Hey, so do I. Hey, so do you I expect and maybe your neighbor too. I wasn't privy to the comments recently attributed to Orlando Hudson and cannot, of course, verify their accuracy one way or another. The timing, coincidence or not, seems intriguing.
Recently, the MLPA stated that it is considering action against baseball owners for collusion. It contends that this is the reason aging stars such as Barry Bonds were not offered a contract despite the fact that Bonds offered to play for a fraction of his last contract which was around $20 million per season. Players such as Frank Thomas went quietly into the night, not retiring but sitting around the house waiting for a substantial offer.
But at what point should the harsh reality that a player, once a star and maybe even a Hall Of Fame player, puts on the uniform for the last time and retires to play golf in Florida? Some of these players are of a mindset that their past glories entitle them to unlimited opportunities until they themselves make the decision to retire and not management. Perhaps they still have some skills but not those for whom management feels obligated to pay the salary of a star player in his prime. If the love of the game is so strong, accept a salary cut or even a minor league contract. Surely, they don't need money anymore. If owners are forced to bid on everyone who would like to play major league baseball...well, you can see where that might lead.
Hudson's comments suggest that aging former stars such as Jermaine Dye and Gary Sheffield are still without employment due to racism on the part of major league baseball. Hidden in his statement seems to be a resentment that he did not receive a multiyear contract during the offseason and might even go as deep as his benching over the final two months of the 2009 regular season by The Los Angeles Dodgers.
Hudson had been offered a four year deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2008, an offer which he refused, hoping to get more. Other players have taken the same gamble. Yet, this gamble is still a huge payday, one which will keep the player in luxury the rest of his life.
There can be no doubt that owners have had ulterior motives when offering or not offering a contract in the past. Barry Bonds is the perfect example of a player who is tolerated because of his skills but once age has set in and those skills have been greatly reduced, is no longer wanted by anyone.
Jermaine Dye and Gary Sheffield were offered contracts-just not the ones they might have received a few years ago. Both refused. Orlando Hudson should remember that the real world for these players at worst, is far better than the real world for the rest of us.