Every July 1 is a great day in baseball, online commentary, social media snarkiness, and well, just the world in general. It’s the day the New York Mets must open their checkbook and pay Bobby Bonilla nearly $1.2 million.
The problem for the Mets—and this is probably the biggest reason all of us feel so much joy every July 1—is that Bonilla hasn’t played for New York since 1999 and has been out of baseball since 2001. But because he deferred so much of his final contract payment with the team, the Mets, out of stupidity or generosity or some combination therein—offered him a sweetheart of a deal.
As ESPN explains:
Back near the end of Bonilla’s playing days, the New York Mets agreed to pay him $1,193,248.20 annually on July 1 for 25 years, beginning in 2011.
Bonilla was owed $5.9 million when the Mets agreed to that buyout.
The agreement called for deferred payments at an 8 percent annual interest rate. At the time, Mets ownership did not mind that interest rate because their investments with Bernie Madoff were returning comfortably more than that figure.
And if Bernie Madoff had something to do with this deal, you just know everything was on the up and up. Reportedly, Mets owners Saul Katz and Frank Wilpon had been investing with Madoff for many years, earning between 10 and 14 percent annually on their returns. At the time, they must have thought they could have earned more money than the $29.8 million they’d have to pay out to Bonilla with those deferred pyaments.
Of course, we all know where Madoff resides these days. And we all know that the Mets gamble didn’t exactly pay out.
Happy Bobby Bonilla day. Hope he sends a thank you note to Bernie Madoff in prison.
— Chris Jochum (@CGJochum) July 1, 2015
But just so everybody knows how ridiculous this arrangement is for everybody but Bonilla and his banker …
And I see today we're all doing the annual "the Mets are still paying Bobby Bonilla" story. ctrl-c, ctrl-v
— Jonathan Jones (@jjones9) July 1, 2015
Credit, though, must go to Bobby Bonilla, who, lest we forget, was a damn good player and a six-time All Star and who told ESPN in 2012 (via the Washington Post), “I decided I wanted to live the rest of my life as if I were an active player.”
If you’re spending any time online today, make sure you wish everybody you see a Happy Bobby Bonilla Day. Because sometimes the worker fleeces his boss into paying him an undeserved bunch of money for the rest of his life, and that’s something we all should cheer.
Screengrab via Emcedeltate/YouTube