City Sports Report

The Parallels of Jeter and Lebron by Al Montoute



I’ll start by saying it’s all smiles until these gentlemen and others who look like them, think and function like businessmen rather high-priced hired help.  This week, the losing franchise Washington Nationals found $126 million to hand an average player named Jason Werth.  Just how many tickets can he sell?  And don’t even think about playoffs.  I’m not mad at him for taking the dough. He would be an imbecile not to take it. And his agent wants his commission.

I know Jeter is 36. Imagine calling someone “old” at 36. He didn’t hit .300 rather .270, but Jeter did get another Golden Glove. He is Mr. NY, Mr. Yankee, and Mr. Baseball. The Yankee organization for 14 years used him as the face for investors, sponsors, politicians and the like. And don’t forget he plays All-Star baseball.  He has been the company man during both good and bad times. We never saw a peek of steroids on him. He was part of the collateral to get financing to build the new Yankee Stadium. But to spit on him, make him a villian, greedy and selfish via press leaks, shows Levine, Cashman and other Yankees partners’ true colors. Jeter is the key asset that drove the Yankees stock to the over $1 billion value mark. To offer him a significant paycut= three years, $45 million, and say take it or go out to the street and see what you can get? Any man that’s not 3/5 of a man will surely have new feelings towards that group.

For the Yankees to use the press to force still a paycut for Jeter, three years=$51million = $17 million/year,  as opposed to last year, when he made $20m, I know that’s a lot of money for millions of people. But these are top entertainers. And they’re paid differently. By the way, Bloomberg gave the Yanks a 99-year tax abatement on the new Stadium. With city layoffs and cutbacks, we could use those billions. But that’s another story.

Just this past summer everyone turned on LeBron because he went to the Miami Heat. Of course I would have liked him to come to the New York Knicks, but after seven loyal years he went to Miami.  Within two seconds. Owner Dan Gilbert wrote a sickening letter about LeBron. It proved that after seven years of low pay and loyalty, Gilbert never liked or respected LeBron. Remember rookies get a low fixed rate salary for the first four yrs. LeBron got a bump for the last three. He never went on “strike” demanding to be paid as the best or second-best player in the world. Cleveland was at the bottom of the barrel before LeBron’s arrival. Millions were generated for both the Cavs and Cleveland during his tenure. I watched his return to Cleveland last week.  The fans should be ashamed of themselves with the signs, shirts and booing, but LeBron blew them away. I couldn’t stand hearing those “small men” sportscasters keep saying LeBron should apologize. What fools. Two vital and essential points to the LeBron story no one talks about? Hear it here. Upon watching the documentary movie on LeBron, he mentions that he and his mother were thrown out by the marshals 12 times. This guy went through hell growing up. He does not owe anyone anything. Two years ago, owner Dan Gilbert suckered the Chinese into buying up to 25% of the Cavs’ stock. Businessman Gilbert knew there was a chance he could lose LeBron, so he hedged and received his insurance money upfont to cover losses if LeBron left. No one talks about this, but since LeBron, who has Warren Buffet’s direct number, functions as a businessman rather than a flunky and breaks tradition. He is considered the pariah.

Getting back to Jeter. LeBron is 26.  If he didn’t make his moves under 30, the results will mirror Jeter or worse. Keep being the best Lebron.

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