$25 million a year isn’t as easy as it sounds

Furor over athletes’ salaries is nothing new.  From the rise of professional baseball in the 19th century to the salary explosions across all major sports in the 1980s and 1990s, the fans who live and die with their teams have groused about how much the athletes they root for make.  And recently, discussions of executive compensation have fallen into the same category.

They have something else in common: the CEO of a Fortune 500 company and the quarterback of the New York Giants both earned their highly visible positions by winning a largely invisible process where many people competed.  It’s not an easy climb to get to the top of the mountain.

To that point, check out this story out of Louisville about a journeyman minor leaguer named Kevin Barker.  Of course, Barker is getting paid to play a game, but he’s certainly not living a life I would want to live when I reach 34.

At the ballpark Barker, 34, is known as the “old man” among teammates a decade younger. He is old to be playing in the minors, old to be living in a rented apartment near River Road with blankets, not curtains, covering the bedroom windows.

That doesn’t matter to Barker. What matters is making it back to the major leagues. After all, with road trips and home games — which he leaves for in early afternoon and returns from late at night — he is rarely at home. He doesn’t even know his address. He has his mail sent to Louisville Slugger Field so, if need be, it can be forwarded to his next stop.