Once or twice a year, a ballplayer stares down his own agent and opts to stay with his team for far less money than he would have received on the open market. He immediately is praised lavishly as a wonderful human being.
The latest example: Jered Weaver, who told superagent Scott Boras to negotiate the best deal he could with the hometown Angels even if it cost the star right-hander tens of millions of dollars. Weaver ended up signing for $85 million over five years, probably half as much moolah as he would have gotten from the Yankees or Red Sox had he waited until he became a free agent after next season.
(Boras, who likes to squeeze every nickel out of every negotiation and wants to win the contract game, must be having palpitations over this deal.)
Said Weaver in what will be one of this year's most memorable sports quotes:
"How much more money do you need? I could have gotten more ... whatever ... who cares? If 85 million is not enough to take care of my family and other generations of my family, then you’re stupid."
If that doesn't make you want to root for this guy for the rest of his career, you're not human.
I don't blame every athlete for seeking as much money as he can get. Our society is all about supply and demand, and there is incredible demand for the very few great athletes good enough to be paid to play little kids' games. Plus, even a healthy athlete's career is relatively short. Weaver could blow out his elbow next week and never pitch again.
That being said, I'm surprised more dudes don't do what Weaver did.
Once the money gets to a certain level -- and I'd say 85 mil far exceeds that level -- it's all about ego. It's all about making more than the other guy "because I know I'm better than he is."
Well, instead of feeding his ego, Jered Weaver decided to stay where he is happy, comfortable and content.
Although he will earn more money than he ever can spend, he comes across as a class act, a loyal soldier and a good role model who gave a bargain to his team -- and, by extension, the ticket-buying public.
Talk about a win-win-win scenario.