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Don't take me out to the ballgame.

By By Tracy L. Brady
Record Reporter
If you could do anything in the world for a living, what would it be?
Would you restore antique cars?
How about painting?
Ever thought about becoming the next Crocodile Hunter?
Me, I would run a little bookstore down on the bay in Pensacola.
My favorite things would surround me-books, sand, sea, sun and interesting people.
My dream job might not make me rich and famous, but it would surely make me happy.
Unfortunately, there are people who actually get paid, and paid well, to do exactly what they want to do for a living, but they don't understand how fortunate they really are.
The people I speak of get paid to play.
Even after God smiles on them with natural athletic ability, and professional sports organizations smile on them with ungodly multi-million dollar contracts, professional athletes in America just never seem to be happy enough or rich enough.
Aug. 30 is the deadline professional baseball players have set to determine if they will strike for the ninth time since 1972.
The controversy involves revenue sharing and a luxury tax on players if a team's threshold exceeds a specified amount each team should have to spend on player salaries.
Some call it a salary cap, but I call it common sense.
A luxury tax would keep one team from hogging all of the good players and keep other teams from going broke trying to maintain the demands of high profile athletes.
But don't try to reason with a baseball player about the integrity of the sport.
Stomping, pouting, poking out their bottom lips and refusing to go outside and play a game they supposedly love, baseball players are building a reputation for being the whiny brats down the street no one wants to play with.
Should professional athletes get paid?
Absolutely.
Should they get paid more than teachers, police, fire fighters, soldiers or health care professionals?
Absolutely not.
Professional athletes don't save or change lives, they simply go outside and play.
The dictionary says to play is "to do something for amusement."
Bless their little millionaire hearts.
Having to amuse themselves and others for a few months each year must be exhausting.
All of those first-class plane trips around the country, luxury hotels, advertising deals, and celebrity functions must take their toll, too.
Don't take me out to the ballgame-at least not to see a pro team.
Take me to the ballgames of peewees, little leagues, high schools and colleges. Take me where the players are truly part of the team and are playing for the love of the sport, not for the love of the all mighty dollar.
Take me where baseball is still as American as apple pie.

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