December 17, 2023

The rich get richer, that’s the law of the land

It’s hard not to be cynical these days — easily the understatement of the 21st century — especially when a big-talent, big-market, big everything kind of team like the Los Angeles Dodgers can dole out $836 million to two players, the bulk of which has gone to a guy by the name of Shohei Ohtani. The other player is pitcher Tyler Glasnow, if anyone cares.

Al Newman, Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

As soon as I learned of the Ohtani deal, I couldn’t help but utter the phrase, “the rich get richer, that’s the law of the land.”

It’s a line from the Pulitzer Prize-winning play by David Mamet called Glengarry Glen Ross, which was also adapted into a movie of the same name. I’ve never read or seen the play, but I have watched the movie (it’s excellent, by the way) and that bit of dialogue is delivered by the character Dave Moss as played by Ed Harris as he laments the state of the sales business in a nearby bar.

It’s an apt bit of dialogue because it segues so nicely into everything wrong about the uneven playing field created by major league sports. Yes, there is analytics (see the Tampa Bay Rays), revenue sharing and such things as compensatory picks, but it really doesn’t matter when one team can spend close to $1 billion on two players. No other team is doing this, particularly the Twins, and it might mean the team’s lack of a TV contract for 2024 is a bigger deal than we realize. Their previous deal reportedly paid them $55 million for the 2023 season.

Nevertheless, that hasn’t stopped the Minnesota Twins Zealot, or “Jeff,” from showing his displeasure on X (formerly Twitter) by saying he’s going to regularly tweet a random photo of former Twins utility player Al Newman until the Twins do something this offseason.

More power to him, I say.

Newman, for the curious, spent eight seasons in major league baseball, five of them with the Twins. He hit .226 with 1 home run for his career. The best game of his career wasn’t with the Twins, but the Texas Rangers when he went 4-for-5 with a run scored and 2 RBI in a 14-3 win over the Seattle Mariners on June 8, 1992.

How did the newspapers cover the game?

The Forth Worth Star-Telegram:

“The Rangers scored in every inning but the second, and Al Newman had four singles to lead the hit parade, the first four-hit game of his career.

“It’s been a long time coming,” Newman said. “It’s weird. When Seattle came to the park today, I thought about opening week up there in Seattle when we swung the bats well.”

The Morning (Tacoma) News Tribune lede:

“In their first full day in last place, the Seattle Mariners acted like a team that just might stay a while.”

Sources: Baseball-Reference.com, Newspapers.com, @MNTwinsZealot

COMMENTS

Hi, I’m Rolf Boone, Twins fan.

I became a fan of the Minnesota Twins after a friendly wager in the early 1980s. I survived Ron Davis, the meltdown in Cleveland, Phil Bradley at the Kingdome and then marveled at a rising generation of stars and two World Series wins in 1987 and 1991. Brad Radke made the 1990s bearable, while Kirby Puckett’s eye injury, exit from the game and eventual death made it almost too much to bear. The new century ushered in more talent — Joe Mauer, Johan Santana, Joe Nathan, Torii Hunter, Justin Morneau — and consecutive seasons of playoff baseball, followed by consecutive seasons of losing baseball. A winning season returned in 2015. So here we are. Go Twins.