Saving Baseball – At The Deadline
Growing up loving the game without ever the sense of winning or being the best at it, provided me with a unique opportunity to locate and delve into the intricacies that attracted me to the game of baseball. One of these characteristics, which can also be found in all major sports, is a little bit more special and unique during the dog days of summer. Just when the decline of interest in the game seems to inevitably decrease fascination with the 2014 Season, general managers of franchises seem to have found Bobby Fisher in this grand game of chess that us baseball aficionados like to call, The Trade Deadline.
Trades can be made at any point in a season. Before July 31, the only restrictions on blockbuster deals are no trade clauses, management’s pettiness, and owners’ frugalness. Following that date, it is a little bit more complicated, and big time players usually don’t move. Regardless of the timeline, July 31, 2014, could not have come at a better time.
With NFL Training Camps opening, and Kevin Love still on the NBA’s trading block, baseball headlines were rarely leading off Sportscenter. Though never before had so many frontline starters been available approaching the end of summer’s hottest month. In the cauldron of social popularity that seems to drive public sports interest, there was a big day a brewin’. On the morning of the 31st, front office executives had to be asking themselves, “What does it take to be a champion in 2014?” Offenses are failing, so do we have to have the most potent offense to be able to simply outscore an opponent? Can’t be. When a pitcher has his best, just as there is no defense for a quarterback’s perfect pass, he can dominate, control, and undoubtedly win the game. And therefore to personify a front office, each was waking on the morning of the 31st with a simple urge to assemble a dominant pitching staff. Or more simply, one front office manager woke with that urge, and each other contender was forced to respond.
The casual sports fan needs immediate gratification and entertainment to maintain and satiate their time spent reading or watching sports. What happened was something that has eluded baseball since the last day of the 2012 Season. Fast and exciting developments were breaking with dawn providing that instant gratification and satisfying headlines that modern sports fans crave. Just a day after the longest and laborious game ever played at Wrigley Field symbolizing the drag and droll of baseball, the trade deadline exploded a Summer Thursday drumming up excitement and most importantly pure interest in the remainder of the season and especially in the playoff contenders. A day that Billy Beane began with a bang, ended with Dave Dombrowski dominating the day’s news. (Here’s a link to a recap of the day’s trades.)
To briefly analyze the day’s movements, the A’s and the Tigers are on a collision course to meet in the ALCS. That would be an incredible series to which the team with the most hitting will win. Therefore, I have the Tigers spoiling the A’s great season once again. The Angels or O’s should have moved on a Phillies’ pitcher to remain in contention. Three Cy’s on one staff is unbeatable. In the NL, the Cardinals again prepare themselves for a long playoff run and the Dodgers do nothing. Cardinals, Tigers World Series rematch with Detroit Rock City taking it home? I think so.
Moneyball is no more about being more clever or more technically proficient to make the best team a GM possibly can with his shallow pockets and other team’s scraps. Moneyball is simply doing everything in the power of a general manager to put his team in the best position to win a World Series each and every year. Thanks to this philosophy, baseball punched each sports fan in the eye to say, “Hey! Check out this Pennant Race because it is going to be awesome.”