Retirement – And Getting Paid For Not Working…

MLB teams have been playing for 3 months in 2021; the season is almost half over.  As I have done on the first day of previous months, I want to present some cumulative numbers regarding MLB’s Injured List.  So, for the first 3 months of the 2021 season:

  • 566 different players have spent time on the Injured List
  • 327 of those players were pitchers
  • Those players spent a cumulative total of 20,431 days on the Injured list.  (Average stay on the IL is 36.1 days.)
  • Players have collected a total of $381,728,917 while on the Injured List.  (Average salary collected is $674,433)

If you want to slice and dice this data in some different ways, here are some more data:

  • The Houston Astros have paid the most money to players on the IL ($21.0M).
  • The KC Royals have paid the least money to players on the IL ($1.5M).
  • The NY Mets and the San Diego Padres have both placed the largest number of players on the IL (14 different players).
  • The Boston Red Sox and the Oakland A’s have both placed the fewest players on the IL (4 different players).
  • The San Diego Padres’ players on the IL have spent the greatest number of days on that list (979 cumulative days).
  • The Oakland A’s players on the IL have spent the fewest number of days on that list (171 days).

And speaking of players being paid not to play baseball, today is – unofficially of course – Bobby Bonilla Day.  Every July 1st until 2035.  Bonilla will collect $1.19M today from the NY Mets as a deferred payment for a contract buyout in 2000.  Nice work if you can get it …

Here in the DC area, today marks the passing of an icon.  Thomas Boswell retired as of yesterday; he will no longer be writing sports columns in the Washington Post – something he has been doing for the last 52 years.  Since I have lived in the DC area for 51 years and have subscribed to the paper for all that time, I have been a more than frequent consumer of Boswell’s output.  I would break down his columns into 3 categories:

  1. When he was writing about baseball – either the local team or the sport itself – he was as good as there was.  He loved baseball and he recognized parts of the game that were not apparent to me.  He educated and he entertained paragraph by paragraph.
  2. When he was writing about the local NFL team, he provided an important service to the reader.  He did not spend his time focused on a single aspect of a game or a “key turning point” in the last game; he offered insight and opinion into something larger and more relevant to the team or the league itself.  However, I never got the sense that he loved football nearly as much as he loved baseball.
  3. When he was writing about any other sport, the prose was excellent, and the insights were still there.  However, I always got the sense that he would have preferred to be writing about a baseball topic, but the boss said he needed a column on whatever today’s subject was.

The Washington Post has had some excellent folks write columns over the years including Richard Justice, Dave Kindred, Tony Kornheiser, Shirley Povich and Michael Wilbon.  Thomas Boswell can now take his place in that table of Post alumni in a seat of honor.

Currently, the sports staff at the Post has Kevin Blackistone, Jerry Brewer, Sally Jenkins and Barry Sverluga as its lineup as columnists.  I follow and I enjoy all four of those journalists; at the same time, I have to say that the four of them have a large void to fill with Boswell’s retirement.

Bonne chance, Thomas Boswell…

The debacle of the European Soccer “Super League” has had an interesting bit of fallout.  One of the teams that intended to break away from UEFA to participate in the Super League was Liverpool from the English Premier League.  The team was obviously surprised by the vehement opposition of its fanbase to the club’s intention to be part of that renegade league and the folks who own the club – Fenway Sports Group – clearly saw a need to mend a lot of fences.

The owners have agreed to have fans represented on the Liverpool Board of Directors and Fenway Sports Group has pledged to pay any costs or fines levied against the Liverpool Club itself and not charge those costs to the club.  The team fan club will create a Supporters’ Board which will meet with club officials periodically and the chairman of the Supporters’ Board will attend the main Board of Directors meetings to assure fan interests and thinking are represented.

When I first read about this, I thought it was clever window dressing manufactured by a communications specialist on staff.  However, the club is also adding to the Liverpool articles of association a written agreement with the fan support group – the Official Liverpool Supporters Trust – assuring that fan representation on the teams Board of Directors will survive even in the event of the sale of the team by Fenway Sports Group.  It will be interesting to see how this amalgamation works out and if it provides a model for other sports franchises.

Finally, since I mentioned Thomas Boswell’s retirement above and having been happily retired for 20 years now, let me offer a couple of things relative to that situation:

  • Being retired is like having two six-month vacations every year.

And …

  • A great thing about retirement is that Fridays are no longer the best day of the week.

And …

  • I don’t want to.  I don’t have to.  You can’t make me.  I’m retired.

But don’t get me wrong, love sports………