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June 26, 2009 - John Mehno
You want to know what happened with Ian Snell? He was pitching lousy, and he was rejecting the Pirates' suggestions for how to fix things. He knew they were going to send him down to Class AAA, so he got the jump on them and made it seem like it was all his idea.
The Pirates are on the hook for $3.25 million this year, and $4.25 million next year, so they'd like to get some use out of him. Or they'd like to see him string together a few good games so they could trade him. Contrary to some recent rumors, there has been no trade interest. If the Pirates released him, someone would take a flier on him at little cost. But they won't pick up that contract unless he shows he can help in a big way.
I walked into the press room around the time that the Michael Jackson news was breaking. Amy, who manages the room, seemed to be upset about it. Jackson's bizarre story made me think of the sports parallels. Jackson turned into a cash cow for the people who profited from his talents, so no one was about to tell him, "Hey, man, you're about nine shades of crazy." People just play along and ride the wave as long as it's making money.
Athletes in team sports usually don't have entourages, but everyone indulges them until they can't profit from them any more. Just ride that wave and reap the profits. Then toss that one aside and wait for the next one. It's not always a happy life, even if you're wealthy.