The NFL regular season is back, which means that football will dominate the pro sports conversation every Sunday for the next five months or so. People get passionate about it! Including...Christian Yelich?
Like many folks in the Milwaukee area, the star outfielder watched Sunday night’s primetime matchup between the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears. So did David Samson, the disgraced Marlins executive who’s a Milwaukee native and now a pundit with CBS Sports.
When Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers suffered a knee injury early in the second quarter, his team already trailing 10-0, fans and fantasy owners (like myself) panicked. Knee-jerk reactions produce some baaaaaaad takes:
Anyone else worried about the packers extension they gave to Aaron Rodgers? Reminds me of the extension given to Ryan Howard. One helluva thank you.— David P. Samson (@DavidPSamson) September 10, 2018
This cross-sport comparison refers to Ryan Howard getting $125 million guaranteed from the Phillies, just as he was entering his decline phase. The team paid for past production, rather than setting realistic expectations for what Howard could do deep into his 30s, and it proved to be a terrible value after he suffered an Achilles injury. Rodgers signed an extension with the Packers for $134 million this past summer. He turns 35 in December.
However, Rodgers’ impact on the outcome of a game is multitudes greater than a position player in baseball, and quarterbacks historically age more gracefully than one-dimensional sluggers.
The tweet would’ve been absurd regardless of the Packers-Bears result, but Rodgers made Samson eat his words within a couple hours. He returned to the field in the second half and led Green Bay back from a 20-0 deficit.
Yelich pounced on him:
Looks like it worked out alright....don’t be so anti-player all the time! https://t.co/oYr1vI1K1I— Christian Yelich (@ChristianYelich) September 10, 2018
There’s a lot to digest right there.
Since launching his new career as a sports personality over the past year, Samson has not shied away from bringing the “rich sports owner” perspective to Twitter. He frequently laments the fact that his former colleagues have to pay top dollar to veteran players with too much baggage or mileage on them:
Maybe once and for all, we should discuss teams opting out of remaining years of a contract for a positive PED test. Say it ain’t so, Cano. Maybe he can endorse Prune juice now. #waittosee— David P. Samson (@DavidPSamson) May 15, 2018
Wonder whether the @whitesox are excited to have to pay Castillo 7.75 million next year. Would be nice to be able to void the rest of his contract. Until there is proper punishment, certain players will still think the juice is worth the squeeze. Time for change. #waittosee https://t.co/X9wzRev5jV— David P. Samson (@DavidPSamson) May 24, 2018
There is one word for this: inexcusable. This should be grounds for termination of contract. I’ve seen this before. Where is Dr. Buddy Rydell when you need him? https://t.co/n3ccgqxvCJ— David P. Samson (@DavidPSamson) June 20, 2018
My experience tells me that it is possible he is worried about his health. Tread carefully. Scherzer is almost the only long term pitcher deal that has worked out for the signing team in free agency. https://t.co/qHaDW7zTsI— David P. Samson (@DavidPSamson) July 16, 2018
“Anti-player” indeed. Maybe Yelich is taking exception to those public views?
He may also be venting about his own financial situation. The 26-year-old is earning a $7 million salary in the midst of a legitimate NL MVP campaign (.316/.381/.557, 28 HR for the contending Brewers). But his earning potential will be capped at $51.25 million total over the next four seasons under the terms of an extension he signed with the Marlins in March 2015.
Samson’s record as team president speaks for itself. He held that role from 2002 through 2017—much of the franchise’s existence—and infamously made a habit of dumping the most beloved players just as they were on the cusp of a big payday. With the exception of Giancarlo Stanton, the Fish never gave individuals no-trade protection. That allowed new ownership to ship Yelich to Milwaukee in January for a package including Lewis Brinson and prospects Monte Harrison, Isan Diaz and Jordan Yamamoto.
Within a few minutes, Samson tried to smooth things over. While not disputing his penny-pinching mentality, he heaped praise onto Yelich for his 2018 success:
I have always been pro you. From draft day to our spring training meeting in the manager’s office! Told you that day that you were a MVP. Maybe even sooner than we both thought. #waittosee. Keep going!— David P. Samson (@DavidPSamson) September 10, 2018
If you prefer to hear Samson weigh in on these topics, he is a regular analyst on CBS Sports HQ.