The following table documents the author’s present debt, broken down by category:
I would be willing to play Major League Baseball in 2013 at the minimum salary in order to pay off this debt, but let’s assume I am lazy and that I would “retire” as soon this debt was paid off. How long would I have to play in order to do this?
The minimum Major League salary was $480,000 in 2012. My total debt — let’s round it up to $90,000 for any interest that might accrue — is about 18.75% of that salary. If we translate that to Games, it’s only about 31 games, so I should be able to retire from baseball in early May 2013. That sounds pretty good. I could be the fifth starting pitcher for some team and I might not even have to play at all if the April off days align just right. If, by chance, a fifth starter was needed, I would have a knuckleball ready, or I would dance a rain dance, or I would just kill myself, in which case the team could collect insurance, maybe, and my debt would vanish so it’d be win-win!
Or, let’s pretend I am in ~$90k in debt because I donated it to my favorite so they could spend it on the open market for a whatever marginal winnage they could get for it. Maybe thinking of my debt that way will help me bear the psychological burden of the debt.
If we expect the cost of a marginal win to be $5.25million for 2013, then I have helped the team to purchase 0.017 Wins. If we want to turn that into an equivalent player performance from 2012, we could have either 43 PA of Jordan Pacheco or maybe 2 PA/2.5 Innings of Mike Trout.
That’s pretty depressing. Then again, so is the actuality of my current financial situation, especially considering that my net income for 2012 is going to be just one-fourth of my total debt (~$22k). I’m going to need more than just a mind trick to help me deal with this, so…
Let’s take another angle. Maybe one of this off-season’s free agents will become possessed by misplaced generosity and pay off my debt for me once he signs a lucrative new contract. Zack Greinke won’t even attend your charity golf event, brah, so I won’t even bother asking him. But maybe if I tell Josh Hamilton that I’m $90k in debt because I threw the perfect party, and maybe if he gets the $100mil that FanGraphs readers are predicting for him (and there’s at least a chance he gets much more than that), he’d pay off for me. After all, it would represent just 0.09%(!) of the total contract. If he gets something closer to the contract he desires, my debt would be 0.05% of his contract, or just 4.3% of a monthly paycheck. Seriously, come on Josh. Help me recover from my financial idiocy.
Maybe that’s too much to ask of a single player. MLB as a whole created $7.7billion in revenue in 2012. Perhaps part of the market sharing strategy should be to select a fan whose debt they will pay off every year. My debt would constitute just 0.0012% of their revenue.
My oh my, baseball fans have the most powerful imaginations. Without them, probably no one would attend a Royals game ever again.