MLB's Trade Deadline Turns Fans into Skeptics

Joe D.Analyst IJuly 31, 2008

Today is one of the most aggravating, satisfying, and underachieving days of the sports season. The MLB Trade Deadline is always sure to bring plenty of buildup, denials, assertions, and false rumors.

Consider the usual storylines at this time of year: the X Games, the middle of the NASCAR season (right before the dash to qualify to the Chase begins), and the beginning of NFL training camp. You really can't fault the sports networks for their high-octane coverage. 

The Trade Deadline though, especially with the MLB, is full of controlled chaos. Rumors swirl, but hardly come to fruition, and yet we can't get enough news. Whether it was then-Nationals OF Alfonso Soriano being rumored to every team in 2006, or Manny Ramirez just being Manny Ramirez annually; you can't turn on a sports channel without coverage. 

It's funny how the sports fan looks at a rumor. If it's good and there are hardly any facts around it, just writer speculation, we start to congratulate our GM. But if the speculation never comes true? We feel shafted, betrayed, or any other synonym that involves negativity. 

Every trade is usually going to not meet our expectations, unless you're a Brewers or Cubs fan this season. 

This brings us to our "sources", the sports analysts. The list includes, but is not limited to:

Jayson Stark, Buster Olney, Peter Gammons, Ken Rosenthal, Karl Ravech (though he's more of a host),, Enrique Rojas (apparently Manny Ramirez's confidant), and whoever your local beat writer is. 

While I give my respect to ESPN, as they really have been able to put out some good, quality, qualified baseball and college football analysts, but one has to wonder: Are these real rumors? 

With general managers, team officials, owners, and presidents of franchises holding their cards close to their chest, you can never tell what's real. Most team owners flat-out deny any rumor, regardless of how strong the rumor may be.

Sure, they may drop a hint like, "We are still in the market for (insert position here)," but it is usually well guarded. 

Even though the baseball fan treats their team like family, they still trust the outsiders more than the team.  As a Phillies fan, I tend to hold Stark's rumblings ahead of Gillick's denials. But as a fan, no matter whom your GM is (especially if his last name may be Sabean), you never fully trust them. Maybe it is because I was theoretically "raised" by the Ed Wade administration, but you can't help but be cynical. 

The rumored names of players that the Phillies may or may not be looking at include: Ron Mahay, Jack Taschner, Brian Fuentes, and George Sherrill. But in years past, the organization has acquired the likes of Felix Rodriguez, Mike Williams (disaster), Todd Jones, Kyle Lohse (relatively solid), and Julio Mateo.

With a track record like that, albeit a few occurred in the Wade era, you can never fully trust a team. I'm still picking apart the Joe Blanton deal, as I hated losing prospects Adrian Cardenas and Joshua Outman. 

Good luck to your team and franchise today. The future can be bright for others, but mostly it's the present that feels important.