Just over a week ago, it was announced that Miguel Cabrera, arguably the best player in Major League Baseball today, had signed a contract extension with the Detroit Tigers. This extension will see him paid $292 million over the next ten years. The deal is for $248 million over eight years in addition to the $44 million on the last two years of his current contract, and as previously stated totals $292 million, the largest contract ever. Interesting that the Tigers decided to throw this money at Cabrera. For about half of it they could have bought the entire city, am I wrong?
The franchise did. however, allot that amount to him over the next ten years and there are numerous reasons, why, mostly having to do with his incredible hitting record. As a fielder, he is decent. His statistics on the hot corner are somewhat subpar, as he has a fairly low range factor, at just 2.42, and his fielding percentage for career stats is respectable, but nothing that will ever drop a manager’s jaw at just .956. At first base, range factor is a garbage stat, so I won’t address it, but his career fielding percentage at the position is .992; not bad, but yet again not something that earns a man almost $300 million over ten years. So we can call him a reliable fielder. Maybe even a solid fielder, as his blunders are few and far between, and along with first and third, he has demonstrated himself to be a capable outfielder as well. His versatility is unquestionable, and in terms of fielding, he can play as a jack of all trades. There is definitely something to be said for his overall athleticism.
Hitting is a different story. The guy can do just about everything with a bat in his hands. He’s like a 6’4 Venezuelan Yoda and the bat is his lightsaber. Looking at on base percentage, he is currently fifth among all players in the league. He’s currently ninth among active players when it comes to home runs, but he is the youngest of all the players ahead of him, with the next youngest being Adam Dunn and Albert Pujols, both two years his senior. At this point, he is on track to at least catch up to Jason Giambi in terms of career home runs. Will he make a home run record? Probably not, but he hits them consistently and is the only player since 1967 to win the batting Triple Crown (batting average, home runs and RBI’s). Along with that his on base percentage is nearly .400, bordering on Godly.
Here is a list of ways the Detroit Tigers could have spent that $292 million if they had spent it on military weapons. All figures for each item are from reputable sites, but weapon prices vary depending on the year and inflation. I’m not saying that baseball franchises should shut down their operations and become private military companies, but it wouldn’t be a bad idea, I mean it worked for Erik Prince (founder of Blackwater, later XE Services, now Academi and no longer owned by Prince). Too bad his guys had to go and ruin the good name of military contractors for the rest of us. Anyway, here are ten other ways the Tigers could have hypothetically spent that $292 million.
10 FN SCAR-L @ $2,300 Apiece: 126,956 Units
The FN SCAR program was organised by the United States Special Operations Command with the goal of finding a new weapons platform for special operators. It has also been distributed in the Marine Corps and among some SWAT teams across the US. The SCAR platform was developed by Belgian arms manufacturer Fabrique Nationale in the mid 2000’s. Anybody who has played Call of Duty games is probably familiar with one or more of the rifles they have produced (FAL, F2000, P90, M249/Minimi, are the first that come to mind). The SCAR platform has the L, H and SSR types, which are designations meaning light, heavy and marksman. If the Detroit Tigers were to purchase this weapon in such an amount, they would be able to outfit an army roughly the size of Spain's army with a solid assault rifle. Not bad considering Spain is a large European nation and the Tigers are a baseball franchise who don’t have millions of taxpayers to gouge.
9 FN MAG @ $6,600 Apiece: 44,242 Units
The FN MAG is another weapon developed by Fabrique Nationale. In North America, it has the designation of M240 in the United States and the C6 among Canadian Armed Forces personnel. There isn’t much special about this one except for the fact that it was brought in to replace the Pig, or M-60, famously wielded by Sylvester Stallone in more than one Rambo movie and Adam Baldwin as Animal Mother in the Stanley Kubrick masterpiec,e Full Metal Jacket. If it was replacing the M60 then it must be good. I’ve only fired an M60 and it was poorly maintained (I guess gun lube is hard to come by in Southeast Asia), but I can only imagine what its replacement is all about. With nearly 45,000 MAG (Mitrailleuse d’Appui General, or General Purpose Machine Gun) the Detroit Tigers could do a lot of damage.
8 Barrett M82 @ $8,900 Apiece: 32,808 Units
Now we’re getting into the beasts. There are about a dozen other variations (all of which cost different amounts) of this weapon but I chose to stick with the most well-known. There’s no pretty way of putting this: the Barrett M82 can hit a target several hundred meters away. For a fictionalized version of what it can do, watch The Hurt Locker. The sniper rifle used by the contractors and then Sanborn and James to engage the Iraqis firing from the hut in the desert scene, is the M82. Whether or not actual combat engineers would have mastered such a weapon in real life is beyond my level of estimation. In the hands of the Detroit Tigers on the other hand, I imagine many hospitalizations and more than a few separated shoulders due to recoil. Don’t try to fire this weapon standing up.
7 Cougar Infantry Mobility Vehicle @ $475,000 Apiece: 615 Units
Developed by Force Protection Industries, the Cougar is a vehicle which has been completely designed around the goal of keeping personnel safe from bullets, mines and of course, the infamous IED. The construction of the vehicle essentially revolves around a triangular shaped bottom, the idea of which is to direct the force of the blast away from the vehicle. It is designed to carry soldiers to and from where they are needed in some degree of safety and is currently in use by Canada, the UK and the US among others. If the Detroit Tigers were to start outfitting players and fans with weapons like the SCAR, it would only make sense that they would want to keep them safe, so just over 600 Cougars might not be a bad idea.
6 M2 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle @ Roughly $3,166,000 Apiece: 92 Units
Although the Bradley M2 and M3 are both in the process of potentially being replaced they are still in use widely throughout the US Armed Forces. While there are numerous variants of the M2, I will discuss the specs of the base model. It’s a fighting vehicle and an APC, meaning it can kick a** and also carry soldiers where they need to go, thus it has armor and armaments. In terms of armor, it can withstand any small arms fire but there are no guarantees with regards to a well-aimed RPG or perfectly placed IED. On the other hand, if the way has been cleared, it will storm through with a 25 mm chain gun, TOW missile launcher (guided anti-tank missiles) and an M240 just in case. 92 of these bad boys would be more than enough to keep Comerica Park safe.
5 5. M1 Abrams Main Battle Tank – @ Roughly $8,500,000 Apiece: 34 Units
Does anybody remember the original Call of Duty: Modern Warfare game? I do, because my Xbox 360 is broken and that’s the only COD game that works anymore because I bought it off Xbox Live. But enough of that. Warpig was an M1 Abrams in that game and it was a moderately cool mission, end of story. In terms of main armament, the M1 has a 105 mm rifled cannon (meaning grooves inside the barrel), and other variants have a 120 smoothbore cannon. They fire different types of projectile for different uses, books are written about it, moving on. In addition to the main cannon, it has multiple machine guns, not to mention more armor plating than you can shake a stick at. Actually, you can shake a stick at whatever you want. What a ridiculous phrase. I want to find the guy who came up with it and beat him with whatever stick he tries to shake at me. Tirades aside, Detroit is a tough city, but M1’s may be a bit much for the Tigers to purchase, but if they did, they would certainly look awesome around the ballpark.
4 A-10 Thunderbolt @ Roughly $15,800,000 Apiece: 18 Units
I like movies and I hope you do too. I say this because A-10 Warthogs/Thunderbolts have memorable scenes in two of my all-time favorites. In Jarhead, when one Marine steps out of formation as they walk through the desert, the planes mistake the soldiers for Iraqis and destroy a HUMVEE in an A-10. In Restrepo, one of the most amazing and intense documentaries ever made; the soldiers call in an A-10 strike. It honestly sounds like a great fart, but actually it’s a GAU-8 Avenger 30mm Gatling cannon; the weapon around which the A-10 was built. It was designed as a ground attack craft. We might just say: ground attack is its business and business is good. Unless a local gang gets hold of an Abrams tank or an M2 there wouldn't be much of a need for an A-10 in Detroit, but why not have one anyway? Or, better than one, why not have 24 of them. Go Tigers.
3 Cyclone Class Patrol Boat @ Roughly $25,600,000: 11 Units
I didn't want to make this list and leave the Detroit Tigers with no potential naval capability, so I calculated how many respectable sized patrol ships they could afford with Mr. Cabrera’s contract money. The Cyclone class is among the newer patrol classes and is a decent investment for the city on the St Lawrence, at just over $25 million. Like the Apache, Cougar, Abrams and M2, there are numerous sets of armaments and exact specs that can be applied to this craft, and I’ll describe that of the 14th and last of this type: the USS Tornado. The Tornado is equipped with two 25mm chain guns, two Mark-19 Automatic Grenade Launchers, six Stinger missile ports and if you aren't drooling yet, two M2 Browning machine guns.
2 Apache Attack Helicopter @ Roughly $35,500,000 Apiece: 8 Units
The price cited for the Apache is the price of the most recent version, that has been upgraded significantly. The Apache became part of the United States’ military in the 80’s and has been ripping apart everything in its path since. Depending on what you need it for, the Apache comes equipped with a 30mm cannon, rockets and missiles. Imagine they had this bad boy sweep into the stadium during the 7th inning stretch and fire a few rounds into cardboard cut-outs of the opposing team on the field. It’d be the 7th inning strafe! These awesome machines have spent the last couple of decades on the front lines of every war effort the United States has seen and continue in active service to this day.
1 F-22 Raptor @ Roughly $150,000,000 Apiece: 2 Units
I know $150 million X 2 equals $300 million, but I’m sure the Tigers would be happy to fork over the extra $8 million if it meant another F-22. The F-22 is the ultimate air superiority fighter on the face of the earth today. For those of you who want to shout Eurofighter Typhoon, the Russian Mikoyan LMFS or the airborne creature China is trying to make workable, I humbly disagree. The Raptor is the way to go but there is absolutely no reason for the Tigers to purchase it/them. At the same time, if it were a possibility, why not? Wouldn't every game be a bit more awesome if it involved an F-22 fly-by?! But all of my delusions aside, The F-22 is an impressive feat of engineering. If you need it to blow up tanks, it can do it. If you want some enemy craft blown out of the sky, it can do it. If you want it to do a very quick reconnaissance of an area, it can do that. It won’t give you a back rub, cook you a steak or bring you a beer, but land it on an airfield of your choice and you shouldn't have a hard time finding a legion of sexy women to do those things for you.
Well there you have it; ten examples of military tech the Detroit Tigers could have hypothetically bought for $292 million. There’s no reason they would, but guns, cannons, boats and planes are awesome.