Ratto: Merry Christmas — For a few of you, and Canada too

Checking in on Bobby Bonilla Day

Ray Ratto
July 01, 2020 - 11:09 am

Merry Christmas to Bobby Bonilla. You know the story. Idiot Mets owners get bilked by Bernie Madoff, re-do the Bonilla contract so that he gets a million and change every year until the earth collapses from crappy health care even though he hasn't picked up a glove in 19 years, and blah blah blah-de-blah blah.

But that's not the only chimney slide that the fat man does on this day. He (or she, on the off-chance that a woman would take on such a ridiculous job) also brings money to Ken Griffey, Jr. And Ichiro. And Gary Sheffield. And even Bruce Sutter, although his last year on the job was 1988, for the love of God. And it will continue, because Ryan Braun and Ryan Zimmerman also get deferred payments, or will once they retire.

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It's a liquidity problem, with a side of "I'll be dead before I have to pay this off" greed, but according to some rich guys and their malignant accountants, this makes sense. How sweet, for example, would it be for Braun or Zimmerman or Bonilla to get paid by a sport that died years earlier because it doesn't know how to hold an audience?

But Baseball Christmas isn't the only one we celebrate today. It's also Canadian Christmas, at least today. Technically it's only Canada Day, their version of the Fourth Of July, but it is also the day that the National Hockey League pays out $300 million in signing bonuses to a number of players, including Toronto's Auston Matthews ($15.2M) and Mitch Marner ($14.3M), Edmonton's Connor McDavid ($13M), New York Ranger Artemi Panarin ($12M), Nashville's Roman Josi ($11M) and San Jose's Erik Karlsson ($10M) among many others.

Even more Canadian, the NHL is about to announce that the two hub cities for its planned postseason will be Edmonton and Toronto,  and the league isn't entirely cheerful about it. It wanted Las Vegas, but what it got was a city that couldn't manage the twin physics problems of staying six feet away from each other and wearing masks and ended up becoming a COVID City Of Distinction.

Now this may not bother Las Vegas much; even allowing for the Golden Knights' success as the team's first professional franchise, it still needs people at tables and slots rather than at rinks. Also, Billy Hill isn't going to move its casinos to Alberta any time soon. Still, losing something to Edmonton (with all due respect to Edmonton) can't ssit all that well with the science-deficient lunatics who say they want all the business they can eat on The Strip.

It also annoys the league, because in addition to the decdades-old desire to be thought of as more than just a Canadian sport, it wanted the glitz and pub of Vegas rather than the Edmonton-ness of Edmonton. Edmonton, though, cared enough to mask up a lot more assiduously than Vegas, and so did Toronto. The right to breathe on other people without a care for scientific fact and 125,000 corpses is not held as sacred in Canada, so in addition to getting the sport it likes best, Edmonton also gets to say with complete defensible comfort, "We like our lungs and not being dead more than America." It may not fit on a T-shirt, but it has it's own wordy ring to it.

Anyway, Merry Christmas Bobby Bonilla and Griff and Ichiro. And Merry Christmas Auston and Connor and Mitch. And Merry Christmas Canada. America? Chew on today's chunk of coal. You ordered it, you're going to eat it and pay for tomorrow's trainload, too.

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