Midnight Madness

By Justin “The Birthday Boy” Cherot

It’s a little past 2 AM, and yet today has already been a relatively busy day.

Most importantly, at 12 AM Eastern Standard time, I became the youngest-looking 27-year-old man on the planet.  To celebrate, I tried to go see 500 Days of Summer.

The gentleman asked for my ID.  It’s a PG-13 movie.

But, I digress.  I’ve been keeping tabs on the Stephen “I’d link you but apparently ESPN has yet to deem you ‘link worthy’ Strasburg situation.  For the past 36 hours we’ve been trapped in this web of “will he, won’t he” garbage, garbage that I have become completely engrossed in.

Well, as you’ve probably heard by now unless we’re the first thing you read in the morning (in which case I feel awfully sorry for you), he signed, officially becoming a member of the Washington Nationals organization. In a way, I’m disappointed, not because I’m heavily invested in the Nationals or baseball in general, but because I love drama, and Strasburg not signing would have caused plenty of it. We would have seen a plethora of “Who’s to blame?” kind of stories, and undoubtedly Scott Boras would have provided ridiculous soundbites using buzz words like “market value”, “hard ball”, and “no comment”… okay, the last one doesn’t have much drama attached to it, but if you follow the man’s work, I’m sure you just spat out a little coffee.

But, I wanted to come out of hiatus from vacation this morning not to analyze the heck out of Strausburg’s major league potential (although like Keith Law my man Justin Verlander does pop into my head in my limited exposure to S.S.), but to point something out. You ready?

Why don’t the MLB and NFL use a rookie salary scale like the NBA to avoid situations like this?

Yeah, Stephen Strausburg got paid, but when will the MLB and NFL copy the NBA's rookie pay scale?  Photo by Danny Wild/MLB.com

Yeah, Stephen Strasburg got paid, but when will the MLB and NFL copy the NBA's rookie pay scale? Photo by Danny Wild/MLB.com

Remember when Glenn Robinson thought he was worth $100 million before he played a minute in the NBA and some of the veterans got upset? Not saying that he’s single-handedly responsible for the current NBA rookie salary structure, but he at least brought it to the attention of higher-ups enough for them to say, “This is getting out of control.”

Today? Blake Griffin, the No.1 overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft, will make $4.1 million this year. Done. No questions asked. He thinks he should have gotten more? Fine. He has to prove it on the court, re-up in year three or four to max status. No need to hold-out, because according to that scale he can’t get anymore.

Compare that with football. Matthew Stafford, the NFL’s top pick in this year’s draft, set the market by getting more than $41.7 million guaranteed.  It’s one thing to be the highest paid rookie ever.  It’s another thing to have the most guaranteed money in the league without even taking a snap yet. 

Crazy, right?  That’s like me wanting a job at ESPN.com and demanding $350K a year out of college (assuming I ever finish) because I think I’m a better writer than Bill Simmons. 

(And no, Michael Crabtree, that wasn’t a diss to you.)

Back to Strasburg, though. This isn’t about the money. While the deal is big money to me and you (assuming you’re broke like me), even most baseball pundits admit that it’s not an out-of-this-world deal. It’s just that, to avoid salaries escalating to the point of infinite ridiculosity, baseball and football should institute a set rookie salary scale.

Like, now.

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