August 15, 2002
On NPR Monday morning, I heard a Seattle Mariner saying, as justification for why the players need to be paid more and might strike over the issue, “We deserve to be compensated for the talents God gave us.” If my radio had a sanctimonious sensor, it would have gone to red alert. I’ve tried to forget about it, but it keeps popping back up in my brain, annoying me. No matter how many times I repeat this statement to myself, I can’t see it as anything but an attempt to clothe a whine about being underpaid in undeserved righteousness. I’m pretty sure there’s no Bible verse that reads “Thou shall make generous offerings unto the man who can hit .300”. And even if the “we deserve more money because God likes us” logic held true, what about the owners? Shouldn’t they be compensated for the skills God gave them? Or is owning a baseball team reward enough? Maybe the owners are from the devil. (Given the whole owner/commissioner for life setup they’ve got going on, that may merit further investigation.)
I have no problem with people being rewarded for what they do, and being rewarded more handsomely if they do something that few people can. I do have a problem with involving God in a labor dispute, at least one outside of a religious setting. (And no, despite the mythology of baseball in America, it is not a religion.) God is a not a party to the baseball negotiations, nor should He be, unless there’s some way to compensate Him for the talents directly. Maybe God could get a PayPal account, and the players could be contractually obligated to send him specific amounts for each base hit they are blessed with, plus bonuses for postseason play.
Maybe NPR didn’t air the part of the interview where Mr. God Wants Me to Be a Millionaire went on to talk about the good causes he was going to support with his riches, but the cynical voice in my head says there wasn’t a part like that. If you’re going to go the God route, you need to be humble, and saying you deserve a raise when you already make more in a year than many people will in a lifetime is just not humble. If you’re going to be greedy, be greedy; if you’re going to argue supply and demand, go for it, just don’t drag God into your quest for personal riches and glory.
I’m going to consider this my RantyPants entry for the August Journal PantsDown. Normally, I’m pretty cranky (see this entry for a few examples of the many things which annoy me), but it’s summer, and I’m trying to stay mellow.