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Million dollar madness

By: Jim Linsdau, Sports Editor
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Giants win! Giants win! Let the celebration begin.

It was indeed a remarkable performance by the San Francisco Giants to battle back to win both the National League division and championship series and then sweep the World Series.

After falling behind Cincinnati 2-0 in the division series – in San Francisco no less – the Giants went to Cincinnati and swept the Reds in three games. Then, after going down 3-1 to the St. Louis Cardinals, the Bay Area Boys again found their stride to defeat the Red Birds 4-3.

The 4-0 sweep of Detroit was simply the icing on the cake.

As I watched the final innings of Game 4, I couldn’t help but marvel at the amount of money Detroit spent for that center stage humiliation. What stood out for me was when Giants’ pitcher Jeremy Affeldt struck out the Tigers’ side in the bottom half of the eighth inning. I couldn’t help but wonder what the Motor City paid for that.

The first to go, of course, was Miguel Cabrera. The American League MVP who did have an impressive season this year. He hit .330 with 44 home runs and 139 runs batted in. For that, he will be paid $21 million this season, and next year as well. His pay goes up to $22 million in 2014.

Then came the 275-pound first baseman Prince Fiedler, who was not much of a prince that cold and wet Sunday night in Detroit. Fielder turned up his nose up at a home-run ball to also go down on strikes. For that, he will receive a cool $23 million.

Fielder did hit .313 this season and put 30 hits into the bleachers. It was the first time he broke .300 since entering Major League Baseball in 2005.

The last to disappoint Detroit fans was Delmon Young. He did try to hit the ball but without much success. However, to be fair, Young will be paid less than $7 million for his efforts.

Perhaps the irony in all this, Affeldt gets paid $5 million this year.

Let it be known, I do not begrudge ball players being paid these enormous sums of money. MLB brings in billions in revenue and the guys who play the game are the reason. Like million-dollar movie stars, they get paid big bucks just to participate even if the show turns out to be a flop.

A baseball coach, and friend of mine, once told me baseball is the only sport where a player gets paid millions of dollars to fail 70 percent of the time.

That does demonstrate just how hard it is to hit a leather ball less than 3 inches in diameter and traveling at 95 mph with a stick of similar width. Go to a batting cage and try it sometime, but don’t hurt yourself – the humiliation notwithstanding.

Baseball is a great game and the World Series perhaps one of the greatest sports spectacles on the planet. In truth, the money only reflects what a country can afford to spend on a favorite pastime and the dream of virtually every young boy.