Filed:Sept. 16, 2009
The Chicago Cubs starter Carlos Zambrano (Cubbie Nation/file)
Stop it. Everybody.
I know playoff hopes are slim. That writers, bloggers, and editors are hard-pressed to deliver meaningful musings as the season winds down, and teams are eliminated from contention. And frankly, it understandable that fans are dreaming of big free-agents signings and resurgent teams in 2010.
But when you start—and I’m pointing a big finger at large media outlets—completely disregarding teams that are still at least technically in the playoff mix, and even worse, running players out of town, you’ve gone too far.
This trend initially caught my eye a few weeks ago, with this piece from Gordon Wittenmyer, a lightweight hack job on shooing Milton Bradley out of town that reads like a print version of a drive-by. I read this, and I don't think provocative, thoughtful journalism, so much as payback from a writer who hasn't been given what he feels is the proper amount of respect from a player. It's amateur night.
I'm no Milton Bradley fan, but it's hard not to at least sympathize when reading nonsense like this. At best, Gordon should have kept this in his pocket until after season's end, and at worst, should have done some more research, as his thesis is frankly, flawed.
Now come yet another flawed piece from Wittenmyer, suggesting that the Cubs are interested in trading their ace, with not even so much as an unnamed source referenced. This at a time when the team is finally getting hot, and showing at least some small chance of a postseason appearance.
Interesting thing is, you read this story, and while there a great deal of personal opinion, and some reasons why this might be a good idea, it hardly matches the title "Z to the Shopping Block?" There's not even so much a real rumor mentioned.
At least a similar post from the Tribune attempted to hide behind a fig leaf. That one from Paul Sullivan including the following:
Despite the fact that Zambrano has a full no-trade clause, the Cubs plan on shopping him this off-season, sources said, believing he'll waive the clause to go to the right team, as Jake Peavy eventually did when the Padres consummated a deal this summer with the White Sox.
As if anyone in the Cubs organization would actually talk to Sullivan, or that you could be assured that they'd even still be with the club once the Ricketts family takes over, even if they did.
When you see strained relationships between players and the media, it's often these sorts of hack jobs that are at the root of the problem. Media outlet demanding multiple daily submissions force writers to come up with utter nonsense, challenging readers to separate fact from fiction.
I'm not picking on Wittenmyer, merely using him as an example of the drivel I've seen recently, as sports pages come up with ever crazier, mostly baseless thoughts in order to retain eyeballs and page views.
That said, I'm going to make a suggestion. If you want to check out on this season, I don't blame you. Want to talk free agents? I'm in. If your team is eliminated, I say all bets are off. But until your favorite team—or the one you cover—has been mathematically eliminated, allow these players the dignity to finish the season, without needless distractions, personal attacks, and "Player X must go!!!" missives.
Everything that we're hearing may be true, but asking a signed player whether he's amenable to trade scenarios during the season, without so much as a peep from the front office suggesting that this player is being shopped, is just plain wrong. Stop it.