Ricochet is the best place on the internet to discuss the issues of the day, either through commenting on posts or writing your own for our active and dynamic community in a fully moderated environment. In addition, the Ricochet Audio Network offers over 50 original podcasts with new episodes released every day.
If you want to keep the peace then you don’t step on the third rail of American conversation. No, it’s not Donald Trump. It’s not even politics. Or religion.
“So, what do you think (fill in the blank with local baseball team) should do this offseason?”
These wintertime conversations used to take place down at the General Store around the stove (hence the phrase, “The Hot Stove League.”) Sometimes the conversation would get so heated the stove was no longer needed.
Eventually, the conversation moved to talk radio and now has migrated to the internet. Neither move elevated the conversation one bit, nor has the creation of the new “nerd stats” which make everybody and his sister Sally an analytical genius General-Manager-in-Waiting. Now, instead of talking about dingers, and Uncle Charlie, it’s WHIP and WAR, launch angle and exit velocity.
What hasn’t changed is the unreasonable and often contradictory nature of it all. The starting points remain the same. “Well, if I were in charge I’d start by trading for (last year’s Cy Young Winner) for (the worst player on my team) and a bag of batting practice balls. If you were (the targeted player’s team) you’d go for that trade, wouldn’t you?”
Mmmmm, sure. Why not?
Or it’s this one: “Man, that contract of so-and-so’s is a killer! Why did they give him all that money? And he’s always hurt and can’t stay on the field! The idiots!” And five seconds later the same guy says, “Why don’t they offer that player an outrageous sum of money for an outrageous length of time? I’ll tell you why! ‘Cause our ownership is cheap, that’s why! And that GM is an idiot!”
Next are the geniuses who have figured out that time only moves in one direction. “Our guys are getting old. That guy’s bat has slowed down, and that other guy has an aging arm. They should bring up that Paul Bunyan kid. Tore up the Forest League last year. Kid can’t miss, I’m telling you.”
“I heard they were thinking of trading him to the Yankees for pitching.”
“What?! Are they freakin’ nuts?! This kid is gonna be a superstar! He’s the future of this franchise! Idiots!”
Wisdom of the ages? “Potential” is that French word for “ain’t done it yet,” Frank Robinson was not an “old 30,” and in the words of that great baseball savant Doris Day, “The future’s not ours to see, Jackson.”
Of course, the Hot Stovers are blessed in their ignorance. As they argue over transactions they’re only trading numbers on a spreadsheet. They know nothing of the people behind the game — who was struggling because one of their parents was dying, which kid in the minors seems to be universally loathed by his teammates, or who had nagging little injuries that kept them from performing well but it wasn’t bad enough to put them on the DL.
But in these cold days of January, with snow on the diamonds and even spring training games feeling like an eternity away, it keeps the blues at bay. Throw another log on the fire and let’s check Twitter for the latest rumors.Published in