For those millions of us who will never be a Major League Baseball player, the thought of maybe working in the front office for our favorite team might be a worthy substitute. Serving as a general manager would probably be the ultimate goal, (well owner if we won a few million.) We all know we could do a better job than any of the 30 current GMs because we are all experts when it comes to talent evaluation and any of the other day to day distractions a GM has to face.
I’d take the job if I could have the month of July off. The July 31 trade deadline would leave me exhausted, completely stressed out and mumbling to myself while walking down the street, scaring little children and stray dogs. Especially this season.
With so many teams with a legitimate shot at the playoffs, the right trade can make your season a success, the wrong trade can put your team several years back and negate all the planning which went in to getting you this far. With so many teams with a legitimate shot at the playoffs, fewer and fewer teams are willing to part with that high priced but valuable veteran player who in seasons past would already have a new address. More and more teams are asking a king’s ransom for mediocre talent.
Is the poor showing by a previous star just a fluke or is it a sign of the inevitable lessening of skills all athletes go through? What if I trade my star veteran who is having a down season and he lights up the league for someone else in August and September? Are the potential star minor leaguers I receive for him ever going to produce at the big league level? Will the hometown fans call for a general revolt if I trade a household name despite the fact that he is clearly over the proverbial hill? What will happen to clubhouse chemistry? Is this the right time to throw in the towel or should I go for broke?
Every fan is a baseball expert as the trading deadline grows near and the press have all the answers. They don’t have to answer to the owner and their future with the team is not at risk. They don’t have to think long term and they don’t have any personal loyalties to this player or that. They don’t know who is hurting but playing anyway and who is having personal, off the field issues. It all looks black and white to them.
You might have inherited a no trade contract or be dealing with a 10 and 5 player. There might be a very beneficial deal in place but contract or location issues might not allow you to pull the trigger. Everyone will want to know why the deal wasn’t made but you can’t say publicly why you stood pat.
If the whole world knows you desperately want to trade a certain player, any leverage you may have had is out the window. You know that every other team in baseball knows who you have and they can be like sharks who smell blood in the water. Even with your best poker face, the opposition knows if you are desperate or not. Those friendly winter meetings in the sun belt and let me get this round suddenly have turned ice cold. This is cold stone bottom line business and there are no prisoners.
Of course, everyone else has the benefit of hindsight which is always 20-20. If the deal turns bad, they would never have made it. If the deal saves the season and gets you in the playoffs, anyone could have made such an obvious move.
It ain’t no fun when the rabbit’s got the gun.