I’ve recently been told that while sports writers–are we included in that lumping?– are routinely writing word upon word with stories about stars who have fallen, or allegedly have fallen. Bonds, Ramirez, A-Rod, McGwire, Canseco, etc, but that we–again, are we sportswriters?–fail to write about the “good” stories or things that the “good guys” do.
This was more to the point directed at my last “column” about the Peavy deal that never was. I called him an idiot. So, in turn, a Padre fan call me an idiot. My idiocy not withstanding I still had a valid point.
And he may be a great human being, but that has exactly nothing to do with his decision to not accept a trade.
His loyalty to the organization, real or imagined, has no bearing on the discussion that his decision to stay, while his own decision by rights, was a selfish one.
The particular reader in mind, he who called me an idiot, also said I would probably be unhappy if the Tigers traded away the core of the franchise for prospects.
Well, thats false.
In 2003 my beloved Tigers weren’t just bad, they were bad, and on a historical level. Now, my Tigers were so bad there really wasn’t much in the way of core players to deal to begin with, but Jeremy Bonderman probably would have fetched a handful of decent prospects and I would have been happy to see him go if it brought back guys who could help us win.
I get it, nobody likes to see the face of their franchise get dealt, but who likes to watch their team play like a triple-A team (their second-place standing be damned) all summer? Sure, Peavy might be a great guy, a loyal player–if there even is such a thing, this is a business after all– but what he did isn’t helping the Padres.
And for most of us the loyalty is with the team, not the guys that make it up. I root for the Tigers every night, and Verlander when he pitches. And Cabrera when he hits. And Inge when me makes a highlight-reel play each night. But I want to see the Tigers win a world championship, not one of those individual players.
And so if one, or all, of them were to be sent out of town, so be it. I’m still a Tiger fan. I don’t remember hearing outcry from most Marlin fans after not one, but both of the faces of that franchise went north to Mowtown for Andrew Miller and Cameron Maybin (and a bunch of other guys). And the Marlins weren’t that bad at the time of the deal. Yeah, they finished fifth, but they shouldn’t have come close to winning seventy games, but they did.
So does Jake Peavy make the Padres better right now? Sure, I’ll concede that, but even Peavy can’t pitch every game.
But does Peavy make the Padres better three, five, ten years from now? Probably not.
You want to throw the fact that he’s loyal to the team that “gave him a shot”?
That’s great. Then repay the favor and give them a chance at building a winning franchise and accept a deal.
Because if we’re talking about loyalty, and in professional sports I imagine there isn’t much to go around unless we’re talking about hockey players, that would be the ultimate sign of loyalty. Help the team.
Even if that means leaving it.