I’ll Trade Ya
First of all, I hope you notice The Watson Files has really hit the big-time now. It’s been given the gold (actually white) star of honor and designated a “Pro Blog.” Readers’ expectations have never been higher and the quality of work is… low as always.
If you come here to read about baseball, you’re in luck. If you come here to get upset about people who don’t like the Colts, you’re also in luck. If you come here for jokes that are lame at best, you’ve hit the three-team parlay of your dreams.
You’ve probably already read enough about the Roy Halladay-Cliff Lee trade from the people who know a lot about the major leagues. This article from Jayson Stark is probably the best all-encompassing story I’ve seen. His first point is that we’ve never seen two Cy Young Award winners traded in the same deal. Which means we’ve probably never seen a trade like this. And that’s just at the major-league level.
But what about the minor leagues? First off, three of the eight prospects in the deal played in the Midwest League last year: Brett Wallace (Quad Cities ’08), Philippe Aumont (Wisconsin ’08) and J.C. Ramirez (Wisconsin ’08). Seven of the eight were considered Top-10 prospects in their organizations (according to Baseball America) and the only one who wasn’t (Tyson Gillies) played in the Futures Game this year. Then to top it all off, the A’s jumped in and made a prospect-for-prospect trade, sending Wallace to Toronto for OF Michael Taylor, who started this whole thing with the Phillies and might be the best all-around prospect in the deal. Usually those kinds of players are reserved for trades involving major-leaguers, but they both might as well be there anyway (they’ll probably get there in 2010).
I’ve heard really good things about Taylor. He’s humungous, is a good athlete, has a good bat and went to Stanford which generally means you’re a pretty smart person. And Aumont pitched for Canada in the World Baseball Classic and, with the bases loaded and nobody out, got David Wright (shattered bat popout), Kevin Youkilis (strikeout) and Curtis Granderson (strikeout) out in order. And Kyle Drabek is the son of Doug Drabek, who in addition to winning a Cy Young Award, also had a 90s mustache-mullet combo rivaled only by the dearly departed Rod Beck and maybe Doug Jones.
In short, the minor-leaguers (seven top-10 prospects… SEVEN!) in this deal were just as interesting as the major-leaguers, which is really saying something considering two Cy Young winners changed teams.
Now on to another, completely separate point which is going to be unpopular in Fort Wayne: Among good teams in the NFL, it must be the least fun to be a fan of the Indianapolis Colts. In no way do I have anything against anyone from Indiana rooting for their hometown (or home-state) team. BUT, my overall point is that the Colts are boring and a bit lame. Five reasons.
Reason #1: Facility I was at Lucas Oil Stadium earlier this month for the Winter Meetings. Beautiful facility and everything is top-notch. But like baseball, football is a game that’s supposed to be played outside. I don’t care if you have the best quarterback in the universe and December/January in Indiana isn’t conducive to a passing offense. Football is played outside.
Reason #2: Shushing at a football game?!? This is inexcusable. I understand that home-field advantage means you don’t have to run plays with the crowd going crazy. You want to be able to hear the snap count. BUT, every time the Colts are on offense and there’s a big play and there’s any crowd noise, #18 goes up to the line and tries to quiet the crowd down. If I wanted to enjoy a quiet afternoon watching sports, I’d watch golf. This is football. Fans might quiet down a little so the offense can hear, but don’t tell me to shush at a football game. This isn’t a library.
Reason #3: High expectations Somewhere along the line, the Colts became the Yankees, the Red Sox and the Phillies. If they win, everybody expected it. If they lose, it’s the end of the universe. Sure they’re 14-0. But when your football team is expected to win in blowouts every week and they play all these close games (against some bummish teams) like the Colts do, it’s more relief than happy when the game’s over. They don’t help themselves when they try to milk the clock in the second half whenever they have any kind of a quasi-sizable lead. Put a leash on one of the most explosive offenses in the league? Where’s the fun in that? I’d rather watch the jerky Patriots run up the score every day of the week.
Reason #4: They’re boring This goes hand-in-hand with Reason #3. The only game I thought the Colts were going to lose was the Patriots game. And it was a great game. But there have been 13 other games. It’s the same thing we’ve been seeing for years: Peyton Manning is obscenely good but it’s annoying when he makes 30 seconds worth of audibles before every play, Joseph Addai is 26 going on 38 and is a cheap imitation of Edgerrin James, half the starting defense is hurt… Is this 2009 or 2006? By being so dominant, the Colts have turned their regular-season games into NBA regular-season games. Just play well enough to get home field for the playoffs and we’re set.
Also, aside from Peyton Manning commercials (which are usually hilarious), there is a serious lack of any NFL-type intrigue/storyline, which is essential for any fan base. Look at the rest of the division leaders in football. The Saints are leading New Orleans back from the hurricane. The Eagles have 18 concussions and Michael Vick on their roster. I don’t think we need to talk about Minnesota’s storyline(s). The Cardinals have Kurt Warner, who is a less-redneck Brett Favre who wears gloves. The Patriots are coached by Darth Vader in a hoodie.Cincinnati is trying to overcome two deaths close to the team. The Chargers? Take your pick… When will Norv Turner make a decision which will torpedo the team? Who will Phillip Rivers trash talk/cuss out this week? And is there any team with an easier joke phrase? The Colts can’t measure up to any of this, unless you want to count the number of times we see Manning Face during a given 24-20 win. And I don’t.
Reason #5: No rivalries in the division They’re in a division with the Texans, the Jaguars and the Titans. The closest team is almost 300 miles away. The Titans are the only team that’s been good lately. The NFL sets the Colts-Patriots matchup every year, but that’s once a year and it’s only a rivalry because they’ve both been good lately. It’s all on-the-field rivalry, which is boring.
hing against you, Colts fans. Unless you’re the ones doing the shush-ing. Aside from that, there’s not a lot you can do about any of these things.
I’ll tell you one thing, though: even when the Browns stink, it’s a lot more fun than the Colts. The Browns aren’t just bad, they’re a caricature of a bad NFL team. There was a time this year when I was sure they were going to beat up their own coach on the sideline. Every first down is a small miracle. In fact, I do a mental fist-pump when they don’t fumble the snap. They play outdoors. Even when the wind chill is ten-below. And you’d better believe nobody was shushing when the Browns beat the Steelers last Thursday. When your team is 1-11 and you’re beating your sworn enemies (who happen to be the defending champs) in ungodly cold weather, you can yell as loud as you want. And another thing: Browns fans don’t like anybody in their division. We can’t stand anybody. The Steelers are the main rival, but Baltimore stole our team and the Bengals are in-state and have a bunch of bandwagon fans. So yes, the Browns are terrible, but I’m not jumping ship. Because it’s already fun to be a fan and it’ll be even more fun if/when they get good again. The Colts? Boring.
Before I finish up, hopefully you saw the high-school basketball game last night on ESPN. It was played at the Rike Center at a certain Division-III school in Westerville, Ohio. And the star of the game was Jared Sullinger, who is going to Ohio State. Bonus.
Now, a word of encouragement for Browns fans from George Michael!
Have a great weekend!