Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Throw another Log on the Hot Stove

It may be a long December, to quote the Counting Crows.  We’re barely into this bleak Chicago winter, yet our sports cup nearly runneth dry.   The Bulls are imploding like a snippy grade school traveling team, robbed of their spirit, most of them unable to deign even the faintest interest in their young season.  Duh Bears…that situation is so miserable that sports radio has us all on the Lovie Smith Job Deathwatch…as if the McCaskeys are actually going to swallow a bitter $11 million dollar pill and hire Shanahan or Cowher, who’ll miraculously turn pigskin water into wine and, come next year this time, we’ll all be belting out “Bear Down, Chicago Bears” as we march down Michigan Avenue doing our holiday shopping.  Riiight.  Sure, the Blackhawks are on a roll…but c’mon, it’s HOCKEY. and the playoffs don’t start until mid-April.  And I’m pretty much in skank fatigue mode.  The Cheetah, I mean Tiger Woods thing has gotten so slimy and out of hand that I’m not the least bit interested in the latest famedigger coming forward.

      What’s a sports fan to do?  We do what comes natural in such biting, frigid weather…huddle around the “Hot Stove.”

The White Sox are like a lot of us this holiday season – shopping the clearance racks, looking for a bargain.  Maybe it’s a bit “bruised and reduced” but hey, there’s a shot it’ll work out. J.J. Putz?  Hideki Matsui? Aren’t there better, more cost-effective alternatives out there?  Or at least better, equally costly alternatives? Juan Pierre? Anyone remember his last go-round here in Chicago?

The Cubs have the unfortunate position of being seated at the Texas Hold ‘Em table, with a decent sized stack of chips, but their cards facing the wrong way in their hand. Everyone in the world (yes, even in Tanzania!) knows they must rid themselves of
Milton Bradley.  Trade him for Pat Burrell! How about Mike Lowell!  How about the ghost of Boog Powell and 50 cases of Miller Lite?!?

    Thanks to the internet, even casual fans can become Baseball Junkies with a
minimum of effort.  The amount of information flying around this season is staggering.
Between the newspaper reporters’ tweets, the major sports network sites, and myriad blogs, even the wispiest rumors take on a life of their own, albeit sometimes brief.  

    And, while I’m somewhat more than a “casual” baseball fan, yet still a notch or
two below fantasy league stat professor, I have to admit that I’m caught up in the
constantly changing flow of rumor, innuendo, “mystery teams”, and “sightings”.

Throughout the day, whenever I can squeeze it in, I’m clicking links and refreshing pages, looking for the most up-to-date info on Who’s Going Where! and Who’s Slashing Payroll?  Like this update thread I followed, on mlbtraderumors.com

9:00pm: Phils GM Ruben Amaro Jr. told MLB.com's Todd Zolecki that he's not likely to trade for a big-time starting pitcher.

7:30pm: A major league source tells Bastian that Halladay might waive his not-trade clause to join the Angels.

7:19pm: The Angels have made an offer, according to Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun. They'd give up Joe Saunders, Erick Aybar and Peter Bourjos for Halladay..

6:56pm: Jon Heyman of SI.com hears that the Phillies are "joining the fray" for Halladay.

5:52pm: MLB.com's Lyle Spencer reports that the Angels could bring on two elite pitchers this offseason.

5:30pm: Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos says the Jays aren't currently likely to make a deal at the Winter Meetings, according to Bastian. If they do make a trade, they'll look for above average players, not average ones.

2:12pm: SI's Jon Heyman says the Blue Jays requested Jesus Montero and one of Hughes Chamberlain plus more from the Yankees for Halladay.

1:13pm: MLB.com's Jordan Bastian tweets that we should not count out the Phillies for Halladay

7:05am: ESPN.com's Buster Olney (via Twitter) hears from officials involved in the Halladay discussions that the Jays are still in

6:50am: The New York Yankees remain very much in the hunt for Roy Halladay, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post.

TMI, you say? Too Much Information?  You could get curmudgeonly and blame it on modern times.  Pine for the “good old days”, when teenagers and fantasy leaguers would rush to the newsstand, or the end of their driveways, eager to dive into the sports section and see if today was the day their team finally made the big trade, or landed the huge free-agent.  But I’m not sure that the anticipation was better.   It certainly made the end results more impactful…by the time the Cubs finally do trade Bradley, it’ll be so expected that, whatever the return , fans are bound to complain about getting the short end of the stick.

If you haven’t caught Hot Stove Fever yet, consider giving it a shot. I highly recommend it.  Because, for all the spastic page refreshing, and hours wasted in front of the computer, there is one definite positive aspect to this information overload on the baseball front.
It’s keeping my mind off of the Bears.


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