I come to you today with a philosophical query: Is it better to have more and tighter playoff races, or a more active trade deadline? In previous MLB seasons, the Los Angeles Angels would already be looking ahead to next year. They’re five games out of what would’ve been the last play-in game spot under the previous set of rules, and eight games out of the last Wild Card spot if baseball still only allowed one Wild Card per league.
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Instead, there are three spots per league, and half the clubs get to pretend like they’re in the mix for a ring. Now, this might be true for baseball, especially with the escalating series format, yet what was more fun: The rich getting vastly richer every deadline, or teams operating like the guy in your fantasy football league who, still to this day, has never made a trade?
Sports aren’t society, not every wealth gap needs to be remedied, and all this parity makes gambling on futures much more difficult.
The Evil Empire can’t be evil if it’s not treating the A’s, Royals, and other small market teams like a feeder system. How are any NBA teams going to land a disenfranchised All-Star at the deadline if their respective franchises still think they have a shot at the 10 seed? Boogie Cousins would’ve never been a Pelican, and Damian Lillard probably would’ve been in Miami already. (Sorry, LeBatard.)
This is what these leagues deserve for rewarding mediocrity, and while I can’t figure out how more playoff spots negatively affect in-season player movement in the NFL, a downside will present itself. (You hear me, Roger Goodell? You’re reckoning is near.)
Exorbitant salaries are more than enough acknowledgment to qualify as a participation trophy if that’s what you’re into, so don’t try to feed me that youth-soccer thought process. I’d rather take part in a fetish I’m wholly disgusted by than watch a Chicago Bulls-Toronto Raptors play-in game, and I can’t be alone in thinking that.
There needs to be a clearly defined line between who should be unloading players their fans have grown attached to, and who should be tantalizing their supporters with freshly minted jerseys and promises (delusions?) of grandeur. Either let me peace out and move on to my next team’s season, or force me to invest time, money, and anxiety into a legit contender.
This middle ground where every organization is a “latent” champion, merely a hot month away from participating in a watered-down postseason, is fool’s gold, cubic zirconia earrings, the emptiest of promises. Shohei Ohtani is begging to play for a team worthy of his services, and baseball supporters are just as desperate to see Ohtani in meaningful contests that aren’t in the World Baseball Classic.
While I’m fully aware this is a meta concept, I wouldn’t be writing it if I had a flurry of trades to analyze, so put that in your pro or con pile accordingly. All of these insiders who love to share trade whispers have been relegated impotent as if they’ve taken up cycling but without a seat.
A Woj bomb without the bomb is a tweet, and 99.9 percent of the time regular tweets don’t need to exist. The same could be said for these alleged trade deadlines, for a trade deadline without trades is an arbitrary date that should be allowed to come and go with nary a second thought like birthdays of acquaintances.
Quick, someone grab a pointy stick and jab it into the love handle of the nearest front office person. They clearly need a deluge of prodding in order to make a move that generates big, bold headlines, and as you can tell, I could use one.