The Short Game: Worth the Wait


Mike Carlson, Spear Contributor

The Opening Day festivities are underway. The smell of freshly grilled hot dogs, fresh leather, and roasted peanuts are now permeating throughout ball parks everywhere.

Say what you wish about the retirement-home-pace baseball has adopted or the fact that batters are striking out more than your average speed dater, but Opening Day will forever be one of the great days in sports.

In terms of patriotism, Opening Day is only a bang-bang play at first behind the Fourth of July.

However, one Opening Day roster snub has some questioning whether or not the pursuit of happiness is real.

America’s Lovable Losers, the Chicago Cubs, left third base mega-prospect Kris Bryant off their opening roster in hopes to gain one more year before can hit the open market.

This isn’t so bad. Bryant need only spend 12 more days in the minor leagues before the call to the bigs.

Heck, Bryant is already at Wrigley.

His corporate sponsor, Adidas, took out a massive sign across the street from the historic stadium with the words “Worth the Wait” largely plastered on for all to see. So, it’s only a matter of time before the real deal shows up.

But, why not now?

Sure, Bryant was hotter than the Arizona sun during Cactus League play and routinely made baseballs look like beach balls while at the plate, but that doesn’t justify making a terribly short-sighted financial decision.

That is, unless, you are baseball’s king of financial short-sightedness, Scott Boras. As soon as rumors started to swirl about Bryant’s season starting in Triple A Des Moines, the mega agent released a statement chastising the Cubs for their “damaging” of “the ethics and brand of Major League Baseball.”

The only “damage” being done was to Boras’s bottom line.

Lest we forget, these words are coming from the man responsible for $275 million dollar disaster that was Alex Rodriguez’s extension with the Yankees. I’m fairly certain a 211-game suspension for cheating is more harmful than holding a budding youngster out of the Majors.

Not to mention, the plethora of organization-crippling super-deals Boras has negotiated since the 80’s.

In 2011, Boras mugged the Royals of out of a $7.5 million draft day signing bonus (the second largest ever) for a prospect that would amount to a little over a bag of Cracker Jack’s in on-field returns.

What’s more, in 2012, he bullied the Pittsburgh Pirates out of future ace Mark Appel. The now-Astro was slated to head to the Steel City after being picked eighth overall. Yet, Boras wouldn’t let him unless the Pirates handed over all of their booty and then some.

Blackbeard, allow me to introduce to Scott.

Hearing Boras publicly criticize the Cubs for making a purely financial decision is like hearing Lindsay Lohan call-out Justin Bieber for a poor public image. Look in the mirror first, pal.

Besides, Cubs President Theo Epstein hasn’t started a rookie on Opening Day since he first became the GM of the Red Sox back in 2002. Bryant’s demotion in favor of one more year of productive play was a forgone conclusion from the moment he signed on the dotted line.

Make no mistake, Kris Bryant will make big money in Major League Baseball. Anyone who has the potential to launch baseballs into Lake Michigan routinely will be justly compensated.

This is not news to Epstein.

Nevertheless, this decision is the right long-term, financial choice for a club teetering on ending the longest championship dry spell in North American sports.

Bryant is the last piece of the puzzle and they’ve come too far to blow it all on one knee jerk reaction.

It’s been 108 years since the Chicago Cubs last won a World Series.

Something tells me they can wait 12 more days.