Trader or Traitor? The Death of Rivalries
Some teams have built reputations as being seasoned experts of the July 31st deadline, like the Yankees, Phillies and Diamondbacks, while other teams have been branded with the "golden seal of head-scratching disaster," like the Pirates, Marlins and Expos (Now the Nationals... in case you fell asleep). "You want to give us these three prospects... for who?!" "We'll take it." "Get the papers and start the car, I think their drunk. Thank you, Rachel Phelps, we will be sure to cross the dead guy off!"
The feeding frenzy for a teams "needs" has enough drama and behind-the-back knife tossing to make "Days of Our Lives" look like an hour-long seminar on normalcy and good-business tactics. But, favoring the system or not, landing a July deal has shaped the way the MLB currently works. From Lee to Sheffield, to Nomar and Randy, to Cabrera and David Justice, the players traded, and the teams involved, makes for good television and sleeve-rolling water cooler debates.
But, is this free-movement between clubs deteriorating what makes the MLB interesting and has defined it, historically? The answer is, yes!
As the networks scamper and scrounge to find every piece of up-to-date info on the trade talks, in hopes of being the first to tweet it, the weekend baseball games will come and go, with a virtual silence. The sad thing is, two of the biggest series are divisional rivalries. Not just any division rivalry, either. Giants vs. Dodgers and Red Sox vs. Yankees. Now you know.
Blame the Olympics, NFL camps or Friends re-runs all you want, the rivalry between these two teams does not carry the same sack of rocks it did a decade ago, and that is why it will go unwatched, mostly. That's not opinion, that's a fact. Baseball Historians can spout off about the softness of the game, the umpires, the equipment and small parks until they are purple, it's not the reason the two storied match-ups wont merit the Nielsen Ratings people would expect.
It's the roster, or lack of roster'unity. Enter, the trades.
The idea of team begins in the sweat-filled days of Spring Training, when the camaraderie and keep-it-in-the-dugout mentality begins. This is our team, our time, and no other club is going to get in our way of that. If they do, it's a 95 m.p.h fastball to their lips. You can't talk smack with your smoochers stapled shut. This is the unspoken thought process of all clubs, especially in years past. Now, because of trades and no real team-loyalty, the guy you plunk today may be the guy you embrace tomorrow.
And, that's the problem.
Ichiro Suzuki is a great player and he will provided a solid bat and timely hitting for the Yankees down the stretch. But, don't think for one second he has a true hate for the Red Sox, and vice-versa. A Red Sox pitcher is more likely to throw at Ichiro because he gave bad directions to a coffee house in Seattle, than for his new uniform, complete with stripes. Ichiro, and others such as Hanely Ramirez, will play a role in wins and losses, but not history. That is not possible with the rent-a-player sweepstakes currently coming to a ball park near you.
Watch any of the two series this weekend and you will see more fights and arguments in the stands than in the game, itself. That's were Ortiz will be hugging Yankees and Panda will be playing friends-of a-spoken-language with his new buddy, Hanely. Sorry Casey, that ship has sailed.
Like the sands of an hourglass.......
So are the days of This_is_Rick
(Apologies to Cubs and Cardinals fans... I know you are playing, too... It's cute)