Wednesday, February 16, 2011

02/16 Quickie: Pujols, Heat, More

I'm on a hot streak with my birthdays.

Last year, I spent my birthday on an airplane traveling across the country to see a billionaire about a really interesting company I wanted to start.

That didn't work out -- which was fine -- but the past year has seen me found, build and launch a new company, the result of which is that I'm spending my birthday thinking about Albert Pujols.

(It also happens to be that my 2-year-old younger son had to stay home sick from daycare today, so I'm spending my birthday operating Quickish and hanging out with him -- I'll take it.)

But back to Pujols: If I'm Albert, it's not unreasonable that I want to be paid like the best baseball player in the world -- and one of the Top 20 (Top 10?) players of all time. I love St. Louis and want to spend my career there, but if the gap between the Cards and the market is big (and it probably will be, both in duration and average annual pay), I have to explore it.

And if I am the Cardinals?

I pay him.

I offer him the $30M a year for the next 8 years -- their previous offer was 7 years, for a lot less than $30 a year. If he wants 10, I think it's reasonable to ask that he take a bit of a haircut on those last two years.

I do it because Pujols IS my franchise. I do it because he is one of the greatest baseball players of all time, and I want that as part of my team. (I'll hire a bunch of savvy marketers to ensure that we are making it clear to everyone that he is a living legend, to wring every last sales dollar from him -- Pujols has to be comfortable with that. He is a Vegas show. I'm creating the Albert Pujols Channel on YouTube and turning him into a single-handed must-see phenomenon.)

But I do whatever I need to do to keep him. That's easy to say: It's not my money. (As a business owner, I'm totally empathetic to keeping an eye on the P&L statement.) But this isn't Ryan Howard or Mark Teixeira or Prince Fielder.

This is Albert Freaking Pujols -- the greatest living baseball player. (Ironic, given that Stan Musial got the Presidential Medal of Freedom yesterday.) Pujols is superlative in ways that rarely come along in sports, let alone baseball. And you pay for that. You have to.


Lance Armstrong retires: Speaking of one of the greatest athletes in history. His career will always have a cloud over it, but he is the rare athlete who has maintained a defiance, taken plenty of tests and stayed out of trouble. He's untouchable. That by itself is all-time.

Do you believe Bernie Madoff when he says the Mets owners didn't know about his Ponzi scheme? Why would you?

Hickory wins Westminster, becoming the first Scottish Deerhound to win the title: Chalk one up for novelty!

Must-see video: D-Wade to LeBron on a 90-foot alley-oop.

CBB: George Mason crushes VCU. Is GMU, winners of 12 in a row, prepping for a Cinderella run a la 2006?

More later. Please check out Quickish. Have a great day. I have children's educational TV programming to tee up on the DVR...

--- D.S.

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