He Earned More Than $1 Million Today for Doing Nothing. All Thanks to Bernie Madoff.

As will be the case every July 1 through 2035, ex-Met Bobby Bonilla will collect a cool mil today. He hasn’t played pro ball in 20 years.

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Wondering why everyone on your social media feed is buzzing about an ex-ball player named Bobby Bonilla who hasn’t worn an MLB uniform since 2001? Or why it feels like deja vu? It’s because: A. The Internet is absurd, and B. Ever since 2011, July 1 has been recognized by smart alecks across the cultural landscape (and plenty of awestruck business pundits) as #BobbyBonillaDay

That was the year his former employer, the New York Mets, began paying Bonilla $1,193,248.20 annually on the first of July, a sum they will continue doling out every July 1 through 2035, at which point Bonilla will be 72. Why, you ask? Because heading into the 2000 season, the Mets decided to buy out the remaining $5.9 million on their aging outfielder’s contact. But rather than shell out the cash up front, team ownership accepted a deal proposed by Bonilla’s agent to defer payments by a decade and disperse them over 24 years at a fixed annual interest rate of 8% (hence the funny math). 

Again — why, you ask? Because at that time, Mets ownership was infamously in thrall of late, disgraced financier Bernie Madoff, and thought they’d yield enough from short-term investments with his firm to more than compensate for future balloon payments to Bonilla. 

We all know how that worked out. And every July 1 is a continuing reminder of just how swimmingly it has all flowed for Bonilla since. But as any contemporary brand should, the Mets have tried to reclaim their fiduciary fiasco and turn it into viral gold by embracing #BobbyBonillaDay with humor — and synergy. A home run for all, indeed.

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