Top 25 Athletes Who Make Far Too Much Money

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25 Most Overpaid Athletes

overpaid athletes
Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Have you ever wondered which athletes are far too overpaid for their own good? We all know that there are a wealth of those kind of guys in sports, and some may argue that all athletes are overpaid because they get to play a game for a living.

However, the reality of it all is that these guys put their health on the line every day -- and sometimes lose the battle to stay healthy and end their careers early. Guys like Alex Rodriguez are surely overpaid, right? I mean the guy cheated his way through baseball and somehow has the audacity to remain in the game and appeal the year and a half suspension placed upon him by the MLB. It's almost unfair that a guy who doesn't produce like he should have when he signed a monster deal play meaningful games late in the year.

On the other hand, there are some athletes who are severely underpaid and most of which are still under their rookie contracts. It's hard to tell how much an athlete is going to live up to expectations when they sign a huge contract for a long period of time, but more often than not, it doesn't turn out well for the organization.

Athletes have been increasingly making more, on average, throughout the years and some of these contract that pay the players $100 million or more are just ridiculous. How can you say the guy is going to be as good as he's been in years past. Another factor that decides athlete's high pay is how well they perform in a contract year. This means that their contract is about to be up and they know they need to play their best in order to earn a high salary for the following season.

I have compiled a list of the 25 most overpaid athletes in sports today. Tell me who I missed and who shouldn't be on the list.

Connor Muldowney is a columnist for Follow him on Twitter @Connormuldowney, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. You can also reach him at

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Honorable Mention: Anthony Bennett

Eric P. Mull-USA TODAY Sports

Let's get this straight, Anthony Bennett was the No. 1 pick in the 2013 NBA Draft and he only averages 2.5 points per game and just over 10 minutes per game? Yeah, he's probably not worth the hefty No. 1 overall pick contract.

Contract: Two-year, $10.88 million

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Honorable Mention: Santonio Holmes

Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Playing in 11 games and catching 23 passes for just 456 yards just one year after playing in four games and catching 20 passes for 272 yards should not be enough to earn him the kind of money he's getting.

Contract: 3-year, $25.25 million

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25. Dwayne Bowe

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Dwayne Bowe didn't have the best of seasons in 2013 and he made out like a bandit when he signed his contract worth $56 million over five years. Bowe caught just 57 passes for 673 yards and five touchdowns.

Contract: five-year, $56 million

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24. Ben Gordon

Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

Ben Gordon earned himself a huge contract a few years back with the Detroit Pistons, but he has not done much to earn the ridiculous amounts of money. Since hitting the 20 points per game mark with the Chicago Bulls in 2008-09, Gordon hasn't averaged more than 14 points per game.

Contract: 5-year, $50 million

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23. Jay Cutler

Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Jay Cutler is the franchise quarterback of the Chicago Bears, but that doesn't change the fact that he has failed on multiple occasions to lead them to the promised land: the Super Bowl -- and Chicago wants to keep him around for a while.

Contract: 7-year, $126 million

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22. Kobe Bryant

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Kobe Bryant is one of the best basketball players of our era, but paying him as much as the Los Angeles Lakers are paying him is just ridiculous. Bryant suffered yet another injury that may end his season and his huge contract extension might be a bad idea now.

Contract: Signed a 2-year, $48.5 million extension in 2013

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21. Prince Fielder

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Prince Fielder disappears in the playoffs and swings for the fences or strikes out. He is a high risk, high reward player, but he is not as reliable as they come. Luckily, the Texas Rangers get to take on that huge contract and inconsistent batting.

Contract: 9-year, $214 million

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20. Michael Vick

Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Vick was once one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. After two straight poor seasons in 2011 and 2012, the big contract he signed a few years ago is looking a bit silly -- especially because he has a hard time staying healthy.

Contract: $12.5 million for 2013

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19. Ryan Howard

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Ryan Howard, at one time, used to be able to hit over .270 with power and decent production. He hasn't hit over .270 for the past three seasons and has just 58 homers and 123 RBI combined.

Contract: $20 million for 2013

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18. Derek Jeter

Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

Derek Jeter has play in just a few games this season, yet he's set to make more money you'll see in a lifetime.

Contract: $17 million for 2013

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17. Sam Bradford

Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Sam Bradford signed a huge contract in 2010 as a rookie that would make some NFL vets blush. That huge contract has failed to produce over 3,800 yards, 21 touchdowns or seven wins in a single season.

Contract: Signed 6-year, $78 million deal in 2010

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16. Floyd Mayweather

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Floyd "Money" Mayweather is the best fighter in the world. The world champion boxer is unbeaten in 45 matches and gets paid handsomely every time he takes his talents into the ring. Some people would argue that he gets paid far too much for just throwing some punches for an hour or two and leaving.

Contract: Makes own profits; two wins accumulated over $100 million in 2013

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15. Tim Lincecum

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Lincecum was once one of the best pitchers in baseball with his whacky delivery and adoration from fans. However, he has dropped out of the discussion for best MLB pitcher and is now just the biggest goof.

Contract: $18 million for 2013

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14. Alfonso Soriano

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Sure, Soriano has been money for the Yankees since they acquired him before the trade deadline, but he's still nearing retirement age and the Yankees picked up a monster contract.

Contract: $18 million for 2013

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13. Chris Bosh

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Let's face it, Chris Bosh has been the forgotten guy member of the "big three" in Miami. He's like the third wheel in Dwyane Wade and LeBron James' friendship. He was expected to do far more than he has with the Heat and is getting paid way too much to be average.

Contract: $19.1 million in 2013-14

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12. Albert Pujols

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Albert Pujols was brought to the Los Angeles Angels to win them a World Series prior to the 2012 season, however, the Angles have yet to benefit from the aging superstar. He has been nothing short of a disappointment for Los Angeles.

Contract: $16 million in 2013

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11. Johan Santana

The Star-Ledger-USA TODAY Sports

Johan Santana has yet to play a single game in 2013 and the New York Mets' front office is probably in major panic mode. He also started just 21 games in 2012 and had an ERA that approached five. Oh yeah, and he will be 35 by the time the 2014 season begins.

Contract: $25.5 million in 2013

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10. Gilbert Arenas

Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

How could we forget Gilbert Arenas? Oh, maybe because he hasn't been in the league for a couple years now. He tried working his way onto NBA teams in the past couple of years, but eventually took his talents overseas. How is he overpaid, you ask? Check out his crazy contract numbers below -- he's set to be the third highest paid player in the NBA next season because of a guaranteed contract amount and he's not even in the league anymore.

Contract: $20.81 million for 2013-14

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9. Tony Romo

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Tony Romo seems to be the model of consistently average. He has yet to lead the Cowboys to a playoff win in his time as Dallas' starter, but could this be the year? Probably not. Overpaid indeed.

Contract: Signed 7-year, $119.5 million contract in March 2013

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8. Amar'e Stoudemire

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Amar'e used to be the best big man in the league in his prime about eight years ago, but he has since seen his health decline drastically. He looks as injury prone as ever, playing just two full season in the past five years.

Contract: $21.7 million for 2013-14

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7. Mario Williams

Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Mario Williams is a former top pick in the 2006 NFL Draft. He is a sack artist, but has never accumulated more than 45 tackles in a single season from the defensive end position.

Contract: Signed 6-year, $96 million contract in 2012

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6. Vernon Wells

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

It was one of the worst contract signed in baseball history, but Vernon Wells struck gold with the Toronto Blue Jays, then Los Angeles Angles and now the New York Yankees. He's a pretty average MLB player to be making the amount of money he does.

Contract: Signed 7-year, $126 million contract in 2010

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5. Joe Flacco

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Joe Flacco won a Super Bowl in 2012-13, so what does that mean? Well, a record contract, of course. He is average and this season might expose that fact.

Contract: Set to make $30 million in 2013

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4. Mark Sanchez

The Star-Ledger-USA TODAY Sports

I could count the amount of people that like Mark Sanchez as a starting quarterback in this league on one hand. However, he's pretty rich. Too bad for the quarterbacks who can actually throw the ball that make less money than him.

Contract: Signed 5-year, $58 million in 2012

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3. Dwight Howard

Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Dwight Howard was the biggest distraction in basketball in 2012-13. Sometimes his personality outweighs his ability to produce on the court. The fact that he can be such a distraction and take away from his team's season makes him vastly overpaid. Lots of talent with too much baggage.

Contract: $20.5 million in 2013-14

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2. Josh Hamilton

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Josh Hamilton, in the same boat as Pujols, was brought in to make the Angels a World Series favorite, but have failed miserably. The Angels should have learned from their mistakes and not offered a guy who's over the age of 30 a long-term contract for a ridiculous amount of money.

Contract: $15 million for 2013

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1. Alex Rodriguez

John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Alex Rodriguez has to be the most hated man in sports today. Also the most overpaid -- he singed the biggest baseball contract of all-time a couple seasons ago. He is a cheater who deserves no money and he has barely produced in the past couple seasons for the Yankees. Way overpaid, to say the least.

Contract: $28 million for 2013

Around the Web

  • Who

    Erm… Not ever ONE single soccer player? Cristiano Ronaldo? $206 million over 5 years… Sounds extremely overpaid to me. This article should be re-titled “Football, Baseball and Basketball players who get paid to much (plus Floyd Mayweather)”.

    • Rauven

      He made most of his money from advertising for nike than actually from football:
      His average is 40 million (euro) per year but he has a contract of “only” 10m (euro) per year.

      Many NFL, baseball and NBA players still make more than him or any other sports player in the world if you look at their contract pays alone and don’t count advertising money.

    • Jason Blaesing

      What about Clint Dempsey?

  • EATitCNN


  • SurfinUSA

    Let’s keep in mind that Bradford had to work in 3 different offensive systems under 3 different offensive coordinators under 2 head coaches. He didn’t have reliable receivers and his offensive line allowed Bradford to be a near leader in sacks in 2010. This year Jeff Fisher has put the right kind of talent around Bradford and Brian Schottenheimer’s playbook is the same from last year’s. Jeff Fisher had a choice of taking the head job at Miami or St. Louis. Fisher said it was not a hard decision because “it is rare when you have a franchise quarterback that has the natural ability and accuracy as Sam Bradford. He’s the reason I came here.” Fisher believes he can build a play-off contender with Bradford under center.

    VERDICT: Jury is still out on Bradford. He has new people around him and St. Louis will advance depending on how they “gel” as a team and a favorable injured reserve list. Probable finish: 9-7 and miss play-offs due to the NFL West. 2014 will be a year where the Rams could make a run for the whole burrito.

  • DutchS

    Any athlete or coach that gets paid more than an average teacher is overpaid. At best these guys are semi-skilled manual laborers.

  • World Issues Truth filtering the nonsense…

  • Plexus

    Let’s remember that Vick’s contract is not 12.3 Mil this year, it’s been reworked and is almost completely results oriented, as in not much garaunteed money.

  • Ken Engle

    Could be wrong but didnt the Romo lead Cowboys beat the Eagles in a Playoff game then lose to the Vikings the next week?

    • Connor Muldowney

      That was the last game of the season to win the division, then lost to the Vikings in the divisional round.

      • Ken Engle

        No Dallas beat philly 24-0 in the final game of the season. Then played them again because philly was the wildcard team and beat them 34-14
        They lost to the vik8ngs in the divisional round after that

        • Michael Jelencovich

          LMFAO don’t let facts get in the way of an absolute gem of a list. What a joke, who proofreads these “articles”

      • Michael Jelencovich

        HOW DO YOU NOT KNOW THIS ?!?!?!?!!?! did you write this in 5 minutes?

  • jfoster13

    Blame the Wizards for the ridiculous deal that Gilbert Arenas got. These team owners will never learn. The guy won’t step onto an NBA floor and will haul in $20 mil??? WTF!

  • Ken White

    Absolutely terrible writing throughout this piece. Hire a copy editor, please

    • anonymous

      You forgot a period at the end of your last sentence.

  • Gene St Onge

    How can you possibly forget Barry Zito’s 7-year contract with the SF Giants??

    • SlammoFandango

      No kidding. A’s fans are STILL laughing about Zito but that guy pitches well in ONE World Series outing and everybody forgets what a bust he was. But seriously, I think it might be a little early to write off Tim Lincecum. Sure the guy struggled with health issues last year but he still was able to pitch a no hitter. The bottom line is the Giants have followed up both their WS victories with horrible seasons with no run production and terrible fielding. You can’t blame a mediocre season from a pitcher as the reason for a team finishing in the cellar.

    • AJ

      Yeah that wouldn’t just be on the list, it would be #1. You’re telling me Prince Fielder is more overpaid than Zito? Yowza.

  • ConservaDave2

    I’m constantly amazed at the long term contracts thrown at players at their peak. Might work out well for a year or two but always seems like the owners aren’t considering age (or weight [C.C. Sabbathia]) will catch up with them sooner rather than later. How much more exciting when they develop a young player from within the organization who has years of good play ahead of him.

  • David Sieradzki

    Two things… Vick was never one of the best QBs in the NFL. IMO he may be the most overrated player in any sport in history.
    And yes, Tim Lincecum is now a joke. I’m a Giants fan and hope they get rid of him.

  • ollierages


  • Brian Smith

    Connor Muldowney,
    Thank you for straw that broke the camels back. This website is just as bad as Bleacherreport; and now you can add to your list of achievements of driving away an avid sports fan for putting together an illogical list that is utterly ridiculous. I will never click another link to this website. Congrats, Connor!

    • Connor Muldowney

      What an honor. Thanks for the read, but I’m not quite sure what your argument is or what you disagree with, but I would love to hear! Email me at if you disagree so strongly.

  • BigRedJonson

    You left off Brad Richards of the New York Rangers, who will be paid $9 million dollars for the 2013-14 season ($6.67 million cap hit). His enormous contract puts Richards among the highest paid players in the NHL, but is he one of the best players in the league? If you think so I’ve got a bridge in Brooklyn that’s for sale. Buying out Richards’ contract was a no-brainer for everyone except clueless Rangers GM Glen Sather, who’s also a no-brainer…

  • Dwayne Wayne

    Almost all pro-athletes are higly overpaid, but at least your list is about people making “way, way” more than they are worth.

  • Illya S

    This is the dumbest thing I have ever seen, will only comment on Basketball though, without Bosh miami would not have won their first title in 2012, he lit up the celtics in last 2 games, without him they would have been eliminated, he is a very good player, and much better than Wade in 2013. Second of all, Dwight Howard is the best center in the NBA, he has baggage yes, but he is the best center in the NBA, defensive captain, rebounding and blocking machine. Andrew Bynum, Gilbert Arenas and Amare are the only people who should be on this list. If you wanted to start a controversy, could have mentioned Kobe. His contract is a little ridiculous. He deserved it, but could have taken a pay-hit like Tim Duncan or Lebron to have a decent squad surrounding him to win another championship.

    • vern vern

      I agree. Bosh has done his job. He’s just playing his role. He put his ego aside so the three could mesh and so far it’s worked. Howard like you said has some baggage but he’s the best center they have in the league right now.
      I can’t speak about the baseball except for Alex Rodriguez, and football.

  • vern vern

    I think all those owners that give out those long term contracts are crazy. Maybe 1 or 2 out of 10 play up to expectations throughout the contract. Most play good for 1 maybe 2 seasons then sit back and count their money.

  • Gra

    When was Michael Vick “one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL”? Everything that ever happened to him, every problem he ever had on and off the field, was being shouted from the rooftops before he ever joined the league: Work ethic, fumbles because his hands are too small to wrap the ball up, hangs around with people that, ahem, aren’t interested in his image or theirs, injury prone because he took to the open field too often, happy feet in the pocket,.. it’s a relly long list and it was old by the time he played his last game at Va. Tech. I don’t think anybody ever took him seriously, and the teams that may have are probably a who’s who of perennial NFL losers. Winning organizations just don’t make mistakes like overlooking all Vick’s liabilities. What you’re seeing from him now, was he ever better?

  • Gra

    As far as Howard goes,.. I don’t think his personality “weighs” that much, lol. He has some physical ability, nothing special as near seven footers go. I’d have taken three other NBA centers over him at any point in the last four years. Three of them vastly better in every , TC, TD and Hibbert. Is he overpaid? As long as you understand that he isn’t getting paid to lead the Rox on the floor or anywhere else. He’s just a speedbump who can also block shots, and hopefully make the OTHER TEAM’S big guy start breathing hard and fouling by the end of the first half. That’s all the Rox want, and what they haven’t had since the mid-’90s. The other four guys will take turns at the wheel, and Howard and Asik will be one of the best if not the best inside combos since Robinson/Duncan

  • Brian Brotherton

    What? I’m sorry – I can’t say no offense because clearly this is offensive – but what horrendous writing. These sentences… I mean… I don’t even know what to say. They just randomly take these weird nonsensical or oddly redundant turns. It’s like it was written by a 5 year old Chinese boy on crack.

    • Connor Muldowney

      Thank you, Brian.

      • Matt

        Are you saying “thank you” because you because you think he’s right?

        • Connor Muldowney

          Yes, I believe I write like a five-year-old Chinese boy on crack. Accurate statement.

          • Matt

            It’s unfortunate that rather than take these comments as a reason to get better, you’re responding by being snarky and sarcastic. While his verbiage may not have been entirely accurate, the point of his comment was. You write considerably better than a five-year-old Chinese boy on crack, but you also write considerably worse than anyone trying to get into writing should. I’m not trying to be rude, but this list is incredibly poorly written. It is very clear that you are not a writer by trade. I have actually noticed the same snarkiness and sarcasm (borderline rudeness) on several other comments as well, and I’m not sure if you’re just trying to be a dick and shock people with your callous attitude, or if you really can’t tell that they have good points. This is just a poorly put-together list by a part-time sports fan and some-time writer on a third-rate fansite, and that shows. That doesn’t make you a bad person, but being a dick to people who are letting you know it’s not very good makes you kind of a shitty person. You don’t need to be so aggressive in your responses, it surely will drive people away more than you think.

          • Connor Muldowney


            Thanks for the reply, but if me not taking something personally and joking about it to lighten the mood is snarky and sarcastic, then let me be the first to apologize.

            To address your other concern. I actually put this list together to show who the most overpaid athletes were. There are about one or two sentences on each slide just stating facts and listing stats. If that makes my writing poor, then I, again, apologize.

            As for my writing career, I am actually a full-time writer with a degree in journalism. If people are using this as the only barometer to measure my writing(a list of facts and stats), then shame on them.

  • Wepaar

    Thank you for the list….! What about Lebron James…..?

  • Michael O’Donnell

    You’re like some no talent artist who thinks because some donut shop puts up her crap art she has some discernible talent–go back to getting wasted with your friends and stop embarrassing yourself.

  • Thomas DePaolo

    whoever wrote this is an idiot…Jeter is set to make $12 mil not 17 and it is because they know hes probably going to retire and they are rewarding him for the 5 rings he helped bring to NY…MORON!

    • Connor Muldowney

      Dear Thomas, you should look at the date this article was posted. Then Google Derek Jeter’s 2013 salary. You will find it was $17 million. Thanks for the comment with no research to back it.

  • Thomas DePaolo

    actually alot of these figures are off…maybe you should know what youre talking about before you start writing sports articles

    • Connor Muldowney

      Actually, like I mentioned in a previous response to you, all of the figures were very accurate. I didn’t pull them out of nowhere. Maybe you should do your research before you comment on sports articles.

  • goggles pisano

    All of them.

  • Christopher Bogart

    Um most of the people on this list are the best at what they do and have earned those contracts. My guess is that it makes you mad that these athletes get paid so much.

  • Brian Tomer

    Kobe might get payed a lot, but he isn’t overpaid. The lakers get a lot more money off of Kobe than what they’re paying him

    • AJ

      Other than your use of the fictitious word “payed,” I completely agree. And that’s what I brought up in my comment above. Many of these are MORE than worth it for their respective teams.

  • Jeffrey Yaws

    Wow..Mario Williams REALLY…WORST LIST EVER…Really please hire me..MARIO WILLIAMS is a beast..You want to know who else hasn’t accumulated 65 tackles in 1 season..CLAY MATTHEWS..Maybe he should be on this list too right? Literally your writer doesn’t know what he’s talking about..HIRE ME!

  • Jon Holden

    Amare Stoudemire was NEVER the best big man in the league.
    He was never even in the top 5.
    Who the fuck writes these captions..

  • AJ

    While I agree with some of them, I think what this is lacking is context. Some of these guys, overpaid as they may be, are worth it for their respective clubs. And to get “guaranteed” production in today’s game costs more than it ever has. I’d rather waste 50M of a 200M contract if it meant we had a better club for 4 of the 7 years, or whatever it may be. Also, often times on-the-field/court production isn’t the only thing these contracts provide. There’s much more in ticket sales, jersies, etc.

  • AJ

    Judging by the overwhelming majority of comments agreeing with me, I’ll chalk this up as one bad article. It’s a shame too – many people would agree on overpaid athletes if presented a reasonable list with accurate figures. But you start adding consistent veterans who are more than deserving of a big payday, and it eliminates every ounce of trust the reader has for the writer. Just one of the many reasons I’m starting my own website to compete with the Rant and Bleachers of the world wide web. T-minus 65 days until launch.

  • CaptQT

    Writing like THIS earned you a 3.30 in Journalism from Michigan State? Wow! Standards certainly have tumbled in recent years. Weak premise and even weaker presentation…

  • IDoNotBowToCommies

    The Giants signed The Freak to that huge contract with declining pitching numbers. It’s not like LA would have picked him up — they would have known better.

  • IDoNotBowToCommies

    Not often do we see authors dare comment on their own stories with Discus……

    • Connor Muldowney

      I’m pretty daring.