You may have missed it amidst all of the Fourth of July weekend activities, but did you know that the New York Mets sent a check for more than $1 million last Friday to a 53-year-old, who last played in the majors 15 years ago.
Yep, former slugger Bobby Bonilla was jettisoned by the Mets back in 2001. Yet, for Bobby Bo, every July 1 is his own personal independence day…. at least for the next 19 years.
All of this is the work of Bonilla’s agent, Dennis Gilbert, who negotiated a deal similar to an annuity payout in 2000. The Mets owed Bonilla $5.9 million for the 2000 season and no longer wanted him on the roster. So Gilbert negotiated an 8% annual interest rate to that money. With the clock starting in 2000, the total adds up to $29.8 million. The first installment came in 2011. Every July 1, through 2035, when he will be 72, Bonilla will go to his mailbox and find a check from the New York Mets for $1,193,248.20. Not a bad stroll.
In fact, Bonilla is paid more annually than most of the Mets’ young stud pitchers. Noah Syndergaard, Jacob DeGrom and Steven Matz all make half of the check Bonilla deposited last week. Such is the economics of baseball.
Last night, baseball witnessed it’s version of Halley’s Comet.
New York Mets pitcher Bartolo Colon hit his first career home run, at age 42. He turned on a James Shields fastball and deposited it over the left field wall, to become the oldest player in history to hit his first career home run, just 3 weeks shy of turning 43. Coming into the game, the round mound of the mound sported a microscopic .089 lifetime batting average over his 19 seasons.
He surpassed Hall of Famer Randy Johnson, whose first homer came at age 40. He’s only the third Met to homer after turning 40, joining Willie Mays and Julio Franco, baseball’s Methuselah who was 48 when he homered.
Said Colon, “I don’t even know how to explain it.”
Mets’ play-by-play man told the television audience, “The impossible has happened!”
When asked about it, opposing San Diego Padres’ manager, said, “Certain things leave you speechless.”
The crowd went nuts, then watched the portly pitcher take 30-seconds to haul his 283 pounds (or so he is generously listed) around the bases.