We hear about it all the time, on the radio, in the news and in newspaper articles; athletes make absurd amounts of money, especially in baseball. Alex Rodriguez, Manny Ramirez, and Barry Bonds are all vindicated by the press and public for raking in far more money than they deserve. The game’s superstars obviously make an undeserving amount of money, but the money problem in baseball nowadays seems to be with the lesser-known players. It has been a given for years that the sports and entertainment industries overpay their superstars, yet what seems to get less attention is that hundreds of athletes are grossly overpaid for minimal production. “One hit wonder” is a term tossed around daily in sports and entertainment, but it appears that people in the game of baseball have no idea what it means. A classic example is the Seattle Mariners’ Adrian Beltre. A chronic underachiever in his first six years as a member of the Dodgers, Beltre “broke out” in 2004, hitting 48 home runs and batting .334, in his last year before his contract expired. All of a sudden, Beltre became a hot commodity, and signed with the Mariners for $44 million for four years, which seems a bit absurd for a lifetime .270 hitter who has only hit more than 25 home runs once in his career. But no, he’s figured out how to hit, said the experts, and he’ll continue to be a mass run producer in the future. A month and a half into this season, Beltre has a pathetic .242 average, and is behind the likes of Clint Barmes, Chad Tracy, and Jason Bay with a measly three home runs. Beltre is not the only culprit. Jaret Wright and Carl Pavano are two Yankees who were given more than $5 million a year for one successful season, and have not been able to beat the Devil Rays this year. For some bizarre reason, baseball players who have one good season seem to deserve more money than they can even count. Unfortunately, overpayment of baseball players trickles all the way down to even the most detrimental of players. Even if their team releases them, they continue to receive their contract money until the contract expires. In 2002, the Red Sox released Jose Offerman in the middle of a year in which he hit .232 with 27 RBI’s. Unfortunately for the Red Sox, they still had to pay the remainder of his $6.5 million contract. In essence, for the final 2 months of the season, the Red Sox paid him about seven figures to not play. The funny thing is, Offerman was genuinely pissed off when he was released; “when informed of his release, Offerman… unleashed a profanity- laden tirade”. Apparently, he was frustrated because the Sox had not fired him on their road trip to California, where he resides. But really, he has reason to be mad; he only performed awfully, showed a bad attitude, and made $6 million in the process, he deserves much better! It’s bad enough that players like Offerman get paid roughly 20 times that of the average American; even players that have never achieved anything at the highest level of the game get a relatively absurd amount of money. The “minimum” wage of a major leaguer is $300,000. That’s right, all you have to do is make it to the majors and have your “cup of coffee,” and you are guaranteed $300,000. Good to know that players like the Pirates’ John Van Benschoten, who has pitched six major league games in his lifetime and is injured and out for the season, is making about six times that of your average teacher. There seems to be something inherently wrong with the economic structure of baseball and other major sports. It simply does not make sense for these athletes to make so much money. Why is it that they make so much more than teachers, policemen, and firemen? It is certainly illogical that Jose Offerman, John Van Benschoten, or Jason Giambi are rolling around in money while the very people who educate us and save our lives stay around the national average. Sure, Adrian Beltre and Jaret Wright have given thousands of fans something to cheer about, but does that really justify weekly paychecks that exceed that of many people’s yearly income? Are Alex Rodriguez’s home run outputs really worth $26 million a year, even if they make George Steinbrenner wealthier? Baseball players and athletes in general just don’t seem to be worth all the fuss.