By Dave Begel Contributing Writer Published Feb 19, 2013 at 5:33 AM

I was driving somewhere last week listening to sports talk radio, and I heard a discussion that, if I had really thought about it, might have driven me off the road.

The hosts were talking about Brandon Jennings and his future with the Milwaukee Bucks. They were discussing salary possibilities and whether Jennings could get a "max" contract or have to settle for something less.

One host suggested Jennings could command $14 million a year and the other one said it would be a shorter contract at $13 million. Then the first host said that they were arguing about "only a million bucks."

Only a million bucks.

How crazy is the world when the figure one million dollars is preceded by the word "only?"

Overpaid athletes and stars are nothing new. I can’t even get my arms around things like "millions." So in order to make me feel real bad, I tried to figure out what a paycheck looks like for some of these guys.

I figure each guy gets paid every two weeks, just like most of us. Also just like us, they have withholding. So I figured they pay the top marginal tax rate of 39.6 percent. Try to wrap your mind about these numbers.

Every two weeks when he picks up his check, Alex Rodriguez gets about $743,000. Every two weeks. Kobe Bryant gets a check for about $497,000. Every two weeks.

Mark Sanchez (proving money doesn’t equal worth) opens his pay envelope and finds a check for $290,385. He does this every two weeks. To bring this a little closer to home, Carlos Lee picks up a check for $430,000 every two weeks unless he has direct deposit.

It’s enough to make you want to throw up. I mean a number of years ago when I got my first bi-weekly check that was over $1,000 I thought I was going to be rich forever.

I honestly don’t blame the players for the money they get. Who among us would turn down an offer to pay us absolutely obscene amounts of money? Nobody.

The people to blame for all of this are the filthy rich people who own sports teams. We don’t have to create a list of the guilty parties here. Just about every owner is to blame for this horrible state of affairs.

This whole thing really makes me sad. I mean, we have lots of problems in this world that would benefit from an infusion of money. And yet we spend these mind-boggling amounts on professional athletes. Something is wrong somewhere.

I have no idea what to do about this, if anything at all can be done.

I thought about appointing another presidential czar with the power to regulate salaries, but the teams would likely beat back that effort in the courts.

I thought about hiring the guys who ran Barack Obama’s first campaign to create a public groundswell that would result in a massive boycott that could force the restoration of some sanity. But even with sophisticated "Get Out The Vote" effort, I think most people love their sports too much to actually boycott them.

Which leaves us with what? Nothing. Our hands are tied. Athletes can take performance enhancing drugs, they can commit all sorts of mayhem, but as long as they can still run, jump, swing and hit harder than any of us, we will continue to flock to watch them do all this.

But we can still get sick to our stomach when we watch them at play.

Dave Begel Contributing Writer

With a history in Milwaukee stretching back decades, Dave tries to bring a unique perspective to his writing, whether it's sports, politics, theater or any other issue.

He's seen Milwaukee grow, suffer pangs of growth, strive for success and has been involved in many efforts to both shape and re-shape the city. He's a happy man, now that he's quit playing golf, and enjoys music, his children and grandchildren and the myriad of sports in this state. He loves great food and hates bullies and people who think they are smarter than everyone else.

This whole Internet thing continues to baffle him, but he's willing to play the game as long as keeps lending him a helping hand. He is constantly amazed that just a few dedicated people can provide so much news and information to a hungry public.

Despite some opinions to the contrary, Dave likes most stuff. But he is a skeptic who constantly wonders about the world around him. So many questions, so few answers.