I’ve never found the expression especially endearing or insightful, but I suppose it’s true: Excuses are like assholes, because everyone has one. And since my subject matter today is something I find equally distasteful, the parallel is pretty strong. So between July 1 and July 31 each year, you can add a third thing to the list of what everyone has: A trade rumor.
They’re everywhere. Ken Rosenthal and Buster Olney were once mere sportswriters. Now they are rich and powerful super-mongers of every kind of baseball gossip. Twitter has only facilitated what has long been a fast-growing market for whatever scrap of intel a reporter might find in some dark corner of a big-league front office. We muse, these days, about players of even middling ability and questionable worth. We discuss hot reports even about what teams are planning not to do. It’s a product of a bizarrely competitive world of sports news, where the race is on to report news even before it happens, though I’ve never heard a defensible rationale for that urgency.
Maybe, in lieu of trade rumors, we ought to have trade discussion and trade speculation. We should talk more about what should happen, and less about what does or could happen. Sensible proposals should be recognized and discussed at length, even (especially?) if they are unrealistic or wildly unlikely. Science is about the way things are; technology is about the way things can be; baseball reportage should be more the latter than the former, especially as it becomes more technological by the hour.