Cubs pitcher Jon Lester made a lot of news this past weekend by picking up the tab for the first Miller Lite ordered by fans at a variety of Division Street bars. It was a nice gesture to thank fans of the team that employed him for the past six seasons.
During that 2015-2020 period, Lester cashed checks totaling $145 million, and he will get another $10 million as a buyout of his contract so the Cubs won’t be on the hook for $25 million in 2021.
Now, I love Lester. He was a key piece of the puzzle to get the Cubs over the hump to win their first world championship since 1908. He was worth every penny of Ricketts Family wealth he could extract, but the $47K he dropped on beers works out to $282 for a person earning $60,000.
While the proportionality reduces the gesture to a less than beneficent tip of the cap to fans for making Lester and his family feel at home in the Windy City, there weren’t a lot of options to up the ante.
Here are some terrible ideas that Lester was right to reject:
- Car giveaway! Buying every Cubs fan a car in some kind insane Oprah style prize-a-thon would piss off everyone who didn’t win.
- Cover a full night of beers on Division Street! Popping for beers all night long, instead of just the first, would have turned Chicago into chaos.
- Cash Drop! Emptying a bushel basket of $100 bills from a hot air balloon as a hovered over the intersection of Clark and Addison might result in wanton violence. It would certainly be responsible for a decided lack of social distancing. Lester doesn’t want to be responsible for a super-spreader event!
- Promise to never waste 0-2, 1-2, or 2-2 pitches low and away again. Oh sure, as he pitches elsewhere, Lester finally decides to get batters out inside the strike zone and shave an hour from the games he starts. That would be thumbing his nose at Cubs fans rather than rewarding them.
In the end, Lester did exactly the right thing, and by the way, $282 is a nothing to sneeze at for normal folks. When was the last time any of us bought a round for the house in a lightly traveled bar? Maybe I should drop $282 before whining about Lester spending $47K!