August 1994 was a fun time to be a baseball fan. The Yanks had the best record in the American League and it looked like they were on their way to the playoffs for the first time since 1978, under Buck Showalter, now the manager of the Mets.
Heck, even the Montreal Expos were poised to make the post season for the first time legitimately (they did in 1981, but that was that wacky split season.)
But then it all happened -— the players went on strike — and somehow, the rest of the regular season and the entire post season and World Series were canceled. If you’re at least 35 or thereabout, you should remember all of this. It lasted through the beginning of the 1995 season.
I swore, then, I wouldn’t go back to rooting for the Mets or any team for that matter after 1994. But then Bobby Valentine became the Mets manager in the middle of 1996, Interleague play began the year after and like many others who swore off the sport, I was back. Then Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa happened in 1998 -— and two years later, the Subway Series. It was hard to ignore any of that, purposefully.
But now the players and owners are at odds again, the first time in 28 years, and we learned recently, the opening of Spring Training and the regular season are likely in jeopardy — and it is just unfathomable we’re at this point.
While there are a number of factors at play where the owners and players can’t seem to compromise, one facet has me irritated beyond belief — and that is, the minimum salary players may make in their entry-level contracts.
At present, players must make an annual salary of $570,500, according to ESPN. Under the new proposal, owners are offering $615,000 a year, but the players union want $715,000 yearly.
Let’s stretch this a bit. Let’s just say at the current minimum a player is paid each and every week — 52 times — at that minimum salary, it means every week’s check, in the state of New York, amounts to $6,078. Again, that’s per week — so it amounts to clearing $24,000+ a month. (New proposal from players -— they clear $7,200 a week after taxes.)
Now, I get it — rents are very high in New York City, so that salary may mean a younger baseball player might need a roommate, or God forbid, require them to live in, gulp, Queens, Staten Island or even worse, Jersey.
But seriously? Is that not enough to survive before paying your dues? I surely sound like a curmudgeon, but could you imagine, right now, if (presuming you don’t already) someone offered you a job that paid enough for you to take home $6,078 every seven days?
Maybe I am just getting old and have grown tired of greed. I don’t know for sure. But I am certain of this — if there’s a delay, even one solitary day, to the 2022 MLB season, my days of rooting will be over. And not even Showalter or Max Scherzer could change my mind on this one. — CANESSA
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Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.