What’s a Millionaire to a Billionaire: A Reflection Heading Into Game 3 by Joe Frake
Tonight at 8:08 the Tampa Bay Rays will look to continue their quest to conquer a drought that has lasted over two decades.
Consequently, the Los Angeles Dodgers will seek to end a drought of their own, 32 years to be exact. The series has drawn even at 1-1, and while these teams seem to draw parallels in the sense of destiny, the roads that were taken were hardly traveled in their own right. But here sat David: a team accustomed to a low budget. A budget that mustered $23.62 million made by 32 players combined. A franchise often looked at as a farm system, blossoming players ripe for the taking by the larger-than-life franchises that have shaped baseball’s history and drive its future.
You know them. You know the markets. The budgets that billionaires get to play with can be, well, advantageous.
It’s what gets you the co-best player in the entire sport. How? With the richest contract in team history. $365 million dollars for 12 years, and there is Mookie Betts. In fact, it also gets you a pretty good pitcher extended to the small loan of $93 million dollars over three seasons. Clayton Kershaw and Mookie Betts, even with the spread of COVID-19, combined to make $26,308,641. Hardly comparable to the $63 million they were set to make before the pandemic hit, per sportscasting.com.
26.3 million vs. &23.62 million, and those numbers could not seem further apart. After dominating the New York Yankees and tearing through the American League postseason, they are challenged with one last bank safe to break into. One last heist. But part of what makes this World Series seem even more fascinating is for once, the franchise known for its efforts in architecting the game’s past time can be understood as well. While America would love to see the folk story of David slaying Goliath, and I am sure I would enjoy that outcome as much of the next, I don’t have trouble believing most people out there would also enjoy the other side of the coin: vindication. For that drought we talked about earlier that dated back to 1988, the Dodgers felt it at the tip of their fingers and that they were robbed. They were cheated. The sanctity of the game was tarnished, and the Dodgers were left with the nothing but what-ifs and a disdain for their opponent.
While the Dodgers do come into the game with -150 on the money line, and Tampa Bay fetches +135 odds (per onlinegambling.com) they boast arguably the best 5 players in this series with the likes of Mookie Betts, Corey Seager, Clayton Kershaw, and Walker Buehler, and last year’s MVP, Cody Bellinger, who’s recently erupted after a down 2020 campaign. Game 1 ended in the Dodgers absolutely trouncing the Rays, pouring in the first six runs and the final four coming in the bottom of the 5th that put the game safely away by that point. Kershaw and Betts dominated the first showing at Globe Life Field with Betts homering in the 8th en route to an 8-3 victory. The Rays, however, evened it up with Blake Snell holding Los Angeles hitless thru 4 2/3 innings, but after two runs, Kevin Cash went to “The Stable” and as Brandon Lowe hit a two-run homer the Rays went on with the 6-4 victory. The money is on the Dodgers, but it always has been. While being prided for having a great farm system and internal development of their own, they have still always had the money as a solution and a logical explanation for why they are expected to win game 3 and eventually take another big step forward towards their own eternal glory and vindication of a 32-year draught that simply cannot be cheated for much longer. But that leads us to the question: Will $26.3 million be enough to expel 28 years? Or will $23.62 be enough to pay off the debt of being what they are: a small-market franchise that has seen the cynicism of the league’s gears run its course. Talent comes, and talent goes. But to the tune of $23.62 million, they stand right at the steps that have been climbed in their 22 years in existence.
Despite the recent shortcomings of Major League Baseball and Rob Manfred appealing to new fans, this World Series matchup puts the league in good position to gain positive momentum moving forward. This series is simply bringing something that is special for this sport. In the midst of our entire world flipping right upside down, we are seeing another story for the books and an outcome that truly will lead the league in a positive direction. Maybe these two teams will need seven games to decide it, but the outcome has two stark contrasts that are appealing in their own right. What we have really learned going into Game 3, is that the league is in good hands, and can hopefully move forward positively.