There's a headline in today's New York Times that reads, "Pitcher Spurns $12 Million, to Keep Self-Respect." I thought it was an article about Cliff Lee, who took less money from the Yankees to play in Philadelphia. I thought I was going to read some story about why Lee didn't pick New York or how rude the fans are or something.
Instead, I read a story that I had to read twice to make sure I was reading a real newspaper and not The Onion. Gil Meche, a pitcher for the Kansas City Royals, has been injured a lot lately and decided he'd rather retire from baseball than keep taking money for a job he isn't doing. He was supposed to be paid $12 million this year but it was likely he'd miss a lot of starts or just pitch in relief. So Meche said no thanks.
I'm always hearing people bitching about players who make tons of money but don't produce. The article mentions a few players who stopped playing one year but didn't officially retire until later, thus collecting millions of dollars for doing nothing. Or they get "paid to sit on the bench." The Yankees are famous for paying players who don't play tons of money (I'm talking to you, Carl Pavano). But not Gil Meche. He's already made millions of dollars for his family. He's already set for life. So he did the unheard of, and classy in my opinion, thing.
Baseball players a constantly being heckled as overpaid divas. But every once in awhile, a player who doesn't fit that image comes along. Thanks, Gil. Can I call you Gil? I hope writers and fans don't think you're a fool for what you decided to do. Maybe teams will start working a "Meche Clause" into contracts.
Yeah. And maybe the Mets will win the World Series.