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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

To what would you have your kids aspire?

SoldiersBack when I was growing up, I remember wanting to be a soldier so I could kill Nazis and Nips ... nobody told me they made cars, computers and TVs! Over the years, I've been indeed fortunate to have many Germans and Japanese include me among their friends.Teacher-Pilot-Farmer At different times, I wanted to be an Engineer so I could blow the steam engine's mighty whistle ... farmer, cowboy, fireman, policeman, teacher, doctor, test pilot, explorer ... I wanted to be all them too! Mayor HartsfieldUnfortunately, Mama made me take dancing lessons and study hard ... 'cause she wanted me to be the Mayor of Atlanta or President of the United States! Daddy said to be honorable in all that you do and always strive to be the very best ... but, be satisfied if you are the very best that you can be! I became an actuary ... Kids is different and time changes 'bout everything ... including that to which they aspire ... and, what their folks want for them too, methinks.
If you're a parent what had your druthers, to what would you have your kids aspire? If you're a kid what's still aspiring, please excuse my misuse and abuse of our language and tell us what you want to be!
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Surgeon salariesAll on the list pay a fair wage for an honest days work!
As you might have guessed, doctors do pretty good financially as a group ... as they rightfully should, healing folks and such ... especially surgeons.
Of course, you might want to consider Sports ... I don't know what they do to earn it but the Commissioners don't do too bad neither! Don't have the 2009 numbers but here's the skinny for 2007.
Sports Commissioners - 2007 Salaries ($ Millions)
SportCommissionerSalary
MLBBud Selig18
NFLRoger Goodell11
NBADavid Stern10
NHLGary Bettman6
PGATim Finchem5
Just drink your milk and don't worry about the "Cream" ... it'll cure what ails you kid. Forget your homework, go work on fielding them grounders and hitting sliders! Alex Rodriguez makes but about $200,000 per game, based on 162 ... rookies make less. Hitting sliders ain't everything kid ... drink your milk ... Roger Clemens started 17 games in 2007, going 6-6 with a 4.18 ERA ... think he made about $1.05 million per start! Some brain surgeons make $10,000; maybe a bit more ... for an especially long, difficult and delicate operation ... think about it!
Well Alex and Roger may be special cases ... not many make more than the Commissioner, it wouldn't be fair! And like other jobs, they labored long and hard ... paid their dues!
2008 Amateur Draft - Top 25 signing bonuses ($ Millions)
6.206.156.006.004.55
3.503.473.002.602.30
2.071.911.841.781.75
1.731.701.571.541.50
1.481.501.421.381.35
It all starts with the "Amateur Draft" and then they have to work their way through the Minor Leagues ... a tough road to hoe, much the same as a doctor, accountant or lawyer ... only a little different. The signing bonuses for 10th round picks (293-322) averaged $140,000. Imagine starting off your career with a million or 6 in your pocket ... The MLB Minimum Player's Salary is now $400,000 per season ... same as the annual salary of the President of the United States of America! Our Supreme Court Chief Justice makes $217,400. Congress' rank and file make $174,000, with party leaders getting $193,400, topped by the Speaker of the House's $223,500. Bud SeligNot sure, but I think that salaries in the armed services top out at about $20,000 per month for the Joint Chiefs' Chairman ... privates make less.
Senate Bud Selig's salary is over 45 times that of the President of the United States ... that's more than all 100 U.S. Senators combined! I love the Grand Old Game ... but this insanity has become far more that an issue facing baseball ... WHAT SAY YOU?! Well, whatever your aspirations ... for yourself, your children or theirs ... I hope it encompasses and supports Daddy's three notions! Be Honorable ... strive to be the best ... be satisfied with being the very best you can be! I hope too that you'll enjoy the grand old game for what it was intended to be, not the big business it's become! Barbershop BOB

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Defining Improvement and Asking Questions

Like everyone else, I want the Braves back where they belong, in the playoffs. And while I won't give up until they are mathematically eliminated, it is a long shot for this year. But take a look at this:
2006: 79-83 (3rd)
2007: 84-78 (3rd)
2008: 72-90 (4th)
2009: 76-68 (3rd) with 18 games to play
Let's say the Braves make a strong final push, going 12-6, but not making the playoffs. That finish puts them at 88-74, and 2nd in the East. That is an improvement of 16 games over last year, and while 2B and offense in the outfield still need to be addressed, I think we can consider this season a minor success, and a great improvement over last year. On the other hand, if we give up and go 6-12, everyone will see the final numbers (82-80), the season would be viewed as a failure.
Regardless of whether or not we make the playoffs, we can learn some things about this team in the season's final weeks.
Can Kelly Johnson prove to be a serviceable MLB player? If so, he can have the 2B job back and Prado can stay in the super-sub role. We could also make Infante available for the right trade. If not, we non-tender KJ and save approximately. $4 mil that he would earn in arbitration. "Okay, Lord, which of us get the job?"
Will Tim Hudson sign an extension to stay in Atlanta longer, albeit at a lower salary?
If so, then we must address who in the rotation must go. Ideally, Kawakami would be traded either to the Red Sox, Mariners, or Dodgers, where large Asian fanbases are already present and where we'd get a decent prospect in addition to salary relief.
How will the outfield play out? With Anderson likely out the door (which reminds me, do we offer him arbitration as a Type B Free Agent?), Diaz and Church have the opportunity to show the Braves which one deserves to stay (I keep Diaz). For next year, we can hope Schafer has recovered and is ready to man centerfield, or we can go get a stop-gap until Heyward is ready (Bobby Abreu or Xavier Nady-type players). When J-Hey arrives, put him in right (Diaz can spell him as needed), Schafer in center if he is ready, and Mclouth in left. If Schafer isn't ready, platoon Abreu and Diaz in left, Mclouth in center, and Heyward in right. I could live with that.
Which of the closers will we keep, if either? I don't know how much we can learn in these last few weeks, but if the Braves decide to keep one, I'd choose Gonzalez. His passion and desire more than make up for his occasional mistakes. I'd rather have a closer who is a little too passionate than one who looks like he couldn't care less and is as brittle as an old lady. I would offer Soriano arbitration, though, since he's likely to take a deal elsewhere ... at least then we'd collect the two draft picks (he is a Type A Free Agent). I'd look at making Gonzo the closer, with Moylan sharing some of the duties, putting Medlen in the setup role (where I think he could dominate), and go from there.
Just a few items to discuss - I'd love to hear your responses. ...Matthew