There hasn’t been much good news in baseball lately. Or sports, for that matter. Which is why we bring you news worth celebrating on this very special day.
Today is baseball’s favorite holiday — Bobby Bonilla Day!
You see, every year on July 1, Bonilla gets a check for $1,193,248.20 from the New York Mets for doing absolutely nothing. Even though he’s 57, hasn’t played in the big leagues since 2001 and hasn’t played for the Mets since 1999, that money comes. He’ll get the check every July 1 until 2036. It’s beautiful, something we all should be so lucky to have happen every year.
The internet has given us plenty of advancements in its time, some good, some bad — and some, like Bobby Bo Day, are just goofy little things that the rise of social media allows us to celebrate every year.
As usual, Twitter is having some fun. Extra points this year since MLB players — many of whom will make less money than Bonilla this year — start reporting to training camps on Bobby Bo Day.
Bobby Bonilla seeing that 1.19 million direct deposit in the morning. pic.twitter.com/LBAzgocB92— Evan Daniel (@mrevandaniel) July 1, 2020
In light of the long drawn out fight over MONEY that took baseball forever to come to an agreement...it is somewhat perfect that players report for spring training on.... Bobby Bonilla Day. pic.twitter.com/3LuqoGuuyE— trey wingo (@wingoz) July 1, 2020
Bobby Bonilla at midnight on July 1— The Undefeated (@TheUndefeated) July 1, 2020
Bobby Bonilla when that $1.19 million check from the Mets hits pic.twitter.com/KkLLemp5ZF
The origin of Bobby Bonilla Day
The story behind Bobby Bonilla Day is well documented at this point, but if you don’t know it, here goes:
The Mets wanted to get rid of Bonilla and his $5.9 million salary in 2000. Rather than just take a payout, his agent struck a deal that was a bit different: The Mets didn’t have to pay him right away. They could wait 10 years and instead they could pay him $1.19 million for 25 years starting in 2011.
The Mets took it — and here’s a surprising turn — because ownership was getting 10-percent returns on their investments at the time with a guy named Bernie Madoff, meaning they stood to make more money by paying Bonilla in the future. Oops.
What does he spend the money on?
A few years ago, Yahoo Sports had the chance to talk to Bonilla for an episode of “Old Baseball Cards.” In it, I asked Bobby what he spends his money on every July 1.
His answer is like many of ours — the mortgage. But he does get himself a treat.
A few years ago, I asked Bobby Bonilla what he did on Bobby Bonilla Day.— Mike Oz (@mikeoz) July 1, 2020
This is from Episode 5 of Old Baseball Cards.pic.twitter.com/9FyFoHvray
It’s not just Bobby Bonilla either
Get this: There are some bah-humbuggers out there who get upset on Bobby Bonilla Day. They’re either sensitive Mets fans or people who want you to know that there are other players with deferred salaries too.
That’s true. Salary deferment in MLB isn’t uncommon these days — nor was it in the past.
The list of players who also collect checks beyond their playing years is long and full of names you know. Ken Griffey Jr. gets $3.5 million from the Reds every year. Bruce Sutter gets $1.12 million from the Braves every year from 1985 through 2021. Current players such as Max Scherzer, Zack Greinke, Chris Davis and Jason Heyward all have deferred money in their contracts. Here’s a Twitter thread with a lot more.
But whether disgruntled Mets like it or not, Bobby Bonilla is the face of this. And he will be every July 1 until 2036.
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