Baseball stars are some of the highest-paid athletes in the world. While the sport might be struggling to compete with football and basketball in terms of popularity, one place it still can is in the financial department. Baseball franchises are able to pay their stars outrageous salaries, which are often worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Despite the well documented mega deals in MLB, the highest paid player in 2019 might come as a surprise to you.
Stephen Strasburg – $38.8 million
Just this year alone, Stephen Strasbourg is going to take home more money than anyone in MLB in salary. This is the third year of his seven-year contract, but he is due to be paid the largest sum this season. Not all baseball contracts are equal, and often the players aren’t paid a flat salary each year.
If Strasburg sticks with the Nationals until the end of his contract, he will have a huge final season payout of $45 million in 2023. The pitcher struggled with injuries last season but when fit he is considered one of the best in the league.
Max Scherzer – $37.4 million
Not far behind Strasburg in terms of basic salary for 2019 is Max Scherzer. He is in great form and has made the All-Star team four years in a row while playing with the Nationals. Washington has been splashing the cash to make sure they get the top talents, and it seems to be paying off as Scherzer has scooped two Cy Young Awards.
Scherzer’s contract is up in 2021, and he stands to make $30 million in each of his final three seasons. The Nationals have yet to win a World Series, but if they keep adding talent to their roster like Scherzer and Strasburg, it’s only a matter of time before they do.
Although Bryce Harper and Manny Machado just broke $300 million for their total contract values, they won’t be earning the most in the league this season. Thanks to his contract break down, Strasburg is going to be the top earner in MLB this year, closely followed by his Nats teammate, Max Scherzer.
After adopting Reggie the black lab, Anthony was struggling. It got to the point where Reggie’s new owner was about to give up, but then a note from the dog’s former owner changed everything.
A Ruff Start
The shelter told Anthony to give Reggie two weeks to adjust to his new home, but it wasn’t working out. He didn’t want to blame Reggie, maybe it was that Anthony was adjusting to a new town as well. He was ready to give up. But then he found a letter that the previous owner had left with the dog…
A Need for Companionship
Being new in town, Anthony was finding it hard to adjust. The people in the small college town were friendly. However, Anthony felt like something was missing. In an attempt to fill the void in his heart, Anthony went down to the nearby animal shelter looking for some companionship. There, he met Reggie and the connection was instant. Anthony new that taking in a new dog may pose some challenges, but he never thought the black labrador would be such a handful.
Right For Reggie
Anthony had just seen an advertisement for Reggie on the local news. The shelter had received a few calls for him, but they said the people who had come down to see him didn’t look like they were the right fit for Reggie. They must’ve thought Anthony would be good because they gave him Reggie right away and they also included all his things, which consisted of a dog bed, toys (mostly brand new tennis balls) his food bowl, and a sealed letter from his previous owner.
Reggie Wasn’t Happy
Anthony recalled that “Reggie and I didn’t hit it off when we got home. I guess I was expecting a super happy dog, one who would be excited to see me and who would want to play and cuddle more. I found it hard to adjust to the new town as well as a new dog. I was still lonely and it seemed like Reggie wasn’t happy either. I bought him new toys, but that didn’t change anything.”
Was Something Wrong?
It soon became pretty clear that Reggie wasn’t adjusting well. Anthony tried to do the normal commands, ones like “sit” and “stay” and “come” and “heel,” and he’d follow them – sometimes. He never really seemed to listen to his name when he was called – sure, he’d look in Anthony’s direction after he said it a few times, but then he’d go back to doing whatever. Anthony felt like he was maybe doing something wrong, but he wasn’t sure.
Two Weeks Are Up
Anthony explained that, “He chewed a couple of shoes and a few boxes that were still unpacked, so I was a little strict with him, and he disliked it, I could tell. When the two weeks were up, I felt it was time and that I had to take him back. I knew the number for the shelter would be amongst his old stuff, and I remembered leaving it there in one of the boxes in the guest room.”
When Anthony started looking through Reggie’s stuff, he found something unexpected. He had completely forgotten about his old stuff because he had purchased Reggie a bunch of new things. When Reggie noticed his old dog pad, Anthony saw a rare moment of excitement in the dog – Reggie recognized his old things. Anthony rummaged around, and that was when he found a sealed envelope from Reggie’s previous owner. Anthony had completely forgotten about the letter…
“Okay, Reggie,” he said out loud, “let’s see if your previous owner has any advice.” It was a long letter, so Anthony started to read it. “To whoever gets my dog: Well, I can’t say that I’m happy you’re reading this, a letter I told the shelter could only be opened by Reggie’s new owner. I’m not even happy writing it. If you’re reading this, it means I just got back from my last car ride with my Lab after dropping him off at the shelter.”
Something Was Different
It continued, “He knew something was different. I have packed up his bed and toys before and set them by the back door before a trip, but this time, it’s like he could sense that something was wrong. It’s sad for me, but that is why I have decided to write this letter. So let me tell you about my Lab in the hopes that it will help you bond with him and he with you.” The letter only got more emotional…
He then went on to write about Reggie: “First, he loves tennis balls, and he loves to hoard them. He usually always had two in his mouth, and he tries to get a third in there. Hasn’t done it yet. It doesn’t matter where you throw them; he’ll jump right after, so be careful- really don’t do it by any roads. I nearly made that mistake once. Next, commands. Maybe the shelter staff already told you, but I’ll go over them again: Reggie knows the obvious ones- sit, stay, come, heel.”
It seemed that the owner had trained Reggie, as he continued to explain: “He knows hand signals: ‘back’ to turn around and go back when you put your hand straight up; and ‘over’ if you put your hand out right or left. ‘Shake’ for shaking the water off and ‘paw’ for a high- five. He does ‘down’ when he feels like lying down…He knows ball and food and bone and treats like nobody’s business. I trained Reggie with small food treats.” So why didn’t he listen to commands?
The letter went on about Reggie’s feeding regime and said, “Be forewarned: Reggie doesn’t like the vet. Good luck getting him in the car – I don’t know exactly how he knows when it’s time for him to go to the vet, but he can somehow sense it.” We all know that there probably isn’t a dog, or even any pet, that actually enjoys going to the vet, but it was nice of him to warn Anthony!
His Whole Life
“Finally, be patient with him. I have never been married, so it’s only been me in his whole life. He’s used to going everywhere with me, so please include him on your daily car rides if you can.” he wrote. It’s clear to see that these two shared a special bond: “He loves to be around people, especially me. Which means this transition is going to be hard with him going to live with someone new.”
His Name Isn’t Reggie
The writer then began to explain that his real name isn’t Reggie! “I don’t know what made me do it exactly, but when I dropped him off at the shelter, I just told them his name was Reggie. He’s a clever dog; he’ll get used to it and will respond eventually. But I couldn’t bear to give them his real name. For me to do that, it would feel so final and binding, that handing him over was admitting that I’d never see him again.” So what was his name?
If Someone Is Reading
It’s clear how difficult and heartbreaking it must have been for him to write this letter, “But if someone else might be reading it, well, it means that his new owner ought to know his real name. It’ll help you bond with him, and him with you. Who knows, maybe you’ll even notice a change in him if he’s been difficult. And that’s why I need to share one more thing with you…” And this is where the letter really took a turn…
His Real Name
He continued, “His real name is Tank because that’s what I drive. I told the shelter that they couldn’t put ‘Reggie’ up for adoption until they received word from my commander. See my parents have passed, I have no siblings, so there was no one I could’ve left Tank with. It was my only real request of the Army upon my deployment to Iraq that they make one phone call to shelter in the ‘event of…’ To tell them Tank could be put for adoption.” So what was the soldier’s fate?
Tank Is My Family
At this point, we can tell just how much Tank meant to his previous owner and the love they shared, and as the letter progresses, it becomes all the more tragic to read: “Well, this letter is getting depressing, even though, I am just writing it for my dog. But dogs can be like family and he has been with me for the past six years, almost as long as the Army has been my family.”
“That unconditional love from a dog is what I will take with me to Iraq as an inspiration to do something selfless, to protect innocent people from those who would do terrible things.” By this, the writer shows just how much of their bond has strengthened him. “If I had to give up Tank to do it, I’m glad to have done so. He was my example of service and love. I hope I honored him by my service to my country and comrades.”
“Okay, then. I leave this evening and have to drop this letter off at the shelter. I don’t think I can bear another goodbye to Tank, though. I cried so much the first time; maybe I’ll peek in on him and see if he finally managed to get that third tennis ball in his mouth. All the best of luck with Tank. Give him a good home, and give him an extra kiss goodnight- every night- from me. Thank you, Paul Mallory.” And with that, he signed off his note. Suddenly, Anthony had a realization…
The letter ended with Paul Mallory’s signature, and that’s when everything made sense. Even though he was new to town, Anthony had heard about Paul Mallory. Paul was a local young man who had joined the army and was killed while saving three fellow soldiers in Iraq. Paul had even been on the news for posthumously earning a Silver Star for being a hero. All summer, flags had been flying at half-mast all over town. As Anthony was fighting back the tears, he turned to Tank…
Anthony then said, “Hey, Tank.” The pup quickly looked at Anthony, and his ears began to perk up. Anthony called Tank over to him, and the dog took off in excitement. Anthony said Tank’s name a few more times, and for the first time in two weeks, the pup began to lighten up. Anthony hugged him and petted him and asked him if he wanted to play ball. Tank immediately ran to the next room and grabbed three tennis balls. Anthony immediately knew things would never be the same.
Once he learned what Tank had been through, it all came together. Anthony knew that he had to keep him. He also knew that he wanted to honor Paul’s request. “I can only hope and pray that you make him part of your family and that he will adapt and come to love you the same way he loved me,” Paul wrote. The letter touched Anthony, since he knew exactly what had happened to Tank’s poor owner…
Just like Paul, many soldiers don’t have anyone to leave their pets with when they’re deployed. Fortunately, some organizations help find foster homes for their beloved fur babies. Guardian Angels For Soldier’s Pets and Dogs On Deployment are two of those organizations. If you have the room in your home, and your life, for a temporary fur baby, then consider taking in a soldier’s dog. Soldiers, just like Paul, would be more than grateful.