven’t more people called out the Pittsburgh Pirates for being that mooching uncle that hasn’t done s*** while they make millions off the revenue-sharing deal in baseball? See the first link below. If I was a Pirates fan, I would not go to the ballpark until they actually field a .500 team. Prime example of people who cheated the system, yet haven’t really been hit with the mass outrage. It’s eerily similar to keeping the Bush tax cuts from ’01 and ’03 for the top two percent of the population. Shhhh, I hope no one read that.)

You have to ask yourself one question: who’s the real sucker if you keep paying the same out-of-control price for a beer? If you believe in America, then the free market should prevail. The free market will prevail if you’re aware of how the s*** really works. People are making money on the ignorance of consumers in a lot of different facets of global economies (hence one reason for the recession, the system finally caught the cheats); education always even the playing field as a consumer (whether, it’s truthful information you’re being educated is always in question). We the people, indeed, have the power to make intelligent consumer choices. This requires being attentive, inquisitive, and it takes a fair amount of hard work to not waste money especially when it comes to changing old habits. Easier to say than to do, but like anything; the price of glory is worth paying.

Sources: The Pittsburgh Pirates Made Money?

Stop Fighting and Tax The Super Rich Already

Fenway’s Beer Prices Are a Joke, I Just Want a $4 Yuengling

J.D. Drew’s a Bargain Compared to Lackey

One and One Don’t Make One, Just 3.8M for 2 Months

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