My agent I.M. Slick stopped by to renegotiate my contract with the Hillsboro Free Press. I’m not overly optimistic that his strategy is going to work. You be the judge.
Slick: I read recently that tailback Eddie Lacy weighed 250 pounds or less recently, and, as a result, will receive $55,000 from the Seattle Seahawks. Apparently the payoff is part of a seven-tiered incentive structure designed to keep Lacy at a healthy playing weight this season. I heard that if Lacy meets all his benchmarks, he will earn $385,000 on top of his $2.865 million. I don’t know why I didn’t think of that!
Joe: Well, I know I could stand to lose a few pounds, but I don’t think the Free Press will pay me for meeting certain weight benchmarks.
Slick: Did you hear that when the Minnesota Vikings acquired defensive end Jared Allen from Kansas City, they gave him a signing bonus of exactly $15,500,069.
Joe: Why the extra $69?
Slick: It matched Allen’s jersey number, a gesture that Coach Childress correctly figured would connect with Allen’s goofball personality.
Joe: But how does that help me?
Slick: What record is Joe DiMaggio best known for?
Joe: Well, getting at least one hit in 56 consecutive Major League Baseball games.
Slick: Yes, but if he had extended it for one more game, it is rumored that he would have a five-figure prize waiting from the makers of Heinz 57 sauce.
Joe: I think that’s just an urban legend.
Slick: Perhaps, but this one isn’t. The Texas Rangers were looking for ways to lock up their young second baseman, Rougned Odor. They offered him a six-year deal that guaranteed at least $49.5 million. But sitting across the table from general manager Jon Daniels, Odor offered no reaction to the numbers. Daniels pivoted. Team officials knew Odor had bought land in Texas and had an affinity for horses. Daniels slid his phone across the table. On it was a photo of two horses.
Odor’s eyes lit up. Odor signed and two horses were delivered to his property, courtesy of the Rangers.
Joe: Nice story, but I fail to see how this impacts my situation with the Free Press.
Slick: Well now, this story may be more applicable. Pro softball player Monica Abbott has an incentive to receive up to $180,000 per year based on games attended by at least 100 fans. Plus, she’s a left-handed pitcher and you were a left-handed pitcher back in the day, so there you have it.
Joe: I don’t think my being left-handed matters to the Free Press.
Slick: No, but think about this. What if we say that you deserve at least a $1,000 bonus this year if more than 1,000 people are reading your column on average and a $500 bonus if more than 500 people are reading your column on average?
Joe: That would be nice. Go for it.
(Time passed and Slick returned from his visit with the editor, Don Ratzlaff.)
Joe: How did your visit go?
Slick: Let’s just say he drives a hard bargain.
Slick: Don said we couldn’t prove that you had that many readers. But rather than focus on the negative, you should thank me for keeping your current writing arrangement in place.
Joe: How’s that?
Slick: Don wondered aloud whether you should be paying the Free Press for writing such drivel. I realized he had a good point, so I quickly changed the subject. Your writing Sideline Slants is still secure. So don’t worry, incentives aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.
Joe: Neither are agents with boneheaded ideas.
Hillsboro resident Joe Kleinsasser is director of news and media relations at Wichita State University. You can reached him at Joe.Kleinsasser@wichita.edu.