As a young Reds fanatic, I imagine I was pretty similar to most of my peers.
I wore a baseball cap almost everywhere (a chronology of photos exists out there somewhere, and I’m always sporting a gap-toothed grin and Cincinnati cap du jour).
Summer days would end with Reds Hall of Fame broadcaster Marty Brennaman’s voice ambling over the airwaves, lulling me into a reluctant slumber.
Indeed, I was like lots of kids my age. I loved the game—playing it, watching it, talking about it and dreaming grandiose dreams of one day living it.
Yet amidst all the sentiment and romance, baseball also taught hard lessons.
We learned about sportsmanship. We learned about unyielding passion. And, at least for fans like myself, we learned that life is rarely fair.
I always hated the fire sale. Every season (or so it seemed), July would roll around and it would be decision time. Not for me, of course. At that age, these guys were heroes, legends among men, and I loved them all.
No, the decisions were made by each team’s brass: cold, calculating men in suits doing what they realized most fans would hate them for.
See, every baseball team starts out a winner in April. Everything looks rosy in the spring. Yet at some point, there comes a time in every team’s season where it must stare inward, do a gut check and ask: Is it really worth it?
A lot of teams stay intact at the trade deadline, their management confident they’ll make a run at the playoffs. However, by July, it’s too late for some. Competitive fires are extinguished by impartial economics, and players we’ve grown to worship are unceremoniously shown the door.
It’s a shake-up that rational adults like modern-day-me completely understand, yet one that made watermelon-pounding-wiffleball-playing-1993-me want to puke over his morning Cheerios.
The following are five teams and/or players who, despite the indignant shrieks of young fans everywhere, could be fire-sale kindling by July’s end.