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Bobby Bonilla: The American Dream

Today we celebrate Bobby Bonilla and the paycheck from the Mets that allows him to live the American Dream: getting paid not to work.

Bobby Bonilla Day Story Mets Contract Details
Photo: Mint Mobile

Happy July 1st, aka Bobby Bonilla Day! The calendar has turned over and we are getting into the swing of summer. July 4th is just a few days away and we all hopefully have plans to look forward to. It may be a bit premature to light up some of your stockpile of fireworks. Then again, my neighbors here on the South Side of Chicago have been at it for about a week and likely will continue for another week after the 4th.

It’s a day worth celebrating our country but also a day to celebrate someone living the true American Dream. That person is none other than Bobby Bonilla.

Every time July 1 comes around, as many already know, the New York Mets cut Bonilla a check for $1,193,248.20. And they will do so through 2035. That’s 13 more years of celebrating this man’s paycheck. Bonilla will be 72 years old when the deal expires. The day is somewhat of a joke and symbol for everything that has gone wrong for the Mets. As a Chicago White Sox fan, I feel their pain.

How Could this Happen?

Former Mets owners Fred and Jeff Wilpon were involved with Bernie Madoff in the infamous $64.8 billion Ponzi scheme. They decided to buy out the $6 million they owed Bobby Bonilla in 2000 to invest it with Madoff. In exchange, they would give him deferred payments at 8% interest. It has turned into $29.8 million.

The Wilpons no longer own the Mets after selling the franchise to Steve Cohen for $2.375 billion in 2020. Cohen even has a little fun with the day himself — and why not do so when you’re worth $15 billion.

Even The Mets Celebrate Bobby Bonilla Day

The Mets are now embracing the contract that still pays Bonilla annually. There is an NFT project with Bonilla and the Simple NFT company in the works. It will include autographed Bonilla bats, baseball cards, zoom sessions, and spending a day with the man himself on Bobby Bonilla day at Citi Field.

Mets owner Steve Cohen is considering the idea of parading him around in a car at their ballpark. The original contract will even be on display for a week at the National Sports Convention on July 27 before being sold via auction by Goldin Memorabilia Auctions. It might even sell for the July 1 payment amount.

Talk about the American Dream.

It’s truly an “Only in America” type of story. Across his 16-year career, Bonilla was a three-time Silver Slugger Award winner, a six-time All-Star, and a World Series champion in 1997.

However, Bobby Bonilla will be remembered for the gift that keeps giving. It’s so fitting to me that we are on the cusp of Independence Day and we have this occasion to celebrate. It truly reminds me of what’s possible and the man who is living the American Dream: getting paid millions of dollars to not work.

We salute Bobby Bonilla. Enjoy your day sir!

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