Musings: The Stanton Sweepstakes

By Dick Flavin
Boston Red Sox Poet Laureate
and New York Times Best Selling Author

THE STANTON SWEEPSTAKES

So it’s he dreaded Yankees with whom Giancarlo Stanton has cast his lot. At least the
waiting is over.
Now we can concentrate on all the reasons the deal might be a disasterous one for the
Bad Guys from the Bronx rather than dwelling on a what a great player he is if he had
signed with the, say, Red Sox. We can also expect an avalanche of free agent signings in
the coming days.
Those signings had all been held up because it is traditional to wait to see what happens
with the biggest name on the market, who this year happens to have been Stanton, even
though he was not a free agent. Stanton is already signed for the next ten years at the
bargain price of a low, low 295 million big ones. He was signed to that deal by the Miami
Marlins who soon realized there was no way they could afford to pay him what they had
promised, resulting in their putting him on the trading block. But here’s the rub, or one of
the rubs; part of Stanton’s stupefying deal is that it contains a no-trade clause, meaning he
could virtually dictate to which team he’d be traded. Thus began the slow mating dance
with various teams around the American and National leagues while the whole baseball
world watched and waited. They waited because it’s the traditional thing to do. That’s the
way baseball has aways done it.
Tradition is a powerful thing. For example, it’s traditional with me that, when putting on
my pants in the morning, I always step in with the right leg first, then the left. I’ve been
putting my pants on that way for years and I don’t expect to change. If you ask me why I
follow that ritual my answer is simply that’s the way I’ve always done it. It’s tradition.
This has absolutely nothing to do with trading Giancarlo Stanton to the New
YorkYankees but you’re the one who seems to be obsessed with how I put on my pants.
It’s none of your business -- not the Stanton trade, my pants.
Just a few days ago the Giants and the Cardinals were said to be the front-runners in the
Stanton sweepstakes but Giancarlo apparently jilted them when their romancing
progressed beyond the ear-nibbling stage. He had a crush on the Dodgers, it was said, but
the Dodgers hesitated over the expense. It says something when the biggest spendthrifts
in baseball come down with a case of sticker-shock. Then the Yankees swept in to
capture the prize, or get saddled with the albatross, one or the other.

Then there is also the case of Shohei Ohtani, Japan’s star pitcher who is also a hitter (or
is it star hitter who is also a pitcher?) who decided the other day to sign with the Los
Angeles Angels of Anaheim (or is it the Anaheim Angels of Los Angeles?). He wasn’t
going to sign with the Red Sox in any case, so who gives a damn?
Meanwhile the other teams have been waiting, checkbooks in hand, to sign free agents
for many years and at ungodly rates of pay. At stake is the coveted “Winner of the Off-
Season” title, which has about as much to do with the real season as the way I put on my
pants in the morning. By the way, at night, when putting on my pajamas, I also go right
leg first. Consistency is a virtue. Where was I? Oh yes, the Winner of the Off-Season
title. Three years ago the Red Sox won that title when they signed both the immortal
Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez to muli-year contracts, then proceeded to romp and
stomp their way into last place in the regular season. At least Hanley is still playing, but
Pablo will be collecting his millions for all of 2018 and 2019, with the checks forwarded
to some gated community of multi-million dollar homes. One hopes that he at least
reimbursed the club for that belt he exploded while swinging at a pitch two years ago.
But getting back to Giancarlo Stanton and his contract, he’ll be getting paid
approximately 30 million bucks a year for the next ten years. If he plays in an average of
150 games per year, which is not likely since he’s only done that twice in the first eight
years of his career, he’ll be paid at a rate of $200,000 dollars per game. Based on an
average of 4 at-bats per game, that’s $50,000 per at-bat for ten years. If you go to a game
in 2027 and see an old guy named Stanton ground into a double play, that might be a
disappointment to you but it’ll be 50 grand in the bank for the old guy. That’s a good deal
for Stanton but is it worth it for the Steinbrenners? Let’s hope not.
On the other hand – dare I say it? – if the Yankees win a bunch of championships maybe
it is worth it. It’s not gentlemanly to wish for bad things to happen to anyone, even a
Yankee, so let’s leave it at this: Semi-good luck to Giancarlo Stanton.
And, if you must know, when taking my pants off at night I step out of them with my left
leg first, then the right. First in, last out, just the way I’d go to barrooms in my younger
days.