Jim & Bob's Palatial Baseball Blog

Sunday, March 11, 2007

How Scripts Are Disseminated

After yesterday’s Cub-Royals game on WGN radio, I hung around for the Sports Central gabfest. And hosts Jim Memelo and Glen Kozlowski provided a terrific example of how the media spreads around its favored scripts.

Mark Prior, of course, was brutal in his stint against Kansas City. And so the first topic for discussion was Prior’s fate. One of the guys (forgive me – they’re pretty interchangeable to me, and WGN provides no transcripts) started out by lamenting that the Cubs didn’t trade Prior to Baltimore for Tejada back in December of 2005. He did have the good grace to admit that hindsight is 20/20. But, damn, moving Prior would have saved them a lot of heartache, if only Jim Hendry had been willing to pull the trigger.

This wasn’t the first time I had heard this sentiment. But it has come up more and more often, even in casual conversations, and I fear it will become as much of a favorite as the Greg-Maddux-really-really-really-wanted-to-stay-a-Cub-in-1992 script that we all know and love.

There is nothing wrong with the way the Sports Central crew laid out the Prior-for-Tejada script. Except that the way they laid it out was completely incorrect.

One of the guys even admitted it on the air during the discussion. He said that the Orioles must have known something that the Cubs didn’t, because they didn’t want Prior.

Judging from information in the Palatial Archives, Hendry had no problem shipping Prior to Baltimore. As the Trib’s Dave van Dyck notes in this report from 30 December 2005:

The Cubs, apparently, would be willing to part with Prior for Tejada, which would save the Orioles money and give them a young starting pitcher.

The proposed deal has been altered several times to include such Cubs as Corey Patterson and Todd Walker and perhaps Rich Hill. The Cubs would want young lefty Erik Bedard back. The Orioles prefer Carlos Zambrano to Prior.

One could argue that Hendry was getting a little grabby when he asked for both Tejada and Bedard.

On the other hand, I can see why Hendry would get cold feet. Besides the names listed above, other players that Baltimore was rumored to want in the deal include Felix Pie, Ronny Cedeno, and Brian Dopriak. Patterson wound up going to the O’s in a separate deal a few weeks later, so let’s take him out of the equation. That leaves the deal as Tejada and Bedard for Zambrano, Hill, and some combination of Walker, Cedeno, Pie, and Dopriak.

Yikes. That price may be a bit steep. Even for a guy like Tejada.

At any rate…the why-didn’t-the-Cubs-trade-Prior-for-Tejada script is slowly working its way into Cub Fans consciousness, with helpful pushes by hapless radio hosts like Memelo and Kozlowski. They’ll question Hendry for not making the trade.

If you’re lucky, they’ll tell you the trade was killed by Baltimore, not the Cubs. If you’re really lucky, they’ll tell you why Hendry balked at the asking price.

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