Today is July 1, which means Bobby Bonilla gets a check cut for $1,193,248.20. Or just a direct deposit. Or maybe the New York Mets will just passive-aggressively Venmo him at 11:57 pm tonight with some subtle apology, as if they almost forgot. “Ah guys, you know what, I almost forgot that Bonilla thing was due today.” Either way, that’s a lot of guacamole for someone who’s been out of the league for fifteen years.
I’m not going to sit here and bash the Mets for this deal. You’ll come across dozens of articles today breaking it all down, discussing the pros and cons for each side over the years. A few Mets fans will slightly implode over the situation on social media. Lately there has been a building frustration around the team’s recent poor play, mounting injuries, Daniel Murphy batting like .743 since leaving (1), being swept by the Nats this week and Steve Trachsel still holding the ball in the set position. Just throw the damn pitch already, Steve. Not to mention the Mets are now staring down the barrel of Kris Bryant’s bat and the MLB-leading Cubs for a weekend series.
The Bonilla deal makes for an awesome headline/Tweet/Fourth of July banter every summer when rumblings on the internet begin. Something I occasionally enjoy doing while riding the subway or banging out a mundane task at work is imagining what Bob’s itinerary is on these first of Julys.
I’ve always had this image in my head of Bob rolling up in a retro bullpen car, a gift to himself using 2012’s payout, at his local bank with a freshly squeezed glass of orange juice, absolutely with a bendy straw. A noticeable grin showers patrons in the lot as he puts the enormous batting helmet in park. It’s a grin similar to that of a nine-year-old that opens up his or her pack of Pokémon cards and finds yet another holographic Charizard. If one listens closely, you can hear the opening lines of Public Enemy’s “Black Steel In The Hour of Chaos” as he strolls through the parking lot in his flip flops murmuring his own remix: “I got a payment from the Mets/The other day/I opened and read it/It said they were suckers.” Wishful thinking.
Then there’s always my visualization of a cool and lackadaisical Bonilla, totally forgetting about the annual payment until his cell starts blowing up with texts. It becomes more like an annual burden to deal with the media and phone calls. “I’m still rich. Just use last year’s story, guys.” But in reality, Bonilla seems to have his head on straight and finances in order. He reportedly lives comfortably, drives a Silverado and is even educating current players on how to manage their benefits and the ordinary details that come with being a professional.
Is it frustrating that Bob is making more than most of the Mets’ young studs? Of course it is. But their time will come. Don’t hate the player. Hate John Rocker.
(1) – It’s actually .352, as of this writing.