Wednesday, December 10, 2008

CC Sabathia: Not A Business Decision

Well, without further ado, Sabathia has finally deigned to accept our humble offer and become a Yankee.

Clap.

Clap.

Clap.

Clap.

Oh, I’m sorry. I guess I’m supposed to be doing back flips. I just didn’t want to overwhelm him with my enthusiasm. The way he didn’t want to overwhelm us with his.

It’s been about a month since Cashman made his initial offer to Sabathia. Sick of waiting, Cash finally decided to take the bull by the horns and went west to give good old CC a talking to. Cash had said a couple weeks back that his offer to Sabathia wouldn’t be on the table forever. Apparently, what he meant by that was that it would only be on the table until he made a bigger one. That’s right; on his recent trip he offered CC both another year and an additional $20 million.

Is it just me, or is Cash not the guy you want doing your negotiating at the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul for you?

It’s been so long since all this CC talk began that I had basically written him off as a viable option. The word on the street was that he wanted to stay west, wanted what was best for his family, was of the rare breed that couldn’t be bought. Earlier this week, a close friend of CC’s commented, "He's one guy, I'm absolutely convinced, whose decision will not be about getting the last dollar. That's not the way he thinks. This isn't a business decision for him. This is a life decision. So if he chooses New York, it will be because he wants to be there, not because they were the team that offered the most money."

Isn’t it just the greatest when the best life decisions also end up being the decisions that earn you $160 million? Sometimes, everything just comes together.

Ah, to have been a fly on the wall during that conversation with Cashman and Sabathia. To have listened in as Cash expounded on the benefits of big city living, sold Sabathia on the virtues of a private school system that allows famous people to bypass the normal hoops and nail biting that the regular rich people have to endure in order to ensure a quality education for their offspring. He must have told him about the camaraderie in the Yankee clubhouse, how the Bombers were essentially like a family where the allowances are enormous and the berating happens in public. I mean, given what we know about CC, we have to assume that he was ultimately won over by a quality of life argument rather than the offer of more money and another year, right?

And, yet, one can’t help but suspect that the mind-blowingly disgusting size of the offer—slightly insulting, perhaps to some of those hundreds of thousands of Americans who have recently lost a job with a normal salary—had something to do with it.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t begrudge CC his right to go where the money is best. I mean, it doesn’t make him a bad person. It just makes him a not exceptionally good person. That’s not what I take issue with. What irks me is his refusal to admit that it’s about the money. To shove down out throats the idea that he’s above all that. But the bottom line is that, in a perfect world, I don’t think New York and the Bombers were what CC had in mind. It seems to me that he had a price that made the sacrifice of the quality of life factor seem worth it to him. When the Yanks named that price, he agreed to the deal. And, sure, I know it’s insane to turn down tens of millions of dollars. But I also feel like, in a way, when you’re Sabathia, there’s no real reason not to make these decisions based exclusively on quality of life factors. Ultimately, any of the teams that were courting CC would have been prepared to give him more than any one person should ever have or would need in a lifetime unless he was going to buy a rocket or an island nation or something.

Hopefully, Sabathia will find a way to redeem himself. I mean, Lord knows the guy’s got skills, and, from the moment go, I wanted him in pinstripes. It would just be nice to feel like he was, like, at least a little bit more excited to be coming to play for the team where players become legends.

But whatever. Ever onward. Time to go chase another overpriced, injury prone former pitcher for the Marlins. We like to keep one around for good luck.

1 comment:

C-3P0 said...

Mel, you know I love u and would never disagree with you here, but one factor to consider which u failed to mention in your post is the pressure from the union for CC to take this deal, not to mention the pressure on Cashman to "get his man."

The MLBPA is and has been one of the strongest unions in professional sports, if not the country. The prospect of CC leaving tens of millions of dollars on the table in order to maintain quality of life and play on the west coast was not something that would have sat too well with Donald Fehr and his band of merrymen. After all, this was not just about CC - it was also about making sure players are constantly getting every penny out of owership possible, and setting the bar for a market that's so incredibly out of whack with the reality of society as a whole.

As for Cashman, he was under undue pressure to deliver the hefty lefty after last year's decision to not go after Johan, which resulted in the alternative scenario of the double-0 (as in no wins) twins Hughes and Kennedy contributing to the Yanks' first dark October in the last year of the baseball cathedral. So yes, you are correct that he didn't display the greatest negotiation skills in outbidding himself for his prized acqwuisition, but that's the way the cookie crumbles when you don't hold the trump cards in the negotiation process.

I didn't hear CC say that it wasn't about the money, so if he did indeed say that then I agree it's quite insulting given the tune he was singing just last week. However, I think we should just condition ourselves to not take athletes for face value, and know that it's ALWAYS about the money. After all, we live in America, a society built on capitalism and maximizing ons earning potential by any means necessary (and typically at the expense of the have-nots). If we as fans are insulted by the inflated salaries that professional athletes and entertainers are earning in the face of the most serious economic crisis we've faced in our lifetimes, then all we need do is turn a blind eye and deaf ear to the very product we love to consume. That is the only way to (not) put our money where our mouth is!