When a player signs a long term contract, he is in effect marrying that team for better or for worse. There are many striking similarities between holy matrimony and signing a new player. Consider:
– Much like dating, prospective players are wined and dined in the swankiest spots as the team is aiming to impress. The team even shows the player and his family potential schools, mansions, and other incentives to entice the player to do the deal. This would be the ‘dating/getting-to-know-you-phase so I know you’re not an axe murderer or someone who watches Lopez Tonight’ step of the relationship…
– Contracts are a lot like prenups. Teams and players include certain stipulations to protect themselves. For instance, the Red Sox included mandatory weigh-ins for portly pitcher Curt Schilling, and if he made weight, he would receive a bonus. This would be like agreeing to the whole for richer or poorer, for better or worse, until death do us part stipulation. Basically, the team expects the player to perform and the player expects to be compensated much like a wife expecting her husband to be a good husband (looking at you, Tiger).
– Often times, there’s a honeymoon phase too. Much like how a honeymoon in Hawaii is filled with hotsy-totsy nights and sun-drenched happiness, a player can get off to a great start thanks to the exciting novelty of the relationship. Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen helped the Celtics win an NBA Championship in their first year in Boston. Talk about a city-wide ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign…
– And when the honeymoon is over, and the gravity of forever smacks both parties in the face, two things can happen. It may be the perfect union; you know, the type you see when a couple in their 90’s are still getting ice cream because they enjoy each other. This would be like Peyton Manning and the Colts. And then there’s the Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee type marriage. Fast and furious at first, but destined for failure. This would resemble the San Francisco Giants hopping in bed with Barry Zito for one of the richest pitching contracts in history only to realize instantly that it was a stage-5 clinger-like mistake of epic proportions.
– Just like in the real world with nearly half of all marriages ending in divorce, separations happen in the sports world too. A-Rod and his bloated contract were shipped to New York from Texas with both sides happy with the rebound. The Raiders cut the overweight and cough syrup-addicted Jamarcus Russell after handing him one of the richest quarterback contracts in NFL history. Mistakes happen in marriage and they happen in sports, and unfortunately, staying together is sometimes impossible even if it’s better for the kids (those would be the fans in this case).
But even though there are a multitude of examples of terrible contracts, teams in much the same way as Larry King, never learn and wish to get married again and again and again. New York will always hand out huge contracts, the Clippers will always sign the player destined to underperform, and the Bengals will usually sign a player who will wear an orange prison jumpsuit as much as as their own uniform.
Some people, and some teams, simply never learn that maybe they should just remain single (looking at you again, Tiger).