The First and Fifteenth

Before we jump into today’s article, check out what Marc Normandin thinks should be done with Mark Bellhorn.
You, me, and any other person who is not currently playing for a major league club would pretty much give anything to do so.
We’d leave our $50,000 yearly salary jobs to pick up a glove and go out there for 162 (and more, god willing) games every night making $10,000. Making the plays in the field, hitting the cover off the ball at bat, playing the game you love for relative peanuts. That is what most minor leaguers and all independent league players do – play the game for peanuts because they love it.
But something changes once you reach the big league level. This isn’t the little game anymore that reminds you of when you were a kid and waited for your dad to come home to play catch. Gloves aren’t lovingly broken in with oil and rubbed every night, left with a ball in the glove and a rubber band around it. The clubhouse manager now breaks the glove in while you talk on your cell phone to your agent about what price to charge for an autograph at a 2-hour autograph session at Barnes and Noble the next day.
We might not want to believe it, but this applies to most major leaguers, including the Red Sox. And one man was brave (fustrated?) enough to say so on Thursday.
“I like to pitch. Honestly, what I like about closing, I love the first and 15th [days of the month]. It’s payday.”
Those were the words spoken by Keith Foulke on Thursday. Keith Foulke’s favorite part of closing is payday. It’s not shutting down the opposition or being on the mound having won the World Series or being trusted to close the game out.
It’s payday.

Foulke said he doesn’t like being in the paper or on TV, yet he makes a weekly appearance on Boston radio station WEEI.
“That’s fine,” Foulke said. “That’s more answering questions about different things. And I get a free truck. If you give me a free truck, I’ll talk to you more.”

Really? How many trucks do you have now, Keith? Let’s consider the price of trucks and your annual salary. What do you have, 500 trucks now? How is a free truck which retails at $50,000 so exciting when you get $7 million a year?
So if it wasn’t for that free truck, he’d be a clam. And if it wasn’t for payday, he’d be … where, exactly?
Bagging groceries making $50,000 a year, the truck a pipe dream, the baseball career a wasted opportunity.
I’m not saying he shouldn’t be paid or not look forward to payday. Hey, I look forward to it. But there are much worse things than earning $7 million over the course of the year to play a game where your name is known by hundreds of thousands of people and you have a shiny ring on your hand. And of course, Foulke doesn’t have my job which consists of cashing checks and alphabetizing files. Of course I look to payday, it’s why I’m working.
Foulke could do many other things and earn good money at it. He loves hockey but wasn’t good enough to play? Become a hockey sportswriter. Join a hockey front office.
He decided to go for the bling-bling that baseball brings. And you know something, I’m okay with it. More power to him. But my respect for him has lessened somewhat. All baseball fans want to hear is how baseball players love to play the game and play for the game, not the money. I had hoped that Foulke came to Boston because Theo wooed him effectively. He said he came to be a part of history, winning the World Series. Well, now we know who Boston truly has as their closer – a mercenary. Not someone who wanted to come to Boston for Boston. For the World Series ring as he said. No, he came because the money was there. No matter that the difference in money amounted to around 3-5 million dollars, it was 3-5 million more than Oakland offered.
Life will go on, and Foulke will continue coming in to nail the door. But it’s a sad day today to learn that yet another baseball player doesn’t play with passion and love because he’s playing the game, or for the teammates, or for the World Series… but for that check that comes on the first and fifteenth of every month.

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