Truly, the most wonderful time of the year!
Bobby Bonilla Day is my favorite holiday because of what it represents: Finessing. For those that don't know, Bobby Bonilla receives a check for $1,193,248.20 every July 1 from the New York Mets. It started in 2011 and won't end until 2035 when Bonilla is 72 years of age. This happens because, in 2000, the Mets agreed to buy Bonilla out of the remaining $5.9 million dollars of his contract by deferring the payment into 25 annual installments of $1.1 million dollars.
What you may not know is why the Mets agreed to this. Dan Mullen explains:
At the time, Mets ownership was invested in a Bernie Madoff account that promised double-digit returns, and the Mets were poised to make a significant profit if the Madoff account delivered -- but that did not work out.
"But that did not work out". Holy hell, what an understatement.
"The Titanic set out for a smooth trip on the Atlantic--but that did not work out."
"The Kennedy's looked forward to a nice ride through Dallas--but that did not work out."
Something that I did not know is that this is not the only deferred contract that Bobby Bonilla has. Mullen again, on different examples of similar agreements throughout baseball:
• Bobby Bonilla (again): A second deferred-contract plan with the Mets and Orioles pays him $500,000 a year for 25 years. Those payments began in 2004.
Is Bonilla's agent in the Baseball Hall of Fame?? Because they should be. Bonilla was the highest-paid player in the league from 1992 to 1994, despite only making one All-Star game during that time. I can somewhat get the Mets rolling those dice, as they were in World Series contention at the end of the millennium. If they got off Bonilla's salary and used it to get over the hump and win a title, this would all be worth it--but that did not work out. They won one (1) postseason series over the next 15 years before making it back to the World Series. And I won't even bother looking at the Orioles team history because they knew better than to make a deferred payment agreement like that under any circumstances. They weren't winning anything regardless.
I like to imagine Bonilla checking his bank account at midnight every July 1st and laughing maniacally before he begins planning the world's best 4th of July cookout on the Mets dime. And then checking his calendar to see what day the $500k check from the Orioles comes in. Today, we pay homage to a legend in Finessing history.