You know that friend you have who makes everything about them? How, no matter how attenuated their connection to something going on in the world, they filter it through their own experiences? Yeah, that’s this Joel Sherman column about the Red Sox-Dodgers trade:
But in the winner-loser here and now, it is hard to ignore that the biggest loser was not even directly involved in the trade finalized yesterday. The biggest loser is the New York Mets. Because the Mets could not get even enough health and production from Jason Bay and/or Johan Santana to make the kind of financial reset trade the Red Sox just did by unloading Beckett and Crawford, in particular.
Sherman goes on to slam the Mets, calling them “losers.” Losers because they couldn’t unload Bay and Santana. Losers because the Dodgers and Mets were both financial wrecks a few short months ago but now look at the Dodgers go. Losers because they are not “energizing the fan base” the way L.A. is and aren’t freeing up payroll like Boston is.
Which is insane. A salary-dump trade of this magnitude has never, ever happened in the history of baseball. The Mets were never for sale and the line of people willing to pay $2 billion and then absorb nearly $300 million in salaries is non-existent even if they were. And that’s before you note that the Mets had nothing like Adrian Gonzalez to throw into such a trade to make it worth the Dodgers’ while.
To rip the Mets for not doing what the Dodgers did here is cheap and silly. It’s like ripping your kid for not becoming the Dalai Lama. Sure, that kind of thing happens in the world, but it’s unfair in the extreme to suggest that there’s something wrong with him for not doing it.
But I guess there’s no hate like Mets hate, so this was probably inevitable.
The Astros and Nationals share a spring training facility, so it was only natural that they would open Grapefruit League play together. The Astros were the home team. Here’s the lineup they rolled out.
Teams typically include at least a few regulars in their spring training lineups as a courtesy to the fans, who are spending money to see big league players play baseball. This is especially the case for home games. However, the Astros have decided to roll out a lineup with a combined 323 MLB plate appearances.
There might be a reason for that. Houston was lustily booed as they took the field. This was after running a video on the scoreboard celebrating their 2019 AL championship.
That’s all with the team that beat them in the World Series (and is widely regarded as baseball’s current heroes for beating the big bad cheating Astros) in the other dugout, of course. Nationals starter Max Scherzer has not thrown at any Houston player, and the game is now in a rain delay. But it seems like the Astros decided to spare their players from some possible rough treatment, both from fans and opposing pitchers.
The same could not be said for Astros mascot Orbit, who was also booed.
One can quibble with the merits of booing a bunch of players who have barely touched the big leagues because you’re mad at Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman, but sports fandom is something of an irrational business. Fans are going to want their pound of flesh, especially when they paid for the right to be in the ballpark and give the Astros a piece of their mind. Some of them even brought props! This is just how it all works, unfortunately. If you’re in an Astros uniform, you’re probably going to get booed.
Welcome to the 2020 season, Astros. It’s probably going to be like this all year.