Paul: Come on, Max, we know it was about the money

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

This was Detroit News baseball writer Tony Paul's Final Thought on the "Sports Cave" Sunday morning on WXYZ, Channel 7.

Max Scherzer had a fantastic run in Detroit, going 82-35 while winning the 2013 Cy Young. In his five years here, the Tigers won an unbelievable 70 percent of his starts, four American League Central championships and one American League pennant.

Yet, there was Max Scherzer on Wednesday, telling the Washington Nationals media -- with a straight face, unbelievably -- that he was only there because he wanted to win.

Come on, Max. Washington, himself, couldn't tell a lie -- and we've never known you to, either. Yet, that was a big, giant whopper.

Truth is, Max, you are in Washington because of the money. You are in Washington because the Nationals are paying you $210 million -- or a tad more than $41,000, per day, for the next 14 years. You are in Washington because the Nationals outbid, by $66 million, the offer the Tigers made last spring training. You are in Washington because, with this contract, you'll be able to take care of your entire family, and your grandkids, and your grandkids' grandkids, and their grandkids, too.

My question is, when will a professional athlete finally stand up and admit, you know what, yes it's about the money?

I figured being so outspoken and frank over the years, Max Scherzer might be the first.

He's a numbers guy, by nature, and by extension that makes him a money guy. He ran the Tigers' clubhouse pools, like fantasy football and NCAA Tournament brackets. He's a union rep. He finally tried Ronin Sushi in Royal Oak, but only because he had a coupon. He even took out an insurance policy on his right arm last year, for fear injury would cost him that $144 million.

Numbers and business, Max knows all about it.

And he's only in Washington because the Nationals proved the only team that would meet his, and Scott Boras', number demands.

You know it, we know it, everybody knows it -- and here's the kicker, every one of us understands it, even if we don't live in your world and can't fathom money like that. On a far smaller scale, I even once moved to Virginia because the paper there offered to pay me 3,000 more bucks than I was making in Michigan, so I made the move. It's OK to say it, Max.

So many things in life are about money, especially in our business -- so don't get us wrong, we are very grateful Scherzer took out a thank-you ad in Sunday's editions of The News and Free Press.

Just don't insult Tigers fans by saying, essentially, you left Detroit only because you wanted to win, when almost all you've done in Detroit is just that.

That rings hollow, on almost every level. And it should. Like there's no gambling at Bushwood and the Judge never slices, it's just not true.

It's just, all about the money.