As I’m sure you’re all well aware, a tradition exists in baseball, and other North American pro sports, wherein a veteran player joining a new team must compensate the younger player whose jersey number he would like to retain from the time he spent with his previous team. Usually, such compensation consists of a nice watch or a cheque.
After signing a free agent contract with the Atlanta Braves ahead of the 1999 season, outfielder Brian Jordan gave Fredi Gonzalez, who was a mere coach at the time, a souped up Harley Davidson for his number 33. And when Frank Thomas joined the Toronto Blue Jays before the 2007 season, he commissioned a portrait of Lyle Overbay to thank him for giving up the number 35.
With A.J. Burnett recently joining the Pittsburgh Pirates, Daniel McCutchen and his number 34 jersey had a chance to capitalize on the tradition. The right handed reliever wisely avoided a piece of vanity jewelry and asked Burnett to start a College America 529 plan for his yet to be born daughter who is due in May.
When a veteran comes in and takes a number, some of the guys usually get something. I know he has kids. He asked me what I wanted, I brought that up. Eighteen years from now, we’ll see what the market is.
No. You’re a slow news day.