Much has been said about civilization’s decay in this blog, focusing mainly on social reality and how we view ourselves first and then the goals of our society second. There is no more obvious a place to look for this phenomenon than in the idea of entitlement.
Wealth is a touchy subject, because wealthy people in America typically give to charities yet close themselves off from society, as they simply can’t walk around talking about what they have with the working class folks. Working class folks resent the rich in our society, and since everyone is “free”, the wealthy can be reviled openly, even though in some respects they make and break people like us each day.
In this country, we are “free” to pursue the goal of endless wealth (or the appearance thereof), and yet those who achieve it are pressured to give it back once they have it. This can be seen as an effect of entitlement in our society: you have it, I want it, so give it back – if not to me, then maybe to the poor guy down the street. As long as you lose some of your wealth and someone else gains. Anyone who knows simple economic game theory realizes what’s going on here:
During the physical examination standard for a player signing such a huge contract, doctors informed the Cardinals of a possible issue with the vision in Mateo’s right eye. The team sent him to specialists, but definitive answers were elusive. With the 90-day window to void the contract approaching, the Cardinals acted swiftly Tuesday night.
They swooped in and took money from a blind kid.
Mateo, in the meantime, continues to train. Mercedes wants him to forget about the Cardinals. It is not that easy. He is 16. His family remains impoverished. St. Louis provided him the gateway out.
As Brett recently pointed out, the media nearly always contorts and twists facts to suit the agenda of individualistic entitlement. It’s no different here.
Say what you want about professional baseball – it’s certainly not a pretty business. In the article, there are undertones of, “he’s a poor kid from the developing world who was looking for a payday, and the Cardinals shut him out! How dare they!”
To echo the sentiments of many a recently traded NFL player: “It’s a business”. This is true. The St. Louis Cardinals are out to make money, and the baseball union has forced guaranteed contracts on ownership, so the Cardinals need to be careful to whom they hand out this kind of money, as it’s a sunk cost as soon as it hits the books. The fact that they even had to justify pulling from the contract by stating it was within a 90-day window is insanity.
Consider what, exactly, the St. Louis Cardinals owe this person? Nothing. This kind of thing happens all the time in sports: X-rays are taken, physicals are done before trades are complete, and if the team sees something it doesn’t like, it either pays the player less or doesn’t pay him at all. Such occurrences should hardly be surprising to the player; after all, consider the kind of money these people make for playing a game. How can one blame the St. Louis Cardinals for going the conservative route and playing it safe when there is an issue with this prospect’s eye? How bad should people feel for him, knowing that he will probably get a $1million signing bonus instead of a $3.1million signing bonus now?
Since the Cardinals rake in ticket money from the very fans who cry foul at this kind of thing, they’re expected to give it away. This, even though if the Cardinals made it their business to bail out the entire country of the Dominican Republic instead of focusing on baseball, the franchise wouldn’t survive for very long. Mr. Mateo was owed that money, the logic goes, because the Cardinals dangled it in front of him and his parents are “impoverished”.
So once again, the wealthy entity here is the bad guy in the eyes of the media, and Americans soak it up because we can’t imagine living like Mateo nor can we imagine losing a winning lottery ticket. In the process of attempting to make everyone equal, we forget that these wealthy entities serve certain functions in society, and not all of them can give all their money away to whoever wants it.
I’d much rather meet the American volunteer who’s helping build houses and teach children in Costa Rica, then to meet this Mateo character or his parents. Baseball is a dirty game in the Dominican, as all accounts of steroids over the past decade or so have proven, and it’s likely that, sixteen years ago when the Mateos had this child, they had it in their minds the whole time to try developing him into a baseball player for an easy out all along. Whether these were their actual intentions, we’ll never know, but heart of gold or not, it doesn’t change the fact that Mateo is only owed what the market perceives to be his value for throwing a baseball. Take that away from him, and what does he have? Apparently nothing, which is too bad, because there’s a lot more to live for than baseball.