SHE SAID: Sports Trades

July 28, 2009

Part of sports teams is the trading that goes on.  It has both saved and devastated teams throughout the history of sport.  And while I understand, I have trouble when a player I love is traded.

Thinking about it now, I’m not sure if my fear of trading is why I shy away from naming a favorite player.  Ever since Damon (who wasn’t my favorite player, but I enjoyed him nonetheless) went to the darkside and lost all individuality in doing so and Nomar was traded (which I understood as a business move, but couldn’t wrap my mind around the Red Sox without him on their roster for a while and yes, winning the World Series helped me get over that in a hurry), I cannot tell you who is my favorite player for the Red Sox.  The last shirt I bought was a Renteria shirt which I quickly realized was a horrible investment and thankfully, I didn’t go for the replica jersey, as my brother did.  His rationalizing after the trade?  Someone else will pick the number and he can wear it again.

He was lucky.  My younger brother had the unfortunate destiny to fall madly in love with Mike “The Gator” Greenwell, left fielder for the Red Sox from ’85 – ’96.  While a dependable player, he was never a super star outside of my brother’s head, and in Greenwell’s defense, it was hard to follow in the shoes of the Splended Splinter, Yaz and Jim Rice (congrats on making the hall of fame).  Greenwell played out his entire career for the Red Sox, I don’t know how common that is for someone to play their entire career with one team … but for years my older brother and father had a blast trying to convince my younger brother that Greenwell had been traded to another team. Some mornings, my younger brother would come to breakfast only to find a section of the NYT cut out and my older brother claiming there was an article about Greenwell getting traded to the Yankees that he had needed to cut out for some reason.  It was easy fodder.  And I wonder how much this stress effected my younger brother.  Loving a player so much, yet knowing at any time they could be traded and that they had no, or at best limited, loyalty to their team.

Now, I love the teams and admire the players.  But I can’t bother getting attached to them.  It’s too hard.

So, one would think I would apply this to the other teams I follow.  Not so.  And oh, what a rookie move.

Aaron Ward.  I have no idea how you became my favorite player.  You’re not flashy, you’re not the high goal scorer for the Bruins, you didn’t kill it in PIMs, in fact, it’s almost like you did everything you could to not stand out.  You came across as intelligent enough, dependable as a defender, and man, you threw your body into it.  You respect the sport.  And my son and I grew to adore you.  His Bruins jerseys all had 44 on the back, we knew where you were at all times both on the ice and the bench.  We felt for your hurt wrist in the playoffs and yelled at the other teams for slashing you when it was hurt.  We celebrated you at all times.  We went to great lengths, stretched one might say, to point out how you were involved in all successful plays on the ice.

But you were traded on Friday back to the Hurricanes in a “salary dump”.

And at 30, I have to learn the don’t get attached lesson all over again.

HE SAID: Sports Trades

July 28, 2009

I could literally write an entire book about this topic…good trades, bad trades, trades my teams have made that make it hard for me to stand up after reading about them, trades that make me throw up in my mouth a little, trades that make me more upset that Bill Buckner was after he…ok enough of that.  Bottom line is that through the last decade, when Boston somehow became the best professional sports city in the country (stop whining everyone else, we have 6 titles in the last 8 years, not to mention countless playoff teams), we have little right to complain.

When our teams make a trade (or in the case of not resigning a free-agent) it is generally in order to improve the team.  Even the Aaron Ward salary dump freed up some money to sign a Defenseman with much higher upside just a few days later.  Imagine being a fan of the Pittsburgh Pirates, who in the last month have traded away half their position players for prospects who aren’t even ready for the major leagues.  Then, when these prospects finally blossom, the Pirates will trade them away for more prospects.  Pirates fans, along with far too many other fans, never even have the opportunity to fall in love with players the way we do. 

Holy crap I think I just wrote those two paragraphs without taking a breath.  I’ll finish by listing the five trades that have had the most impact on me personally the last decade (given the nature of this post, I will only focus on trades in which Boston players left the city, so you won’t be reading about epic trades the Sox made for players like Rico Brogna and Dante Bichette):

5. December 1, 2005 – The Bruins trade Joe Thornton for a bag of hockey pucks and a new zamboni (ok there were a few players, but it was less than .50 on the dollar).  Joe made me a hockey fan again after the trade that happens a few spots down on this list.  When he was traded I couldn’t believe the Bruins had bent me over again, how the eff could we trade a future MVPer for nothing?  Well the Bruins have made some moves since to right the ship, but still this was awful.

4. August 1, 2008- Manny Ramirez traded essentially for Jason Bay.  This has been written about ad nauseum, and if Manny were simply one of the best right handed hitters of this generation, instead of one of the best right handed hitters of this generation who was also fucking nuts, this would be #1.

3. March 6th, 2000 – The Bruins trade Ray Bourque to the Avalanche for who gives a shit what they got back in return, #77 was the Bruins!  Harry Sinden made this deal as a favor because he felt bad for surrounding Ray with suckiness his whole career.  By the way, my fantasy hockey team name is ‘I Hate Harry Sinden.” Yes, you read that correctly, I have a fantasy hockey team.

2. July, 2009 – Julio Lugo traded for Chris Duncan.  Just kidding.  Happy Trails, Julio!

2. April 21, 2002 – Patriots trade Drew Bledsoe to the Bills for a draft pick.  Fresh off a Super Bowl made this trade harder to swallow, but still, this was devastating.  There are plenty of Bledsoe haters out there, and obviously we didn’t need him, but Bledsoe (along with Parcells) turned the fortunes of the Patriots around.  Classy guy that he was, he took a full page ad out in the Boston Globe thanking the Boston fans.

1. August 1, 2004 – Nomar traded.  It was banquet night at summer camp, they were giving out effing riding awards so I took it upon myself to go check out  Upon seeing the news I ran back down the dining hall, grabbed the mike, and announced in a very dramatic way that Nomar had been traded. If the interruption of Most Improved for Riding doesn’t warrant the No. 1 spot on this list, I don’t know what does.