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Superstars vs. rookies
in the Tale of Tape

Page 2 columnist

Ah, pitchers and catchers. They signal the coming of spring. And for baseball players, it means one of two things -- you're a superstar assured of a roster slot and easing into the grind, or you're a rookie on the bubble with little in the bank and lots to prove.

But who really has the best ride in baseball's lazy, hazy warmup? Superstars, rookies -- let's see how they stack up at the tale of the tape ...

Category Superstars Rookies Advantage
Most popular expectoration Scrawking amber tobacco juice between pitches Blowing chunks through your mask when you realize you have to catch Randy Johnson Push
Reaction to entering the clubhouse Tip the clubhouse attendant $100 to swab your ears "Golly! Take a look at all this here free gum!" Push. Any luxury once tasted becomes a necessity.
Typical player résumés Led majors in slugging percentage Drove a Coors truck Superstar
For the love of God, never ... Stash both mistresses in the same hotel Point out the remarkable sag of the skipper's plumb sack Push. And let's please move on ...
What you secretly fear they'll find out "I can't count." "I can't read." Push -- neither has prevented anyone from playing Major League Baseball
The bottom line Between taxes, agent, and child support, your take-home on $7 million is actually $47 bucks. "Maybe if I save up my per diem, I can buy new underpants." Superstar
What to pack Just enough jewelry to get you through the month Bus fare home Superstar
Dinner "You can't find good sushi in Port St. Lucie!" "This is the best dang Denny's ever!" Rookie
Lip service Everyone tells the press the 50 pounds you gained in the offseason will melt away by June. Everyone reassures you not to worry they assigned you uniform No. 273. Push
High-risk behavior Luring the owner's daughter out to the bullpen Throwing at McGwire's head Push
Typical feedback from coaching staff "Please don't get me fired." "Son, have you ever considered farming?" Push
Cocktail of choice Sauza, with a beer chaser Steroids, with a human growth hormone chaser Rookie -- better results
It's worth going through the hard parts because ... There are no hard parts. Even utility players make seven figures a year. Push. Everyone's a winner when charity takes home the cup
Recreational transportation A rented Cadillac to the nearest Hooters! A borrowed Schwinn to 7-11 Superstar
If you make it, you can look forward to ... Cleaning up at card shows well into your 90s Finally not being referred to as a 32-year-old rookie Push

So, there you have it. It's all so simple when you break things down scientifically. In a blowout, the advantage goes to the superstars. No shock there, but think about it this way, rookie -- you got to chew a lot of free gum. Until next time, I'm Nick Bakay reminding you, the numbers never lie.

Humorist Nick Bakay, currently a writer for the CBS sitcom "King of Queens," is a regular contributor to ESPN The Magazine and Page 2. He has a Web site at

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