Wednesday, November 05, 2014
n the autumn of 2007, Amanda Coolbaugh was dealing with the tragic loss of her husband, Mike, who had been killed that July when a line drive struck him in the head while he was coaching first base for the Colorado Rockies’ Double-A affiliate in Tulsa. She had two young sons, ages 5 and 4, and she was eight months pregnant. So as the baseball season was winding down, she was struggling. How would she be able to raise her children? How would she pay for their college educations? How would she pay for their health insurance?
“When Mike was killed, his paycheck was instantly gone,” she says.
And then Amanda received a phone call from a reporter who told her that the Rockies had voted her a full share of their postseason earnings. Colorado played in the World Series that year. A full postseason share wound up to be $255,000.
“I still don’t even know how to put it into words,” she says of her reaction…..
The distribution of postseason shares is determined at a players-only meeting held near the end of the season. The more shares players distribute, the less each is worth. Thus, arguments over who gets what can be as rancorous as a Congressional budget battle.
“You would be surprised at the s—- you hear at those meetings,” says former Oakland (now Boston) hitting coach Chili Davis.
“There were a few guys who got laid on the guillotine, to say the least. Just totally having their heads chopped off and getting nothing,” Van Slyke says. “A lot of it depended on what kind of guy you were and what kind of contribution you made to the team. ... So there were some heated discussions about who should get what and how much. We had one guy who had been traded to our team and really helped us down the stretch. And we gave him a full share. Then there were other guys who were on the team and got traded to another contending team and we said, ‘Screw it. If they like him over there, they can give him whatever they want. But nothing from us.’”
Sunday, August 03, 2014
The Industry, first in a four part series
At the final tournament of the season, with the finish line in sight, the couple counted up how many games their sons had played — and they had attended — since the seasons started in the spring. The total: 167, five games more than a major league team’s calendar.
More doesn’t necessarily mean better, though. With the increased intensity comes a price — often in time and money, or in some cases, the child’s interest in the sport or even their physical well being.
According to a 2013 National Association of Sports Commissions study, the travel industry built around youth sports brings in an estimated $7 billion. Nonprofit, tax-exempt youth sports groups also pull in revenue in the billions. In 2010, the Columbus Dispatch uncovered that youth sports-related nonprofits took in at least $5 billion in revenue, according to figures reported to the IRS.
Tucked in at the end of a cul-de-sac at Waterchase Golf Course in Fort Worth is one of the most exclusive examples of high-end training for kids in the D-FW area. From the video capture bays, to an onsite trainer, a sports psychologist, and a chef, everything about the three-story Jim McLean Junior Golf Performance Academy points to a future beyond the youth ranks.
And Justin Poynter, the director of instruction at the Academy, doesn’t shy away from that goal.
“We don’t want to be a training coach,” Poynter said. “We’re trying to win gold medals.”
While 300 to 400 youth golfers receive some level of instruction throughout the year, only 24 spots in the Academy are open each year, keeping student-teacher ratios low, with at least three hours of custom one-on-one instruction per week.
And with such exclusivity comes a cost: The Academy’s fees run from $39,875 for commuters to $58,875 for residents. Nearly a third of the players at the Academy last year lived in two homes in the gated community, rented by the program.
Poynter didn’t shy away from the idea that his program was focused or intense.
“The question is, ‘Do you like winning? Do you want to be successful?’ ” he said.
Monday: The Burnout
Tuesday: The Cost
Wednesday: The Future
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