August 01, 2002
The Cliff Floyd trade

I'm a Yankee fan, so any time the Red Sox do something to challenge my pinstriped heroes, I don't like it. But the Red Sox's theft of Cliff Floyd from Montreal stinks on a number of levels. Let's take a close look at this.

First, as Dave Pinto points out, the Expos were as close to the wild card spot when they got rid of Floyd as they were when they picked him up from Florida. He hadn't hit all that well yet as an Expo, so there's reason to believe that he hadn't really helped them yet. So why trade him, especially for two low-grade prospects?

Joe Sheehan calls it a fraud. He notes that the prospects are marginal and the Expos are supposedly going away after 2002 anyway, so what's the point of playing for the future? He also notes that even the left-for-dead Montreal franchise can draw more fans if they just try to win:

It's as if Selig didn't realize what might happen if he allowed [Expos general manager Omar] Minaya to make the deals. Since the acquisitions of Floyd and Colon, the Expos had broken 10,000 in attendance in 11 of 13 home games, something they'd done just eight times all season before the trades. Oh, hell, let's run a chart:

Average Att. Median Att.
Expos, Not Trying 8,429 6,091
Expos, Trying 14,064 13,402

The trades seemed to prove what we've been saying all along, that fans will come see a team--in any market, in any stadium--that has success, and more importantly, that shows a commitment to winning. On a typical July night, twice as many people came to see the Expos as did before the team made a significant move that signaled that the team was trying to win.

It's like Selig said, "OK, you can do this so I can say that Montreal is a dead issue," and when it wasn't a dead issue, made sure that he stopped the momentum.

Finally, Yankee broadcaster Michael Kay connects a few dots:

All together now: The Expos are owned by baseball, the Red Sox are sold to a group that is hand-picked by the Commissioner, the Yankee organization has seemingly emerged as the Darth Vader of the sport and the Red Sox are trailing them in the AL East. The team, owned by baseball, has a chance to help the team whose ownership is hand-picked by baseball, to catch the team that is supposed to represent everything wrong with the game.

The sinister Yankees are asked for a king's ransom to acquire Floyd while the Red Sox get him for two questionable prospects. Even the most ardent anti-Yankee fan would see that somewhere in that mess is a scintilla of something improper. As someone who does not worship at the altar of Oliver Stone, I certainly do not subscribe to a big-time consipiracy theory. But the fact that someone, somewhere could piece all this together and doubt the overall purity of what took place is a gigantic black mark on the game.

I'll keep saying it until people believe me: The vast majority of baseball's problems can be laid directly at the feet of its management. Problems caused by the players are dwarfed in comparison.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on August 01, 2002 to Baseball

Good lord, you're a Yankee fan!?!?!?! What do I do now, Chuck? I'm, I'm, I'm speechless...

But tell me what the hell the Yankees are gonna do with Cliff Floyd besides keep the Sox from getting him?

You're right about mgt. v. players. Problem is, like the Yankees, the players have won too often. People perceive the owners as underdogs this time around, right or wrong.

Posted by: Scott Chaffin on August 2, 2002 2:02 AM

Blame my parents, Scott. I've been a Yankee fan since the days of Horace Clarke, Fred Stanley, and Celerino Sanchez.

I'm not saying the Yankees should have gotten Cliff Floyd (though Lord knows he'd have been a much better pickup than Raul Mondesi). I'm saying the Red Sox shouldn't have gotten Floyd the way that they did. It's such a brother-in-law deal that you almost have to admire it for its audacity.

Personally, I'd argue that the players have won because they've been on the right side of the argument. Unfortunately, management has done a good job of convincing the public that it's only the players who are greedy. I think there are more skeptical voices on that score now, but it's a tough perception to overcome. Especially since the media is frequently complicit.

Posted by: Charles Kuffner on August 2, 2002 8:28 AM

Well, you definitely stumped me on those names :-)

Oh, yeah - the players have almost always been right. But at this point, that's besides the point to popular perception. To go back to the Yankees metaphor, they've been winning for years because they've got a great scouting organization and great farm system. But all most people see are the trades and the free agents (and of course the $$$). Hell, I harp on it all the time, just as blogfodder. Well, I do truly hate the Yankees, just on general principles. I love watching them, but I hate them ;)

Posted by: Scott Chaffin on August 2, 2002 11:18 AM

Well, I'm now a NY Met. I signed a 4 yr./26 million dollar deal this morning and I'm arriving at my Press Conference as we speak.

I would NEVER play in the Bronx. I would retire. However, I do know a thing or two about what the Mets are Doing.


Mets acquire Jeter from Yankees

The two NY Baseball teams pulled off a wild trade today, sending the Mets Rey Ordonez to the Yankees in exchange for superstar Derek Jeter.

Jeter will be the the mets essential No. 2 slot hitter, slotted behind 2nd baseman Roberto Alomar, trying to overcome a very tough first season in NY.

Jeter doesn't care much about switching towns. "Hey, I'm still a NY'er. I can still party. Plus my girlfriend {star actress Jessica Alba} is a lifelong Mets fan, so I guess this works quite well.

Jeter is also in the beginning stages of trying to convince long time friend Alex Rodriguez to come with him to Shea. A-Rod is on the market for the right deal, and is willing to play third base.

But for now, Jeter is happy to join Cliff Floyd and Tom Glavine as the newest Mets.

"As long as I'm not in Boston, and I'm not a Red Sox, its cool!" the new Met said. Some good times coming in Flushing.

Posted by: Cliff Floyd on July 3, 2005 8:46 PM