Show Don the Money

Courtesy of Tripp Mickle of SPORTS BUSINESS JOURNAL (Motto: "Sign Up for a Free Subscription, Then We'll Bill You for $400, Then You'll Decide You don't Really Care That Much After All") comes word that Major League Soccer is in the beginning stages of negotiating a new contract with Our beloved Commissioner, Don Garber.

“Do we want to get Don a renewal?” Leiweke said. “Yes. He’s a good commissioner and he’s done a good job. [But] there’s unpredictability right now with the CBA. Once we have predictability, we’ll get Don done.”

(One is tempted to think that if he had to do it over, "MLS Looks to Lock Up Garber" might be an unfortunate construct, but that's quibbling. Much more troubling is a visual of the Owners "doing" Don, but I'll pass on that one as well)

His current compensation package, which amounts to around $1 million a year, was at one time higher than any player in the league besides Landon Donovan. Then of course along came various Cuauhtémocs-come-latelies (not to mention David Beckham, whose contract is so shrouded in mystery and myth that I doubt even Posh knows what he makes over here) and he dropped down the pecking order a bit.

Now, however, the word Mickle passes along is that The Dons' new deal will likely end up in the $3 million/per neighborhood.

In other words, unless the CBA provides for a much bigger salary budget that anyone sane currently imagines, the Commissioner will be making more than the entire roster of most teams.

Honestly, he's a bargain at that price. Sooner or later one of the big three professional sports will have an opening and Garber will almost certainly be on their short list. If you recall the Doug Logan administration, and how close the league was to tossing in the towel before The Don came on board, you know what a superb job the guy has done.

He takes a whole bunch of crap for stuff that the Board of Governors are actually responsible for, and does it with good grace. Sure he has occasionally said and done some things which make you scratch your head, but he's getting better at that stuff.

Meanwhile, he was the driving force behind S.U.M. ("It's his baby, 100%" as one league guy once commented) which has turned the league into a financial winner and has made owning a team a not-altogether-unattractive financial proposition which, in turn, has brought in lots of eager new owners waving lots of large checks.

I often make the point that much of the criticism Garber gets is unwarranted since, in reality, he's an employee whose job is to do the owners' bidding, and it's true.

At the same time, as he's demonstrated that he knows what he's doing, everyone agrees that his influence has grown substantially and while he still isn't exactly Czar of MLS, he has a great deal of influence where it counts and it's likely that he'll have a lot to say about where the current CBA talks are headed.

When Don talks, people listen,