They may have failed to advance beyond the first playoff round once again, but the Nationals still managed to earn some extra cash for their brief October run.
The team was awarded $2,746,264.04 to be split among its players and other selected personnel, according to figures released Monday by Major League Baseball. That total, which also was awarded to the three other clubs that were eliminated in Division Series play, resulted in individual shares of $36,864.74.
The Nationals issued 61 full shares in that amount, plus 10.522 partial shares and 16 cash awards, according to MLB. Players vote to decide who qualifies for the various categories.
Who actually ends up receiving those awards? Well, consider that the Nationals only used 49 major league players this season. So there were members of the coaching staff, the training staff, the clubhouse house staff and others who work for the team who were given either a full share or some other portion of one.
So while it's easy to scoff at this whole endeavor and question what difference it makes when players already make a minimum of $535,000 for the season and plenty of them make a whole lot more than that, remember that there are a lot of people who work for a ballclub and make considerably less money. For them, end-of-season bonuses like these are more than chump change and are greatly appreciated.
Of course, everyone would have appreciated all this a little more if the Nationals had actually won in October and advanced beyond the first round. The League Championship Series runners-up got full shares in excess of $133,000. The World Series runner-up Dodgers handed out full shares worth more than $259,000.
And the value of a full share for the World Series champion Astros? How about $438,901.57? That doesn't qualify as chump change for anybody.
Playoff shares this year set a new record for MLB, which doled out a grand total in player pool money of more than $84.5 million, besting last season's mark by nearly $8 million.
It's even more evidence than we already had that baseball as an industry is doing awfully well right now. Sure, there are issues pertaining to pace of play, drug testing, potentially juiced balls and other assorted problem areas. But the sport is making more money than it ever has, attendance and local television ratings are high and this year's postseason TV ratings were really strong as well.
At a time when the most popular league in America is awash in negative publicity for a whole bunch of reasons, it's not a bad time to remind ourselves that baseball is alive and well.
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