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Warning signs that you might be a prima donna

Special to Page 2

We all know what a prima donna is, don't we? It's the other guy.

Alex Rodriguez
Does your $252 million contract also contain performance incentives?
That's right, it's always someone else who makes the outrageous demands, who thinks he or she is God's gift to the world, who wants the private jet, the private office and the personal billboards. Not us. We're just underappreciated working stiffs looking for our fair share and a little respect. Not like all those ungrateful SOBs who want their own personal Homer Simpson-sized slice of the TV revenue pie.

Well, the unfortunate truth is that we often can find many of those prima donnas right in the mirror. (And by we, I naturally really mean everybody but me.)

But being a prima donna does not mean we must stay a prima donna. We can change our ways and the first step to recovery is recognizing the problem.

Here then are the early warning signs you might be a prima donna:

  • You sign a $252 million contract and insist on a $50,000 performance incentive for finishing ninth in the MVP voting.

  • You're a billionaire owner who sticks the public for the construction costs of a $350 million stadium, raise ticket prices 40 percent as soon as it opens, then criticize the best player on your team for being greedy during contract negotiations.

  • You give all five of your male children your first name.

  • You give none of your six children your last name.

  • Four weeks into a strike, you arrive at a union meeting in a limousine.

  • You do not wear a silver star, hunt horse thieves or date Miss Kitty -- but you have a posse anyway.

  • You "write" an autobiography and claim you were misquoted in the controversial passages.

  • You are so oblivious to teammates and coaches that the only person you can -- and do -- refer to in the third person is yourself.

  • You pay $500 million for a last-place team, then blame the players for causing economic ruin to the sport.

  • You demand a tent at spring training to sell your official memorabilia with your name and logo on it.

  • You have official memorabilia with your name and logo on it.

  • You write a column criticizing an athlete's greed when you're still trying to claim alimony as your sole charitable contribution.

  • A photo of you posing without a swoosh on your clothes is as rare as a clear, verifiable photo of Big Foot, the Loch Ness Monster or J.D. Salinger.

  • You prefer to watch the games on TV, but you do so while sitting in the back of a climate-controlled, mahogany-paneled, marble-floored, catered luxury suite at the stadium.

  • You are the only person allowed to use your golf ball.

  • You think that paying $500 million for a football team instantly gives you the knowledge and expertise of Vince Lombardi.

    Scott Boras
    Is this man on your speed dial?
  • You will gladly attach your deceased client's name to a coffee machine, but not a city playground.

  • Scott Boras is on your speed dial.

  • You release a rap CD containing songs turned down by Eminem as too over the top.

  • The only time you spend with the sick and infirm is when your family checks you into the Betty Ford Clinic.

  • You maintain you are not a role model at the same time negotiating for a higher endorsement fee from your shoe company.

  • You think ESPN shows more highlights of Jim Edmonds than of you.

  • When negotiating a new multi-million dollar contract, you use the words, "It's not about the money."

  • And finally, you really know you're a prima donna if you're a sportswriter who has never paid for a ticket to a sporting event, who travels to the Olympics, the World Series, Wimbledon, Masters and Final Four on the company dime, who eats for free at the stadium before games, who snacks on free cola and hot dogs in the heated/air conditioned press box -- and who howls like Madonna in heat when a game goes into extra innings and forces you to work an extra 20 minutes.

    Jim Caple, who writes a weekly "Off Base" column for's baseball page, is a regular contributor to Page 2.

  • warning signs 

    Wiley: Prima donnas I have known

    Lipsyte: The primo prima donnas

    Kreidler: Cream of the prima donna crop

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