The Phillies 2009 payroll has skyrocketed after a 2008 World Championship has them flying high. With about $104 million dollars last year to play with, 2009 will bring an additional $27.5 million in, giving the Phillies around $131.5 million dollars. This still pales in comparison to the $222.2 million of the Yankees in 2008 or the $143 million of the Mets, but for a team that has won its first championship in 28 years, it is not too shabby.
This kind of play money, however, brings a new level of pressure to the team to contend again in 2009. Failing to do so would be a disaster of extreme monetary proportions. New GM Ruben Amaro Jr. has done an excellent job so far in the off-season signing players, but he still has a hole to fill in the bullpen with JC Romero’s bogus 50-game suspension and this team is in desperate need of a right-handed bat. He’s got the cash, now where are the players?
In addition to filling team needs, I personally hope Amaro will add some new fan-friendly features to the ballpark. My wish list includes a play area for “big” kids, including the old “Dress Yourself as the Phanatic” area they used to have at the Vet; a water slide – it is always raining in Philly anyway; and of course, I’d like to see batting practice held outside before every game, especially Sunday’s! If they are going to bleed the fans dry by hiking prices, they can at least entertain those of us who religiously show up to the ballpark when the gates open. The last few years, BP has been seen less and less. I have had better luck at away games.
Ok, so the water slide is asking a bit much, but batting practice is FREE. And how about getting these guys out on the field to sign some autographs before the game? I mean, aside from Jamie Moyer. Again, also FREE and makes the fans very happy. And with all this money saved, Amaro can now afford that “Rent Your Favorite Player for the Day” program I have been waiting on for a decade now. I get first dibs and I call Chase Utley :O) Sorry ladies, my idea, my choice.
I have spent days thinking about this whole steroid issue and have mixed feelings on the subject, as many of us do. Of course, I do not condone drug use of any kind and really believe this abuse has not only done individual harm to the players, but has irrevocably damaged the reputation of America’s favorite pastime.
Many fans have been alienated as accusations of cheating attached to the biggest names in sports have been steadily spit out into the open.
On the point of Alex Rodriquez, I am angered, frustrated and sympathetic all at the same time. The anger and frustration are obvious. The sympathy? First, why is he being singled out? Where are the other 103 names? And then, let’s go back to 2003: Steroid use in baseball was NOT illegal at this time. And the tests that have given us this phantom list of 104 players were voluntary and supposed to be confidential with the results getting destroyed afterwards. This was a poll of players just to see what substances were being used and with what frequency. It was to assist in the development of a proper drug program. Again, I stress the word “voluntary.” Who in their right mind would volunteer for a drug test, knowing they may test positive, if they truly thought they had done anything wrong? Knowing they were not, at the time, breaking the rules that MLB had set forth, they did not shy away from the request. For this reason, I do feel a bit sorry for players on this list.
Everyone makes mistakes; some bigger than others. As fellow human beings, are we really in position to judge? Is your house clean as a whistle? Take a cue from our friend at Rays Renegade; he courageously admits to making the same mistake with performance enhancing substances. He quickly realized the error in judgment and turned his life around. He should be commended. Has A-Rod turned the same corner? He has admitted his wrong-doing and feels regret. I think we should cut him at least a little slack. Remove those 3 years from his stats when it comes time for Hall of Fame judging, if you feel you need to, and move on.
Maybe it is because I work with disabled children on a daily basis that I feel the need to forgive more easily; I see the challenges they face every day. Maybe I am just a hippie child who missed the 60’s. I cannot be sure, buy my heart is heavy right now and I do not have the strength to persecute anyone. Except maybe, Bud Selig; Mr. Selig has made a three-ring circus out of all this and failed, starting earlier on in his tenure to secure a solid drug prevention and awareness program. Education is paramount, especially with young players under tremendous pressure to succeed. MLB and Mr. Selig flat out failed; they have not gotten the job done and players and fans around the world are paying the price.
Yes, we are all responsible for our own actions. And yes, I am deeply angered and also feel betrayed by the actions of the 104 players on this list. In my eyes, they cheated. But their cheating was born of a lack of education, lack of management, pressure to win and just plain stupidity. It makes it no less wrong, and it does not take away the fact that their reputations will be tarnished forever; but let he who is without sin cast the first stone.
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