Breaking Balls: Will your team’s free-agent Match bring eHarmony?
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I know I haven’t been around much recently, and I sure hope that you haven’t started thinking that it’s something you did or said. It’s not you; it’s me.
That boring World Series happened, then I got busy on some other projects that you don’t want to hear about and blah blah blah. I know they’re just excuses, and you know what they say about excuses: they’re like buttholes – everyone has one and they are usually not thoroughly cleaned.
Baseball’s second season – the offseason – is in full swing, and if you’ve got a few minutes, I’d like to have a little chat about it. They call it the “hot stove” season, but I’ve never been a fan of that and, no, it has nothing to do with the fact that I don’t really know why they call it that.
I used to get really annoyed that Major League Baseball’s awards weren’t announced until well after the World Series was over. I felt like this was stupid and dumb and idiotic and lame.
As part of my maturation process, I have grown to not be annoyed by small things like this and save my annoyance energy for the real problems of the world, like the global economic collapse or widespread religious and racial discrimination or when humorless Giants fans fill up the comments section of one of my columns trying to prove to me that a 4-0 sweep in the World Series isn’t the worst possible scenario.
So, we have to wait a couple weeks after the playoffs to see who gets the awards, and what happens is the awards become sort of a launching pad for the offseason. The awards tell us, “This season is over now and it’s time to get to work on the next year and, by the way, here’s some awards that probably aren’t going to go to the right players like Miguel Cabrera this year or Ryan Braun last year.”
Yeah, it’s a long message to be sent, but it needs to be sent. The two weeks or so after the World Series give us all time to recover from the trials and tribulations of the season – or if you’re an ungrateful Giants fan (I know that’s redundant), it gives you time to be so busy being angry at everyone that you don’t ever bother to enjoy the fact that your team won the championship of baseball.
Then the awards are announced, and some of them are right and some of them are wrong. Who cares? A month later and we’ve all forgotten about how Justin Verlander got robbed for the Cy Young Award or how Mike Trout should have been the MVP.
The reason it’s so easy to get past these injustices is that now everyone is focused on next year. It’s time to look at which players need to be traded away or cut loose. It’s time to look at all the free agents from the very best to the very mediocre-est (because Ned Colletti already signed the worst ones to play for the Dodgers). It’s also time to look at everyone else’s teams and see what players should be traded for.
B.J. Upton just signed with the Atlanta Braves. Zack Greinke, Josh Hamilton, Michael Bourn, Kevin Youkilis, Ryan Dempster and dozens of others are still out there looking for the right fit with the right team.
But how do you know which players are right for your team? In a way, finding the right new players is a lot like online dating. Or maybe online dating is like trying to find new players.
First, it all comes down to scouting.
When you’re trolling through a dating site, you want to see as much information as possible: pictures, age, children (if any), location, height, weight, hair color, eye color, etc. Music interests don’t matter because you can always tell them to wear headphones. But TV and movie interests are vital. Because you are going to have to watch a lot of TV and movies they like for a long time, and you don’t want to get stuck with the world’s biggest Gossip Girl fan – especially if it’s a dude.
When it comes to new players, you want all the scouting info you can gather. You want to hear what the “new school” guys think and what the “old school” guys think – and not just to make them feel like they aren’t dinosaurs. Some of the “old school” methods do have some usefulness. Baseball players aren’t exclusively the sum total of their statistical output. How they came to that statistical output is also very important. This is where the “old school” guys can really help – also with finding the best shuffleboard courts and early bird restaurant specials.
Second, it’s time for the introduction.
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