Jim & Bob's Palatial Baseball Blog

Saturday, April 14, 2007

They Write Letters

It seems I wasn’t the only one moved to dark, mordant chuckling over Dave van Dyck’s wailing and gnashing of teeth over the relocated press box at U.S. Cellular Field. The eds at the Tower saw fit to print two letters from readers taking our wayward press to task for their whining.

The first, from T. Bron in Tinley Park IL, says:

Those complaining writers would do well to remember that many of their readers can’t afford to attend more than a couple of White Sox games a year. They also ought to realize that some of their colleagues cover things in the real world, like the war in Iraq, and I doubt they’re doing it on wall-to-wall flat-screen TVs.

Suck it up, guys, and count your blessings.

In fairness, T, the press corps have already done the first part of your directive – they do, in fact, suck.

And Brian Hughes of Chicago checks in with this:

So the White Sox’s decision to move the press box to a less desirable location isn’t going over too big with the press. Who cares? Why don’t they buy a pair of binoculars like I have to when I sit in the seat that I paid for, along with parking, food, and beer?

What are these guys going to complain about next – the shrimp cocktail wasn’t cold enough at the free pregame luncheon?

Bwa-ha-ha! Kudos to you Brian – although I have often referenced the free spread available for our hungry journamalists, the shrimp cocktail is the perfect detail to illustrate this particular folly. Wish I had thought of that.

Unfortunately, all good things come to an end. Glenview’s Chip Marshall gets in what I’m sure will be the first of many takes on this subject:

For the life of me, and as a long-suffering Cubs fan, I still can’t fathom the logic behind Cubs general manager Jim Hendry’s decision to trade [Greg] Maddux for [Cesar] Izturis during the 2006 season, perhaps the worst in memory. Bad enough the Cubs organization let the future Hall of Famer get away at the onset of his prime, via free agency, for nothing in return. Worse yet might be allowing Maddux to escape a second time with very little if anything to show for it.

I agree with Chip that Izturis does qualify as “very little if anything.”

However, he must have a very short memory. Or perhaps he is very young. There are several years that immediately spring to mind as being worse for my heroes than 2006. Like this one. Or perhaps this one. And this one. And for fans of a certain age, these three seasons will bring back cringe-worthy memories.

Chip, if you’re a Cubs Fan, you should know one absolute truth: it can always get worse.

But Chip’s more egregious statement is his assertion that the Cubs “let” Maddux depart as a free agent after the 1992 season. Perhaps this is also a function of his lack of long-term memory.

In the fifteen years that have passed between then and now, the predominant media script of the Maddux negotiations is that Cubs GM Larry Himes was a jerk who hardly made an effort to keep the Cy Young Award winner. While Himes was indeed a jerk, to say he “let” Maddux go is a gross misrepresentation of what happened.

If you look at the real-time reporting, you will see that Himes tried to get Maddux signed throughout the ’92 season, at one point offering the largest contract the team had ever given a pitcher. And if you look at what Maddux was saying in real-time, you don’t need to be a mind-reader to get the feeling that he didn’t want to come back.

I’ve threatened to do this before, but now I think I’ll go back through the archives and examine this subject in more detail. Like all scripts, if offers a pleasing tale. And like all scripts, it plays the fans for rubes. Himes did plenty to find fault with; we shouldn’t have to make stuff up in order to prove what a weasel he was…

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