Posted by: mesabimisadventures | September 13, 2009

“Put me in coach, I’m ready to play today” – John Fogerty

The young man kicked at the sand in the dugout with the toe of his cleat and looked over.  “Put me in Coach, please.  I can’t handle sitting on the bench.  I’ve been picking out slivers here since May.”

The coach glanced away.  “Sorry kid.  You’ll be riding the pine until April.”

“But Coach, I don’t understand.  I’m just as good as those other guys on the field.  In fact, I play just as well as them but cost the men with the pocketbooks less money.  No disrespect sir, but why aren’t you using me instead of them and saving some cha-ching?”  The slugger was calm on the outside, but nervous on the inside.  Would he get to play again come springtime?  Would his arm still be strong, his reflexes quick?  Would everything come together for him or would he have lost some of his skills with this idle time? 

“It’s not about your skills kid, it’s just economics.  The team doesn’t need your homeruns right now.  We’re winning the game with the players we have out there.  Hell, we aren’t even needing a full team to win, how pathetic is that?  Last year we needed our whole team and we could have used more players!   Those men with the pocketbooks kid?  Well, those men have to pay your teammates whether or not those guys even step onto the field.  It’s in their contracts.  So whaddya’ think kid?  If you had to pay someone whether or not they played, you’d play them and get your money’s worth.  In your case, they don’t have that contract with you.  So since they don’t need you to play right now, you sit on the bench.”

The player nodded with a resigned sigh.  “I understand Coach.  When the teams we play against start getting a little tougher than they have been, you’ll need me again and I’ll be back in the field where I belong.  I was built to play, but I guess it’s best that I rest up for now and build my skills up so that when you do need me again I’m even stronger and faster than I was before.  I’ll do my best to be happy for my teammates getting to play.  At least someone is still playing, but damn, I can’t wait until I’m back out there.”

And that’s why a certain Mine on the Range sits idle until April.  Contractual agreements like pay-or-play contracts in professional sports.  It’s not about quality or a conspiracy theory.  Just economics.  As for the other kid still sitting on the bench?  Nobody seems to know when that kid’ll get to play again.  Here’s hoping for the all of the fans that these benchwarmers get back in the game soon.

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