Sportress of Blogitude

Chicago Cubs players aren’t allowed to do anything fun off the field ever


Yahoo! Sports’ Jeff Passan has penned an insightful and interesting piece about how MLB teams are becoming much more persnickety with the standard language put into player contracts in an effort to more closely align the league with how the NFL goes about its business regarding a team’s ability to void a player’s deal due to risky off-the-field behavior.

Or, to put it more accurately — if language obtained by Passan that is part of the standard contract language for the Chicago Cubs is any indication — perhaps “risky off-the-field behavior” is not the correct choice of phrase. “Any off-the-field behavior that barely may be considered risky” would be a much more appropriate turn of phrase.

Below is standard language that the Cubs reportedly include in every contract regarding what a player is not allowed to do:

“(A)uto racing, motorcycling, piloting, co-piloting, learning to operate, or serving as a crew member of, an aircraft, being a passenger in a single engine airplane or private plane, hot air ballooning, parachuting, skydiving, hang gliding, bungee jumping, horseback riding, horse racing, harness racing, fencing, boxing, wrestling, karate, judo, jujitsu, any other form of martial arts activity, use of an All Terrain Vehicle (‘ATV’), skiing (water or snow), snowmobiling, bobsledding, luging, ice hockey, ice boating, field hockey, squash, spelunking, basketball, football, softball, white water canoeing or rafting, kayaking, jai-alai, lacrosse, soccer, tennis, rodeo, bicycle racing, motor boat racing, polo, rugby, rodeo, handball, volleyball, in-line or other roller skating, surfing, hunting, paddleball, racquetball, archery, wood chopping, mountain climbing, boating, any weightlifting not prescribed by or approved in advance by Club (said approval not to be unreasonably withheld), participation in the ‘Superteams’ or ‘Superstars’ activities (or any like activity) or other made-for-television or made-for-motion picture athletic competitions, or any other sport, activity, or negligent act involving a reasonably foreseeable substantial risk of personal injury or death.”\

What’s that? No spelunking? Criminy! Although it is worth noting that Cubs players presumably still are allowed to play the classic video game “Spelunker” on their Commodore 64, should they own that system. Or an Atari 800. Either way, they’re probably good to go.

While some of the behavior barred by what’s stipulated in the language makes a modicum of sense — luging, rodeo, horse racing, as well as skydiving and parachuting (are those even two different activities?) not to mention bungee jumping. The decision to explicitly ban certain potentially treacherous hobbies is one thing, but the degree of specificity seems a bit far-fetched. But major league baseball players, who presumably include some of the better athletes on the planet,  are not allowed to play tennis or go roller skating?

And as far as boating is concerned, when was the last time a person got hurt operating one of these:


Okay, maybe a person could pull a hamstring at worst, but really?

And chopping wood? What if a player and his family spend a wintry vacation at a cabin without heat?

Further, just when we thought that jai-alai was going to make it big in America, the Cubs come along and throw a wrench into the works.

It is understandable that MLB teams want to protect their pricey investments in players paid exorbitant sums of money, but barring them from playing volleyball just seems a tad excessive.

[H/T Eye on Baseball]