Friday, October 14, 2011
Dear Prince and Albert, please stay
Dear Prince and Albert, please stay
By Bill Glauber of the Journal Sentinel
Oct. 13, 2011
Dear Prince and Albert:
Stay right where you are.
Don't mess up the best thing you're ever going to have in baseball.
Think twice before taking the money and running out of town. In fact, think about taking what money you can and remaining in Milwaukee and St. Louis.
You'll end up local heroes.
You helped two often-overlooked Midwestern cities, Milwaukee and St. Louis, climb on to a big stage in the National League Championship Series.
Prince, it's hard to imagine the Brewers without you or you without the Brewers. (You even played in Beloit to get here.)
Albert, the same goes for you. You're a Cardinal, through and through, so steeped in the team's history you don't want to be nicknamed El Hombre because of your respect for Stan "The Man" Musial.
These last few days, every time one of you comes up to the plate or makes a great play in the field, a lot of us have this nagging feeling that we're seeing the end of an era instead of the middle of a long-running sporting epic.
As free agents, which you'll both be during this baseball winter, you'll be considering deals of a lifetime.
Teams on both coasts will surely be calling your agents.
And a certain franchise in Chicago, which a lot of fans in Milwaukee and St. Louis loathe, may figure in this off-season race, too.
To be honest, few rational people are really going to begrudge you leaving the Brewers or the Cardinals for perhaps hundreds of millions of dollars elsewhere.
Unless, of course, either of you signs with the Chicago Cubs. Then, it might get a little personal.
This isn't your fault, though.
It's just baseball.
Football pretty much has this sort of problem worked out. You think Aaron Rodgers is going to leave Green Bay, anytime soon?
He is the Packers. And NFL rules and revenue-sharing make sure it stays that way.
And, if you're seeking guidance from pro basketball, look no further than LeBron James' move from Cleveland to Miami.
That's sure working out well.
Baseball is different. No one wants to go back to the old days, before free agency, when players were tied to teams forever. But in the modern era, baseball economics all but catapult the game's biggest free agents to the biggest-spending teams whose revenue dwarfs what other teams, like the Brewers, can command.
Just because a team spends a lot of money doesn't guarantee a championship, of course. But it's a whole lot easier to lure talented ballplayers to places like New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago and a bunch of clubs in California.
Sometimes a move works out. Reggie Jackson won championships with the Oakland A's. He became something larger, the straw that stirred the drink, playing with the New York Yankees.
But in a lot of cases, switching teams provides just a boost in pay and a lot of heartache. Seriously, imagine what it's going to be like for those members of the Boston Red Sox, after their implosion this season? Think those fans are going to be a little upset next spring when the high-priced talent takes the field?
There's a lot to be said about going old-school and sticking with your old teams through thick and thin. A couple of old shortstops, Robin Yount in Milwaukee and Cal Ripken Jr. in Baltimore, became emblems for their cities.
They showed that there can be a long-term payoff from investing in one town and being a hero in that city for a lifetime.
Of course, it's not all on your broad shoulders. Your teams are going to have to show loyalty - and money.
Mark Attanasio, the Brewers' principal owner, comes from the investment world. Surely, if there's a will, there has to be a creative way for him to structure a deal. The same goes for the Cardinals.
Prince, you belong in Milwaukee.
Albert, you belong in St. Louis.
Stay, and they'll be erecting statues for you in front of the ballparks.
All the very best,
To read another article about the St Louis Cardinals, click here.
Posted by Brett at 11:53 AM