Sunday, December 19, 2010

Greinke to Brewers, time to trade in the idea of the hometown team, too... Royals get... well... some players, fan's get Bob Uecker every five days

The Royals traded Zack Grenke last night to the Milwaukee Brewers for four players. They may, or may not, have traded Yuni Betanort, as well.

For this fan, the Royals traded Zack Greinke for Bob Uecker.

This is the business of baseball. The Indians didn't trade Bob Feller (Matt's story just below this one on the blog list is a gem. Don't miss it.) across a career spanning 20 years, but the Yankees did release Babe Ruth and he took his last at-bat in Boston. Closer to home, the Royals did not trade George Brett, though it's a good bet they thought about it at contract time, but they did trade Dan Quisenberry who supposedly had a lifetime contract. Back up a little: The Kansas City A's traded Roger Maris, Bob Cerv, and Bud Daley to the Yankees, ripping the hearts out of many 12-year-old Kansas City boys.

Looks to me like in the Greinke case, Dayton Moore knew his price and stuck to it. Unfortunately, his price wasn't so much.

Now, here's a new way to think about baseball. The time as arrived for this. Professional baseball is, indeed, about money. It is, indeed, a business. In our case, it happens to be a version of WalMart, but, hey, if you need socks and underwear, tell me a better place to go. The time has come for fans to just let this fantasy of "hometeam" baseball go. The players have let it go. The owners have certainly let it go.

Now is the time for fans to let it go.

For a relatively small investment, you can now have access to virtually any game. You can follow any team, or any player, or any combination of players. Why be held hostage by an inept franchise? That's just fosil thinking.

Now is the time for baseball fans to become free agents.

If you want to go to the park a couple of times a year to soak up the atmosphere, pick an opponent you're interested in seeing. Better yet, if you want to watch a ballgame, find a small college near you and take in their doubleheaders. I've found watching my students play college ball is a great way to spend a warm spring afternoon. Of course, if you really want to experience the game, get on a team and take the field yourself. Your age doesn't matter. I've seen some damned good 75-year-old ball players. Or get a partner and meet up twice a week for batting practice. Or buy a tee and take it out to a deserted field and hit a bag of balls into the outfield.

What I'm saying, then, is enjoy baseball any way you can, but dump this last century hometeam silliness. Every half century or so, a Frank White will come along who actually represents your home town. Otherwise, these guys are from nowhere and everywhere. They aren't here by choice, they won't stay by loyalty, and the don't think of themselves as representing you and I.

Hell, they don't even have to pay the dreaded E-Tax you and I pay. How many millions is the city missing out on there?

They certainly don't represent the character of your city. At least, we have to hope the Royals, and before them, the A's, don't represent the character of Kansas City. We have to hope this is a much more vibrant, competent, intelligent, successful place than either of these messes.

The Greinke trade puts this in high relief. By August last year I was only watching the Royals on television every five days anyway. I can watch the Brewers every five days now. The Cardinals have always been a much more interesting team across the history of the game and they play in the same division as the Brewers. SO, why not just focus on the National League Central? To hell with the designated hitter.

Even better, Bob Uecker calls the Brewers' games. I already tune him in on the computer/radio every few days just to listen to a game called the way it is supposed to be called. In retrospect, this wasn't such a bad trade after all, Dayton Moore. We get ... well... some players. Rephrase that: The Royals get some players. The fans get Bob Uecker, a chance at a division title, and Zack Greinke with a bat in his hands once a week. Thanks, man.

Lofflin -- for a pretty good, unemotional look at the deal, try this N. Y. Times article. The last paragraph says it all.

Image: Baseball Almanac

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