In which a columnist acts as if Joe Maddon was the spouse who left him


Tom Jones of the Tampa Bay Times does not like that Joe Maddon is with the Cubs now. He does not like it one bit:

This whole thing stinks to high heaven.

It smells rotten and it looks shady and it feels dirty.

No matter how you slice it, it all just feels wrong.

Joe Maddon is gone. It’s official now. The Cubs introduced him as their manager Monday.

He put on their hat. He put on their jersey. And that’s when it truly sunk in.

He isn’t coming back to Tampa Bay next season. It’s over. He belongs to someone else now.

All of the one-line paragraphs are his. There are many more of them, most of which detail the process which got Maddon to Chicago, which Jones believes was probably tampering of some kind. I don’t have facts sufficient to dispute him on that. I’ll note that, contrary to Jones’ position, Maddon would not be an idiot to leave Tampa Bay without having a job lined up because only a fool would think he couldn’t find a nice, lucrative one pretty quickly regardless. But no, I can’t prove that nothing untoward went down.

I think the bigger takeaway here, however, is the way Jones couches all of this. He said “If you’re a Rays fan, it’s easy to feel like a jilted lover,” but that clearly applies to some columnists too. And I suppose he’s entitled to his feelings on all of this. But really, you don’t write this column if you think sports are just like any other business and that highly-paid athletes and coaches in highly-profitable businesses are rational actors rather than avatars for fans who approach sports with a childlike naiveté.

I’d like to think that, after all of this time, we’re beyond thinking such silly things. But apparently we’re not.