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Columns > Brian Levenson -  Head Games

Published: 2011/02/07

Grateful Heads: Let’s Get Down to the Nitty Gritty

Time to put your money where your mouth is,
Put ‘em in a field and let ‘em fight it out

I’m running so fast, my feet don’t touch the ground
I’m a stranger here, I’m going down

- “AC/DC Bag” (Phish)

Hola sports fans! Yours truly is taking to the floor today to explain a little thing called how the world works. The world of baseball arbitration that it is! Sit up and take notice, I’ll tell it like it is.

Pretend that Phish decides where you sit at the next MSG show. You get a chance to tell Phish how awesome you are and why deserve the tickets you are asking for. Then MSG tells Phish about what a bad dude you are and where they think you should sit. After hearing both sides’ arguments, Phish independently decides on what an appropriate seat is. Whoever is closer to their decision, wins. So . . .

Here’s an example:

Head: If it pleases the Phish, please take note that I have gone to every MSG show since 1994 and paid over face value for many. It’s about time I get a front row seat.

MSG: Yes, but you were thrown out of several shows, you never sit in your real seat, you stub your friends down, dance in the aisle, and make a general ruckus. 400 level is good enough.

Head: What ruckus? I bring E-N-E-R-G-Y.

MSG : He’s brain dead.

Head: they’re made of money!

MSG: he’s got no future at all.

At this point, Phish has heard each sides arguments and makes the following decision: He makes a scene but he brings his A game to every show – he deserves tickets in the 100 level. He asked for front row and MSG asked to put him in the 400 level. Since the front row is closer to the 100 level, the front row seats are awarded, and that’s where he will sit. Thanks for playing – enjoy the show. . . .

Let’s get down to the nitty gritty
Let’s get this show on the road

And that’s how baseball arbitration works. Instead of MSG and a Head playing for tickets, it’s a ballplayer and his team playing for cash. The biggest case this year is Josh Hamilton v. Texas Rangers. Hamilton is the broken ribbed American League MVP, who battled addiction to become one of the most feared hitters in the game today.

Hamilton asked for $12 Million and the Rangers offered $8.7 Million. An independent person will decide what is a fair salary for Hamilton’s performance and the number closest to that decision, will be awarded. Either way, Josh Hamilton is about to bag over $8 Million for playing baseball. Not bad.

Josh Hamilton’s case will be heard shortly. I’m not a betting man, but I bet he wins. Stay tuned . . . .

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