It has been a whirlwind week for Max Scherzer and his former team, the Detroit Tigers.
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As Max said hello to an astonishing $210 million contract with the Washington Nationals, the Tigers and their fans turned the page to a new chapter of a post-Scherzer world.
While many fans expressed relief that the Tigers were not the team on the hook for $15 million annually until Scherzer is likely well retired from the game, they still expressed the same tried and true talking points when any player leaves a professional sports team for another via free agency.
One of the most popular was it was a “cash grab.” Usually cash grabs can be related to a guy who goes from a good team to a bad team simply to collect a paycheck. This is not the case here as Scherzer is leaving a World Series contender for another World Series contender. The hefty raise is a nice, uh, bonus.
Some Detroit Tigers’ fans called Max “greedy” or that he is “only in it for the money.” That may be true, but who among us is not in it for the money?
They say that he should have taken lesser money from Detroit to show that “there is still loyalty in sports.” I am here to tell you, ladies and gentlemen, that there is NO loyalty in sports and there hasn’t been any for a very long time.
Think of it this way: You take a new job and are successful at it for five years. Your company experiences a lot of good times as well, but then it comes time to ask for a raise. Your current gig offers to double your wages while a competitor of your current company offers to quadruple your wages and set up your family financially for life.
You take that job, right? 99.9 percent of people reading this will say, hell yes. The 0.1 percent are likely angry with Max and know exactly where I am going with this.
Scherzer played with the Tigers for five seasons. He is from Missouri and had no great affinity for Detroit or their baseball team before arriving via trade prior to the 2010 season. Sure he had career years here, had success in the postseason personally and with the team, but he was given an offer he could not refuse nor any of us could refuse.
It is sometimes hard for fans to understand what these guys do is just a job. This is difficult for me to accept sometimes. I was very hard on Prince Fielder when he immediately turned the page on the 2013 season after being ousted from the ALCS. Since he is paid SO well, he should care, right? They all (well most) want to win, but watching sports you see that athletes bounce back much quicker than the fans after a very tough loss.
Does that mean we as fans care more? No, probably not, but it is just different emotionally.
You also have the group of fans who have just given up on sports. They throw up their hands in disgust and lament that “no athlete is worth that much” and I am no longer going to support baseball.
This is an interesting notion for Tigers’ fans to have after all of the free agents the team has landed since 2004, they didn’t call the new Tigers “greedy” for turning down other suitors or give up following the team because they signed a high-priced free agent.
But many of these same people who hate sports’ salaries will plunk down $200 per ticket to see their favorite band once or twice per year or pay $12 for a movie ticket to see an actor playing a role for which he was paid $20 million for six months of work.
I will miss Max Scherzer starting every fifth day for the Tigers, but I am happy he got paid (as I would be for anyone who hit the lottery) and quite frankly happy he will be playing for a National League team.
Best of luck, Max. Onward and upward.