“Rumors are the worst. Long live rumors”

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I met Grant Brisbee of SB Nation at the Winter Meetings. And, at one point, we ate a taco together. Different taco, but at the same restaurant if you must know. Anyway, I liked the cut of his jib and think he’s a fine fellow.

And today he has some fine insights about his experience at the Winter Meetings. They were much like the insights I had when I first started going to the Winter Meetings five years ago: some excitement, some disorientation and a little bit of “wait, what is the point of all of this for most of us?” and, finally, a sense of “ahhh, I understand.”

Grant’s moment of clarity revolves around why it is people get so hung up on rumors. A hangup many have come to disparage. Many inside the game, actually, wondering why in the hell we all care about rumors. Grant nails it, jumping off from a slight, almost weightless rumor and explaining what it does to a baseball fan’s head:

With that mere fragment of association, my mind starts racing. Kemp on the Giants. Kemp in AT&T Park. How’s the defense going to hold up? How much ground would he have to cover? He’s a strong enough hitter to make the park something of a non-factor. What about the contract? Would the Dodgers eat money? Would the Dodgers even trade with the Giants? How old is Kemp? What sort of knee problems did he have again? Let me see those second-half stats again.

It’s not like there’s baseball to distract me.

The scenarios start spreading out like fractals, permutations of what my favorite team will or will not be. The more rumors, the better. A team with 50 active rumors is a team with fans surfing on the multiverse. Everything is possible. Everything is possible.

I’ve come to know a few actual “baseball insiders” for lack of a better term, and they often roll their eyes at rumors and think we all waste our time on them. But baseball fans savor them because they give us something to think about — give us baseball to think about — when there is no baseball. Don’t let some baseball insider tell you that you’re wasting your time with them. It may be his job and he may get tired of them, but it’s your hobby and if gives you enjoyment, so eat up all the rumors you want.