Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Player Loyalty vs. Team Loyalty

I am watching the Major League Baseball Home Run Derby and thinking about players who spend many years, or their entire careers with a team, versus going to more than one team.  The New York Yankees say that Derek Jeter is a life time Yankee http://www.new-york-yankees-baseball.com/new-york-yankees-derek-jeter.htm. I hope so.

On the other side, there is Ted Williams, who spent his entire career with the Boston Red Sox http://www.tedwilliams.com/ .  

There are so many examples of this such as Carl Yaztremski http://www.yaz8.com/ or Mickey Mantle http://www.mickeymantle.com/

Yet, there are many players who are moved around, The obvious example is Babe Ruth http://www.baberuth.com/ , who moved from the Boston Red Sox http://boston.redsox.mlb.com/index.jsp?c_id=bos&tcid=mm_mlb_sitelist to the New York Yankee http://newyork.yankees.mlb.com/index.jsp?c_id=nyy&tcid=mm_mlb_sitelist .

Just recently, a basketball player, LeBron James http://lebronjames.com/ who was a Cleveland Cavelier http://www.nba.com/cavaliers/ basketball star, decided to move to a different team , the Miami Heat http://www.nba.com/heat/   His plan was that he and two other basketball stars, Dwayne Wade http://www.dwyanewade.com/ and Chris Bosh http://www.nba.com/playerfile/chris_bosh/  could combine to create a Championship team. 

There is merit in wanting to create a Championship team.  Who would not want to be on such a team.... So, where does team loyalty play into this, vs. playing on a winning team.

The flip side is that due to free agency and contract terms, sometimes, if is inevitable that players seek new teams, and new markets. 

I am a sentimentalist, and am very glad to see players stay with one team... But the reality is, this is a rarity, and I understand that.  But, I am a romantic, and that is a romantic notion....

However, I will congratulate LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh who are willing to take pay cuts (as if they would notice at that rarified pay scale) to join a team and make a concerted effort to win a championship... In their minds, it seems that a championship is worth losing income.  Or is it?  With a championship, there is the possibility of increased endorsements and sponsorships that can be so lucrative that they would make up for salary loss and then some... Skeptical? Maybe? True? Yes! 

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