Another great moment for false narratives

43 Comments

You won’t be surprised to hear that I did not watch the Super Bowl. I’m not trying to act all superior or anything or make some anti-football statement. Just saying that I didn’t watch it because the NFL is not my thing. Instead I watched several “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” episodes, with the “Who pooped the bed?” episode standing out as the absolute topper.

OK, maybe I am trying to act superior. That show is the best.

Anyway, Joe Sheehan did watch the game and he wrote about how anyone telling you that the third quarter power outage changed the momentum of the game and allowed the 49ers nearly successful comeback to get going is full of beans.

No, it has nothing to do with baseball. But baseball has plenty of false narrative of its own. Normally that false narrative starts in some obscure play in some obscure game or bit of history and people tend not to question it because looking back at what really happened is difficult. The Super Bowl blackout false narrative is great, though, because everyone in the world who doesn’t have the good sense to watch “Always Sunny” marathons was watching it so anyone passing it off as the reason for the 49ers comeback is engaging in some particularly bold and obvious narrative-mongering.

Be ever-vigilant, my friends. The forces of false narrative are always out there waiting to take advantage of the gullible. Don’t let them.

Evan Longoria: “I just kind of feel sorry for the Rays fan base.”

Joe Scarnici/Getty Images
10 Comments

The Rays were busy over the weekend, trading starter Jake Odorizzi to the Twins, designating All-Star outfielder Corey Dickerson for assignment, and then picking up C.J. Cron in a deal with the Angels. The Rays saved about $4 million — Odorizzi’s $6.3 million less Cron’s $2.3 million salary — and picked up a prospect. They’re still on the hook for Dickerson’s $5.95 million salary until they can find a trade partner, which seems likely.

Those are some head-scratching moves if you’re a Rays fan or a member of the Rays. Dickerson hit .282/.325/.490 with 27 home runs, 62 RBI, and 84 runs scored in 629 plate appearances last season, part of which resulted in his first trip to the All-Star Game. Designating him for assignment is strictly a financial move, assuming he can be traded. The Rays are currently operating with a payroll below $70 million. This comes just a week and a half after Rays ownership proposed the public footing most of the bill for the club’s new stadium. And the Rays had traded third baseman Evan Longoria — then the face of the franchise — to the Giants earlier this offseason.

Longoria expressed sympathy for Rays fans for having to put up with this. Via Andrew Baggarly, Longoria said of the curious Dickerson move, “I just kind of feel sorry for the Rays fan base. … I’m not going to take too many shots but it’s pretty obvious that guy is a valuable player and didn’t deserve to be DFAd. Corey was our best player last year.”

Longoria isn’t quite on the money there. By WAR, Dickerson ranked fifth among position players on the team, according to Baseball Reference. FanGraphs is also in agreement. Still, it’s indisputable that Dickerson, who turns 29 years old this May, more than pulled his weight. The Rays do not have a surfeit of starting outfielders, so it wasn’t like they were making room for other capable players. Mallex Smith, who put up a .684 OPS in 282 PA last year, is slated to start in left field at the moment. Designating Dickerson for assignment, as well as trading Longoria and Odorizzi, were simply cost-cutting decisions.

The Rays’ M.O. has been part of the problem leading to the current stagnant free agent market (sans Eric Hosmer‘s eight-year deal on Saturday). Teams like the Rays, Phillies, Reds, and Tigers have been explicitly putting out non-competitive teams in order to facilitate a rebuilding process. Longoria is right to express sympathy for Rays fans, who see their favorite team worsening a roster that went 80-82 last year. The Rays haven’t finished at .500 or above since 2013 and doesn’t figure to halt the streak this year.