Mauer makes money with new contract

April 5, 2010

by Jenni Sebora

Last week, I wrote about being a Minnesota twin. This week, however, I feel inclined to write about the actual Minnesota Twins.

Well, actually, I just want to focus on one player in particular, and, of course, that would be Joe Mauer. And, my true focus is his new eight-year salary – $184 million.

Home-grown Joe Mauer is arguably the best-hitting catcher in the league. His list of achievements is not debatable-some say he is the best catcher in baseball, with one of the best swings in baseball.

In fact, in 2006, Mauer became the first catcher in major league history to lead the majors in batting averages and the first American League catcher to win the batting title, finishing with an average of .347.

In 2009, he became the first catcher to lead the league in batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage. He has two Golden Gloves under his belt, and last year he was the American League’s Most Valuable Player.

His achievements certainly began much earlier, actually in preschool little league, where he was asked to be moved up because he hit the ball too hard, and he just kept going from there.

A Cretin Durham Hall graduate, he was a standout in basketball, football and baseball. As a guard, he scored 20-plus points a game. As a quarterback in high school, his throwing completion was 62 percent his senior year. He led the team to two state championship game appearances, winning in 1999. Named to the USA Today All-USA high school football team, he was also named the national high school quarterback of the year in 2001, by the National Quarterback Club.

Of course, in baseball, his achievements just continued. He set a Minnesota State High School league record and tied a national prep record for hitting a homerun in seven consecutive games. His entire high school career batting average was over .500.

Turning down a football scholarship to Florida State, he entered the Major League baseball draft being selected by the Twins as a first overall pick of the 2001 draft.

Now, who can argue with those accomplishments? These honors are to be respected, as he seems to be a very respectable athlete and person as well.

After he accepted this $184 million contract over eight years, he has promised that he will, basically, play his heart out for the team.

I guess he should. I, as a Minnesota Twins fan, and a Minnesota resident, don’t expect anything less. He is human, but the amount of money that guys like him make doesn’t seem to be in ‘human’ amounts.

Again, I am a huge baseball fan. I have played baseball/softball since I was an elementary-aged girl; I have coached little league and high school-aged softball, and I come from a family of baseball fanatics. I love baseball. However, I am also a hard working-mother, teacher, volunteer, etc. and have a hard time getting my head around the amount of money Mauer will make (even if he gets hurt the first day of his guaranteed contract.)

I just did some simple math. Take $184 million divided by eight years (length of contract), and that’s $23 million a year. Now divide that by 162 (average number of games in a season); that comes out to about $140,000 a game (Mauer actually played in 138 games last year). Divide that number by nine (innings in a game), and that’s about $15,775 an inning, which also comes out to about $44,000 an at-bat, whether he strikes out, gets walked, or gets a hit. Sounds ludicrous. (Remember that a batting average of .400 is deemed excellent in baseball, which is less than half the time a batter gets up to bat, he hits the ball. Not to say I could hit that ball going 90 mph, but I also do not make money trying it – I could however strike out six to seven times out of 10). By comparison, the president of the United States – the leader of the free world gets $400,000 a year; less than three Joe Mauer games.

I was waiting for Mauer to accept a contract early on – a Minnesota kid, who decided he wanted to spend his baseball career in Minnesota. For the love of the game, for the love of his hometown, he could settle for maybe a couple million less. And I kept waiting for the contract to get settled, but the contract negotiations lingered on. And then it was settled – $184 million over eight years – the richest contract in history of major league baseball for a catcher.

Now, one might say it was his agent, and he (Mauer) couldn’t get his agent to stop arguing for more money.

Just when is enough, enough? That is a rhetorical question.

Will I continue to watch the Twins games and cheer Mauer on? Yes, I will. I will watch the Twins games, cheer them on, and Mauer, too, and maybe continue to be in awe of Mauer’s talents – but maybe just with a little less respect.

However, maybe Mauer will devote some of his time, talents and resources to community organizations and service.

Just last week, I, and a few other teachers, took some students to Feed My Starving Children at the Chaska location to pack food for hungry children across the world. Seventeen cents will feed one child one meal. Now that puts Mauer’s contract amount in perspective.

That’s enough. There are others in other fields that make as much money and more than Mauer. It is a few that make up a majority of the world’s monetary resources.

So, I guess a congratulations goes out to Mauer and his agent for settling such a huge, maybe monumental, contract. I wish Mauer well. I can’t catch like him or hit like him. His talent, I guess, is worth millions. But really. What can one person do with all that money? Just for the sake of it getting it, I guess.