BY: DOUGLAS J GLADSTONE -FREELANCE WRITER NWFACTS/Sports
Going to the dogs is an interesting phrase, don’t you think?
It basically means an organization or a country or a government is not doing as well, or isn’t as successful, as it should or could be.
Sometimes I think that’s the case with our national pastime.
As most readers of this blog know, I’ve spent nearly eight years going to bat for non-vested Major League Baseball players without pensions.
Because of a vesting change that occurred during the 1980 Memorial Day Weekend, about 500 men are affected. That’s 545 less than the 1,045 who were still alive in October 2009, during National Retirement Security Week.
The union representing today’s current players, the Major League Baseball Players’ Association, steadfastly refuses to divvy up any more of the pie to help these men. See, the league and the union agreed back in April 2011 to pay each retired player a princely sum of $625 per quarter for every 43 game days of service the man accrued while on an active roster, up to 16 quarters.
That’s before taxes are taken out, by the way. And when the player passes, the payment passes with him. Widows or children or other designated beneficiaries get bupkis.
How’s that for an industry that just went over the $10.5 billion mark in revenue?
I mention this because, earlier this year, I read with great interest how the California Assembly had proposed earmarking $100,000 to pay retired California Highway Patrol dogs pensions.
So I did some more research.
Did you know that Nottinghamshire police dogs receive pensions?
And German police dogs receive pensions too. (I know the link is in German, just trust me on this.)
Hey I don’t begrudge the canines the money. They do important work.
Some writers have suggested to me that the men I’m trying to help don’t deserve anything. They didn’t play long enough is one common criticism. Another is they were marginal players.
That’s just doggone wrong.
The absurdity of the situation can be seen as follows: if former pitcher Tim Wood, who played for the Marlins and the Pirates over parts of the 2009, 2010 and 2011 seasons — a guy who hurled only 58 innings in 57 career appearances — can receive a pension, then someone like Rich Hinton can.
Over parts of six seasons, Hinton, of Sarasota, Florida, appeared in 116 games and pitched 249 and two-third innings.
Just doesn’t seem fair, does it?
Like I said, our national pastime is going to the dogs.