Zero. Zero badly.
I’ll be honest, I didn’t even know who Tal Smith was until just recently. I’m not even going to do my due diligence and look him up on Wikipedia. He might be extremely worthy of my condolence. He might donate 95% of his paycheck to needy children. He might be a living saint. I’m speaking from pure ignorance here. It’s super hypocritical of me—and liberating! So we’re just going to forge on ahead. Facts and knowledge be damned.
Tal Smith was fired the other day. He’s 78, and none too happy about it. Also wait, Tal? That’s his name. That strikes me as unusual. I don’t believe I’ve ever encountered that particular first name before. It’s also quite possible that Tal is just a nickname, that his name is actually Roger or Wilfred or something. Again, I do not know. Not going to look it up. He was fired, and he’s unhappy, and apparently, after 35 years in the organization, some of which spent as the team president, he learned of this firing through the media and was only given two weeks worth of severance.
Word on the street is that he wasn’t even really an official employee anymore. His contract ran out at the end of October, and everyone decided oh what the hell, if he wants to stick around for a while longer, we’ll pay him, but we’re not going to offer him another contract. They call that an “at will” employee, I guess. That seems really weird. I can just imagine Tal Smith walking around the halls of the Astros facilities in a full suit, hands in his pockets, looking at the ground. Occasionally he’d poke his head into an office and make some small talk with an intern sitting at a computer, or awkwardly interrupt a meeting. “The vending machine is out of Sprite,” he’d say, the people in the meeting stopping their conversation, pausing to look at him askance. They’d nod their heads, mumble some muted response and then go back to whatever it was they were talking about. Tal would turn and keep walking. Don’t these people realize I used to be the President of this fucking team? he’d think to himself, his life having passed him by.
Nonetheless, I do not feel too badly for Hal Smith. His two weeks severance was probably more than most people make in a year. Dude is probably rich as hell.