Saturday, February 24, 2007

Canned Content

Is it just me, or do the sportswriters of the world pre-write this column every year:

"Trade Deadline Proves a Disappointment"
Despite a flurry of rumors, the only deals that happened around yesterday's deadline involved minor players, blah blah blah.

You get the same thing every year for baseball, basketball, and hockey. Football's exempt because the salary cap rules are so arcane that nobody in the NFL gets traded anyway, at least for anything other than draft picks and space under the Bengals' arrest limit.

This would be, of course, because the trading deadline is often a non-event, pumped up into a story by sportswriters who like playing GM by proposing deals (Guys, we call this "fantasy baseball" and get it out of our system in groups of ten to fourteen. You might want to give it a shot sometime.) That's not to say that there aren't genuine rumors floating around, or that there isn't good investigative work being done, but there are way too many "Hey, none of the ridiculous deals I proposed happened!" pieces.

Most of the time, they're not going to happen. In part, it's because so many trades get proposed every deadline that it would be mathematically impossible for more than 12% or so to go off, and in part because a GM's legacy is in large part defined by the deals he makes. Make a bad one, and the media - the same guys who were howling for some could of action at the deadline - will crucify them. With that in mind, it's no surprise that most GMs are slow on the trigger, and don't make deals just to satisfy the feeding frenzy of the minnows (Jim Bowden, you're excepted.)

So when the baseball trade deadline rolls around, enjoy the speculation for what it is - what-ifs, and nothing more. And when the day after "Nothing happened!" articles get written, you can ignore them. After all, you've read them before.
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