Baseball teams all over the country are joining together to help the people in Houston affected by Hurricane Harvey. Here’s a message from MLB:
It’s less than 10 hours away.
Every year, MLB’s trade deadline occurs on July 31st – tormenting us up until the final moment at 4 pm, Eastern time. MLB instituted the trade deadline in 1923, in response to moves made by the New York Yankees and Giants during several previous years that put other teams at a competitive disadvantage. Thus, both the American and National Leagues implemented a uniform rule on non-waiver trades prior to the 1923 season. (Its always the Yankees, isn’t it?)
On Friday, the Orioles traded away Hyun Soo Kim, one of my favorite players. I was bummed. It’s hard when your favorite players are traded away. (It’s even harder when they go to a team you don’t really much care for.) In order to survive, however, maybe we need to start reinterpreting what a trade is.
Old definition: A trade is a heartbreaking disruption of the perfect balance achieved by the personalities on your favorite team, presumably to improve the post-season chances of one of the teams involved, but generally resulting only in heartbreak and not always a World Series championship.
New definition: A trade is a new opportunity for your favorite players, who clearly were not appreciated by the heartless owners of your favorite team. You still are not likely to win the World Series, but at least now you don’t have to hear rude MLB analysts saying mean things about a guy who was not given a fair shake on your team or watch the players’ stats dwindle along with their playing time.
Or something along those lines. (Never mind the fact that that doesn’t seem to be the case with Kim.)
You see, don’t look as a trade simply as a removal of one of your favorite players to another team, obviously without your permission. Let’s face it, often, your favorite team has pretty much mistreated said favorite player by not giving him enough playing time, not paying him what he deserves, not saying nice enough things (in your opinion) about him, etc. Favorite Player, now that he has been traded, will likely be better appreciated and have more playing time in his new city. Even if it is a city you despise. It’s not his fault. It’s the fault of the evil ownership of your favorite team.
Of course, the trades may not be over by the end of the day – meaning there will be more opportunities for our hearts to break. Teams may still negotiate trades until midnight (Eastern time) on August 31. (Any player added to a team’s roster after August 31 will not be eligible for the postseason.) After today, however, players have to clear waivers before a trade becomes final. In other words, other teams (in reverse order of the standings) will have the opportunity to claim the player first. If a player is claimed during the waiver period, the original team can choose to keep the player on its roster or send the player to the team that claimed it.
No matter how we convince ourselves that trades can be a good thing, however, we can’t help feeling like this:
Sunday was Orioles radio Broadcaster Fred Manfra’s last game before retirement. It may not have been the send-off Vin Scully received, but it was still bittersweet. Thanks for the memories, Fred!
It’s hard to be out of town and not be able to watch your favorite teams. It’s even harder when you turn on the hotel TV to watch baseball – any baseball, because you’re desperate for baseball – only to have your mind wander and forget what you’re watching. This recently happened to me as I was watching the Rangers and Angels this past weekend.
Of course, these aren’t my favorite teams, so I wasn’t watching as closely as I usually do when it comes to baseball. And, granted, I’m used to watching the Orioles and the Nationals on a regular basis, so these weren’t players I am completely familiar with. So, its only natural, I suppose, that at one point I looked up on the screen an had no idea who I was watching.
Excuses noted above, aside, I blame this thoroughly on the two teams themselves and the uniforms they were wearing. Although they were wearing the traditional home-white and away-gray uniforms, they were wearing essentially the same colors. Shouldn’t there be a rule about both teams wearing the same color hats? Whatever happened to the Rangers’ blue uniforms? Why did they need to add that splash of red to their wardrobe?
These aren’t the only teams I have difficulties watching. Being a Nats fan, this can be particularly problematic. There’s nothing worse than when the Nats are playing the Cardinals or the Reds and everyone decides to wear red. This really isn’t as much a problem with the Orioles, although I was thoroughly confused at times last year when they played the Giants.
With all the alternate and specialty uniforms they have these days, you’d think they could find a way to avoid this. After all, haven’t they ever had to worry about showing up to a party wearing the same outfit as someone else?
As for that Rangers-Angels game, I could only tell who was who when I really paid attention. And when Darvish turned around so I could read his jersey.
So, how many games have you been to this season? Generally, by this time, I’ve been to at least a few. So far, however, its only been one. Of course, that didn’t stop me from simultaneously watching three on TV on Saturday. But, still. I feel like I need to improve my game.
With so much going on last week with Jackie Robinson Day, I never had time to share my thoughts on my first baseball adventure of the season – the Norfolk Tides at the Charlotte Knights. I’ll be posting more on that when I have time to think a little more sociologically about it. So watch this space!
This week I have plans to see games in California and New Hampshire. Comparing games from one community to another on different sides of the country is right up the alley for this Baseball Sociologist. So, stay tuned for updates on the Travels of the Baseball Sociologist!
In the meantime – feel free to share your baseball adventures so far this season in the comments section below!
Yesterday, I wrote of my adventures looking for remnants of the Huntsville Stars. I wondered why the team left town after 30 years? Not enough of a fan base? A bad location for the stadium? A quick bit of research turned up few clues, except an interesting article from September 2015 posted on the WHNT-19 website. In the article, the author lamented the loss of the team, which had just won the league championship as the Biloxi Shuckers against the Chattanooga Lookouts, both of which were enjoying new ballparks:
Joe W. Davis Stadium is all full of empty. It’s home to old memories, dust and, probably, the family of skunks that long-ago inspired the Huntsville Stars’ costumed mascot. And what has happened stinks.
Baseball was a rousing success in Huntsville during its three decades. Then it became an abysmal failure. The blame? Lousy, apathetic ownership. An out-dated, bad stadium. An area notoriously fickle when it comes to spectator sports. It’d take a documentary, not a commentary, to dive into all the reasons.
I don’t know what baseball was like in Huntsville, but I’m sure it was great. After all, it was baseball. Strangely, I’d always wanted to attend a Huntsville Stars game – ever since I was doing research on the minors in the 1990s and learned of it. How cool that it was named in honor of the city’s space flight heritage (Huntsville is home to NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center and home to the famed Space Camp). It made me sad to see the stadium abandoned. In fact, even their website was abandoned – when you Google “Huntsville Stars,” the first website on the list is “The Official Site of The Huntsville Stars” – frozen in time from 2014. It’s just a little sad. And creepy.
As I mentioned yesterday, the team won the league championship title in three separate years, and was division champs 8 times. Here are just a few players who played in Huntsville: J.J. Hardy, Mike Bordick, Nelson Cruz, Tony Gwynn, Jr., Jose Canseco, Miguel Tejada, Jason Giambi, Ryan Braun, Lorenzo Cain, Yovani Gallardo, Prince Fielder, and Jonathan Lucroy.
I want to know more about this team and this place – and not just because a bunch of Orioles once played here. I’ll ask around while I’m in town. Someday, I’ll get around to doing more research on baseball in Alabama, especially in Huntsville.