Is this heaven? Baseball coming with a price tag

Because newspapers don’t come with sound effects, unless you get a paper cut, let me just tell you I’m gasping for air.

It started a few days back when I picked up the sports section of The Messenger. Oh, I read it, but I also read the comics, and those are usually in the sports section. I like reading the comics.

On March 30 the first sporty thing to catch my eye was the photo of Michigan players reacting after Trey Burke hit a three-point shot, sending them into overtime and a win. That must have been great to watch, especially if you’re a Michigan fan.

When college basketball’s Big Dance rolls around, however, it’s also spring training in baseball. March 30 was my dad’s birthday, and he loved baseball, so I felt obligated to read the story next to the fantastic finish of Michigan.

Headline: Big money deals for All-Stars.

If they’re All-Stars, I thought, they deserve big money. All this spins through my head quickly, you understand, and when my eyes hit the subhead – Verlander, Posey get $347 million combined – my head nearly exploded. I couldn’t breathe. My eyes wouldn’t focus. That couldn’t be right. My mind tried to soothe my beating heart.

But it was right, and every time I’ve thought of that since I read it, my heart skips a beat. Two beats sometimes.

Justin Verlander, pitcher for the Detroit Tigers, must be a bit more important to his team because he pulled down a seven-year deal worth $180 million. Buster Posey, catcher and first base for the San Francisco Giants, signed a nine-year deal for $167 million.

That’s obscene.


Since I can’t wrap my mind around that $180 million deal for a baseball player, let’s talk about Posey. It ain’t no flower, that’s all I can say. He might be the nicest guy around, but $167 million for playing baseball is so far out of reality good grammar goes out the window.

Because I love baseball, my husband and daughter and I often drove to Milwaukee from our home in Kimberly, Wis., to watch the Brewers play. We could do that because ticket prices weren’t unreasonably high.

That was 35 years ago. I looked up ticket prices for the Giants this year. Opening day, standing room only, $96. That’s darn near $100 to stand on your feet for three hours, give or take, to watch what always has been America’s favorite past time. Peanuts. Beer. Hot summer days. And the whack of a perfectly hit ball.

Just take a drive through small-town America in summer and you’ll always find a baseball field, and often in use, no matter the time of day. Playing ball. It’s tradition.

Players like Verlander and Posey may be great. No doubt they’re good for the game. But come on.

Still, they could have blended their chump change with Wade Boggs and his Go The Distance Baseball LLC and been part of the multi-million dollar baseball complex planned at the site of “Field of Dreams” near Dyersville.

Baseball. It’s heaven with a price tag.

So long friends, until the next time when we’re together.

Sandy Mickelson, former lifestyle editor of The Messenger, may be reached at