* Major League Baseball’s minimum salary has increased this season to $490,000. For perspective–and an inkling of societal priorities: The president of the United States makes $400,000.
Then again, Speaker of the House John Boehner makes $223,500. Talk about being overpaid for playing a game.
* Erstwhile Tampa Bay Ray Jonny Gomes a Red Sox? Sure, MLB is a business, and Carl Crawford and Rocco Baldelli playing at Fenway was weird. But Rays’ uber fan-favorite Gomes? This is just counter intuitive.
* Interesting piece in the New York Times about David Price, the Rays’ Cy Young Award winner. It characterizes him as a spirited leader on a team known for its informality and loose clubhouse. It portrays him as a cheerleader who loves hijinks and Joe Maddon’s Rays’ way. He refers to ever-escalating contract deals involving a few MLB peers as “insane” and an exercise in “Monopoly money.”
But the NYT piece also underscores Price’s bottom line for a franchise that may not be able to ultimately accommodate his market value. When it comes to his next contract, he won’t be offering the Rays a hometown “discount.”
“As major league players, we’re a brotherhood,” explains Price. “We have to look out for other guys that are coming along … If we sign a lesser deal … it affects everybody, not just you. That’s something you want to take into consideration, because people have obviously paved the way for us to make the money that we’ve been making. We’re very fortunate, and we’re very grateful.”
* Who’s been advising Tim Tebow? Manti Te’o? He’s done underwear ads, he’s trivialized religion with his trademarked “tebowing” and, most recently, he accepted a speaking engagement at the notorious First Baptist Church in Dallas. Only when an uproar ensued, did Tebow react and cancel his April appearance, saying it was due to “new information that has been brought to my attention.” First Baptist is not new to controversy. Its pastor, the Rev. Robert Jeffress, is known for preaching that gay sex is sinful, Mormonism is a cult and Islam promotes violence and pedophilia. Apparently Tebow was the last one to find out.
* Naming rights can often be a double-edged sword. Just ask the formerly named 1-800-Ask-Gary Amphitheatre. Now, thanks to a $6-million gift, the football stadium of the Boca Raton-based Florida Atlantic University Owls has a new name: GEO Group Stadium. Only problem: the deep-pocketed GEO Group is the nation’s second-largest prison operator. Not everyone is pleased, including those close to FAU who cringe at all those “Slammer” and “Jail House” references that are all but assured. The one most likely to stick: “OWLcatraz.” Ouch.