Hungry? Try the new “Money Diet”

Robinson Cano at a press conference after signing a 10-year, $240 million contract with the Seattle Mariners. (Photo via NY Post)

Robinson Cano at a press conference after signing a 10-year, $240 million contract with the Seattle Mariners. (Photo via NY Post)

Professional athletes, especially Major League Baseball players typically sign huge, multi-million dollar contracts to play for their respective teams.  For instance, this past off-season Robinson Cano left the New York Yankees, who are notorious for having several players who fit this category, for the Seattle Mariners.  Cano signed a 10-year, $240 million contract with Seattle. (Click here for an article on Robinson Cano with the Seattle Mariners)

Even by baseball standards (given that baseball is easily the highest-paying professional sport in the United States, this is a huge contract for Cano, and a huge gamble by the Mariners at the same time.  Cano has been in the majors for several years already and has even missed games due to an injury.

When I was still in high school, we held a surprise party for one of my friend’s birthdays at his house.  His dad hunts with the gentlemen that began coaching Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel at Peterson Middle School in Kerrville, Texas in the 7th grade.  When Manziel moved up to Tivy High School in 9th grade, so did this coach.

My friend’s dad told me after Manziel’s first 7th-grade game, the coach told him to remember the name Johnny Manziel because he would be special.  In high school, being from the San Antonio area, I got to witness how special first hand when he scored 7 touchdowns against SA Madison his sophomore year on a Thursday night game early in the season.

Back to the birthday party, we started talking about Texas A&M’s seemingly miraculous season under new coach Kevin Sumlin and my friend’s dad said, “Manziel is done after next year.  Dad’s extremely money hungry.”  Now, two months before the NFL Draft, Manziel has an agent and should be a top-10 pick.

Maziel is not the only one. Money hunger is extremely evident in sports, at all levels.

Why the Overhyping of Players Needs to Stop

Manziel poses with the Heisman Memorial Trophy after winning the award for the nation's top College Football player as a Freshman out of Texas A&M (New York Times).

Manziel poses with the Heisman Memorial Trophy after winning the award for the nation’s top College Football player as a Freshman out of Texas A&M (New York Times).

 We all remember a young basketball player out of Toronto named Andrew Wiggins right?  Well, he was ranked as the top recruit in the country by ESPN, whenever he wasn’t even in the United States.  Many “experts” were expecting the Freshman to possibly win Big 12 Player of the Year or even lead the Kansas Jayhawks to a National Championship.  Then something happened, Wiggins did not play as expected against Louisiana-Monroe, only putting up 16 points.

“Well that’s only one game,” you say?  Against UTEP, who has not been in the NCAA Tournament since 2010, Wiggins only had 6 points, 9 on the road at Oklahoma and a grand total of 3 points at home against Oklahoma State, who was picked in a tie atop the Big 12 pre-season by the media. (Click here for Wiggins’ 2013-14 stats)

There are other examples in other sports as well.  For instance, Johhny Manziel could not meet media expectations after winning the Heisman Trophy as a Freshman, even though he suffered an injury during his Sophomore season.  However, with Texas A&M’s win total declining from 11 to 9, many critics blamed Manziel because his numbers were not “high enough.”

My point is this, we overhype too many athletes.  Society and the media both start to talk about how great players are at a certain level of play, without having seen them take the field yet.  Or, after winning an award or two, we expect even better out of them.  Sometimes that just is not possible.  Unfortunately, this is a trend that may continue, hurting athletes’ draft stock because of the “he’s not that good” attitude from one bad game.