So, I'm far from a raving fan of the Griffey-to-White Sox trade that, if not for a 2-hours-later deal involving a (OMG) Red Sox player, would probably be burning up the News Tickers and News Wires and Telegraph Machines.
That said, Ken Tremendous of our "site-name-that-we-ripped-off" namesake Fire Joe Morgan seems to have a hard-on for the White Sox to (at times) ridiculous ends. Chalk it up to whatever you want (the run of "feel good/gritty gamer" stories that surrounded the 2005 WS champion White Sox and their prototypical "gamer grinder gritty gutser" Scott Podsednik [he of the Playmate wife and the constantly injured groin] seems like the most likely reason) but it's clear: KT hates the fucking White Sox.
Accordingly, KT decides to turn his ire on Mike Downey, a Chicago columnist who is not quite a stranger to this website, but who nevertheless is not to be taken nearly as seriously as KT does here.
This is the definition of meta--sports-hate-blog website dissects a dissection of its namesake, prototype sports-hate-blog website. Wowee. Somewhere Chuck Klosterman is spuzzing all over a thrift store chair.
You're a ChiSox fan. Against all odds, your team is +76 in run differential and leading the AL Central. Your GM, who can be a dunderhead sometimes, made excellent moves last off-season, and got you Carlos Quentin and Nick Swisher, and even though Swish is underperforming a bit, somehow Jermaine Dye is having his best year, and Jim Thome is putting up an .890 OPS, and you're getting some great innings out of John Danks and Gavin Floyd, and Scott Linebrink is making bloggers everywhere look stupid since we all thought getting him was a terrible move.
Wait--I thought it was against all odds when your team is +76 in differential and DOESN'T lead the AL Central. Or when your team is -76 in differential and leading the AL Central. Isn't it actually IN LINE WITH ALL ODDS when a team who is outscoring their opponents leads their division?
Also--dunderhead is an epithet that will be frequently applied to Kenny Williams in this article. Whether calling KW a sporadi moron is ridiculous or not, it seems unlikely that Ken "I write for a show about a company named Dunder-Mifflin" Tremendous ramming this term down our throat is any sort of coincidence. Curse you MSNBC and your synergetic cross-promotioning!
In short, things are going really well.
Then, at the trade deadline, your GM goes out and gets: Ken Griffey, Jr.
Who's good. Who might make your team better. But who is 38. And gets hurt a lot.
And then Ken Williams says: We're going to play him in CF, and maybe move Swisher to first, and (presumably) bench Paul Konerko (?). Or something?
Not so sure what's confusing about this, Mose. The White Sox gave up absolutely nothing for Griffey. The sent Cincy a 2B prospect who played his way off this team and a MRP who can't get anyone out. Richar and Masset could work out for the Reds or they couldn't. But they certainly weren't part of the White Sox's long range plans and they had very little (as you can probably tell from this trade) trade value.
Meanwhile, though Griffey is not the CFer he once was by any stretch of the imagination, he can't possibly be significantly worse than Swisher--who has said repeatedly he is uncomfortable in the field AND at the plate when he's playing CF and who, during a stretch at 1B while Konerko was on the DL OPSed 830.
Meanwhile, Ozzie Guillen has a preternatural fear of using Brian Anderson in CF and has been quoted in the press as saying the only reason Paul Konerko was still in the everyday lineup is because he has no one else he's willing to play in CF.
So Konerko is in the everyday lineup with a 600 OPS. Well, at least, he was. Until this trade.
But yeah, it's a really confusing trade there KT.
Needless to say, if you're you, you're a little confused by this. At least you're wary. Junior hasn't played CF since like 1965, and is Konerko going to DH against lefties or something? And how would Konerko take it if he's benched since he makes $12m a year through 2010, because, again, your GM can be a dunderhead sometimes? And what in the world is a defensive OF of Dye, Griffey, and Quentin going to look like?
Hilarious hyperbole there, Mike Celizic. Yeah, hasn't played CF since 1965. Either that or 2005. One of the two.
And Kenny's a dunderhead again, this time for signing a 28 year old to a 5 year contract, during which he put up two of the best years of his career.
I fucking hate Konerko like a werewolf hates whatever a werewolf hates, but even I would say that a 5/60 deal for a 29 year old was a fine deal, and certainly, Konerko's complete cliff-drop at age 31 wasn't anything that should have realistically been expected. That said I fucking hate Konerko like a fat kid does-not-hate cake.
In times like these, you, a ChiSox fan, have only one place to turn for analysis. There is only one place you go to get the real insider "here's what this means" and "here's what we can expect" breakdown.
You turn to the Trib. You turn...to Mike Downey.
Actually, no you don't. Downey's a comedian-esque writer for the Trib. If you want real analysis you turn to Mark Gonzales. If you want what the Tribune deems real analysis but is in fact borderline retarded, you turn to Steve Rosenbloom. But no one expects reasonable analysis from Downey.
But at least you know what you're talking about, Dwight Schrute's cousin.
(writer's note: from this point on, Downey quotes are in bold, Schrute-quotes in plain-text
Ken Griffey Jr. in a Sox Uniform? I'm Stoked
He's stoked, you guys. He and his boys are psyched. Dude. Bro. Seriously? I'm fucking stoked about this. Griffbones is going to crush it.
Maybe that title should have been a hint that Downey's not exactly serious. Or you could just ignore it and make tired jokes.
I zipped over to the Web sites as fast as my fingers could type Thursday to find out if it was fiction or fact.
I forgot I am a journalist and don't have to get information the way everyone else does, so instead of talking to my colleagues or calling someone in the Reds' FO or something, I "zipped" over to the "Web sites" as fast as "my fingers could type." Because I have never used a computer, and don't know how to, and had to ask my 5 year-old nephew what someone who used a computer would say if they wanted to tell people they had used a computer.
Is he seriously going to nitpick every turn of phrase the guy uses. Why would he expect an opinion-writer for the newspaper without any insider contacts to be able to phone up a Cincinnati GM?
But why let facts get in the way of nitpicking a guy's diction?
Cincinnati Enquirer, 9:47 a.m.: "Reds trade Griffey."
Not might trade. No "trade Griffey?" with a question mark. Did trade.
And to the White Sox yet!
And to the White Sox yet! Say boys, didja hear? Junior Griffey is to be a Chicagoan! Well slap my thigh and call me a dirigible! Roosevelt has a plan for the Krauts, by Joe! Extree, extree! Say, what news from the coast? Harvard defeats Cal in the Rose Bowl! The Maine is lost! Thousands gather to see new "Talking Pictures" -- the marvels of science never cease!
Seriously, is this the state of FireJoeMorgan? Making fun of writers' diction and syntax?
The Tribune, 9:36 a.m.: "Griffey headed to Sox."
Sorry. Just want to make sure I have the timeline correct.
8:?? or 9:?? AM: The Sports- and Editorial Departments of the Chicago Tribune, where Mike Downey works, learn of the impending trade of Ken Griffey, Jr. to the White Sox.
9:?? AM: Someone at Mike Downey's own paper begins to write up an article about how Ken Griffey Jr. has been traded to the White Sox. Downey, presumably, naps at his desk.
9:36 AM: Mike Downey's own paper, the Chicago Tribune, then posts the article, on its Web sites, about the Griffey trade. Downey: still napping.
9:47 AM: The Cincinnati Enquirer posts an article about the Griffey trade on its Web sites.
Somewhere around 10:?? AM: Downey awakens, wipes drool from face. Is informed somehow that Ken Griffey, Jr. has been traded to the White Sox, a team that plays in the town where he works as a journalist.
10:02 AM: At a complete loss as to how to pursue this information, so as to ascertain its validity, Downey turns on his computer for the first time ever. Has to go through a series of steps to create a Tribune user name and password. Sees confusing screen about software updates ready for download. Calls IT.
10:28 AM: Tribune IT guy Derek Greenhorn finishes installing Windows update on Downey's computer, tells Downey that he can now access the internet. Downey stares at him blankly.
11:56 AM: Greenhorn finishes an accelerated tutorial on "surfing the web." Downey is pretty sure he has a handle on it.
11:57: Downey tries to, in his own words, "smurf the World Wide Weird," ends up erasing his own hard drive and those of the 6 people closest to him. Tribune server crashes. Smoke pours out of Downey's computer. Downey realizes he is hungry and heads down to get himself a personal pan pizza and a tall glass of beer from a neighborhood restaurant while Greenhorn rushes to save the Tribune computer system.
2:18 PM: Downey smurfs the Weird under close supervision from Greenhorn and two Chicago-based FBI agents whose domestic terror-alert system has mis-identified Downey's computer's IP address as the possible epicenter of an internet-based terror attack.
2:19 PM: Downey does a Google-brand World Wide Weird seach protocol for "Cincinnati red baseball player Ken Griffey Jr was he traded? please help me internet I've never done this before am I doing this right? oh God, well, here goes nuttin'!", hits "shift," then "delete," then -- sure that he's figured out the right move here -- "help," then finally "return," and gazes blankly at his results. He then subsequently zips over to the Enquirer sports page, and sees that at 9:47, they published an article about the Griffey trade.
2:55 PM: After another brief nap, Downey wonders aloud whether his paper, the Chicago Tribune, has posted anything about the Griffey trade. So after a quick refresher course with Derek Greenhorn over in IT, who is now actively posting his resume on Monster.com because, in his own words, "I can't work with these boneheads for one more second or I'll kill myself," Downey figures out how to zip over to the Trib Web sites, and sees that at 9:36 AM -- several minutes earlier than the Enquirer posted their story, the Trib had posted a newsflash about Griffey being traded to the White Sox.
"Hot dog!" says Downey, to no one, as he munches on his now-cold personal pan pizza. "I'm going to write an article about this amazing day I'm having!"
Yeah. Or, you know, Downey's not the Sportswriter responsible for breaking fucking sports news. Because he's an opinion columnist. So to rag on him for writing an article about a trade after the fact is a little...well...retarded don't you think?
Excellent news. I was stoked.
Oh, that Ken Williams, always something up his sleeve. If not an ace, then a king.
Or a 38.7 year-old oft-injured corner OF with a 103 OPS+. So, like, maybe the 9 of clubs.
Yeah, actually, Schrute, I think that's what Downey was hinting at. That Junior's not quite an ace.
And yet he's a guy who's actually above the "average" line of OPS+ as opposed to Konerko, the guy he's replacing in the lineup, has an OPS+ of, I shit you not: 74.
That is to say, PK is 3/4's as good as a real baseball player. Griffey is marginally better than a real baseball player.
Oh but he might get injured
Then we (we meaning, the White Sox, an organization I have absolutely no affiliation with but I still call "we" because I'm, like all sports fans, a huge douchebag) would be: "no worse off than we were before we made the trade."
Oh, AND Griffey is one of the all-time greats ever to play the game and it will be pretty exciting for White Sox fans who have never had the chance to truly root for, maybe, the 4th best CFer ever to play the game, to see in him home team colors.
But he's 38!!!!! And he has an OPS+ of 103!!!!! How dare Mike Downey be excited about this tradE!!!!!?!?!?!?!?!?
Ken Griffey Jr., in center field at the Cell?
Yeah. Scary, right?
A cause to rejoice—set off the fireworks.
Oh. You went that way with it.
Oh yeah. It's totally frightening. Because we gave up Casey Kotchman, a 27 year old 1B with a huge upside, to get him for half a season. That means if he gets injured, not only have we lost the totally adequate player he's replacing, we also lose out on a player locked up cheaply for the future!
Oh wait, that's not the Griffey Jr. trade. The Griffey Jr. trade sent away two young players with no future in the organization (and probably not future in Cincinnati either) in order to replace a totally INadequate player who will still remain on the team and can fill in if Griffey gets hurt.
So, you know, it's not exactly frightening.
If you can get a guy who has more home runs than Frank Robinson, Mark McGwire, Harmon Killebrew, Reggie Jackson, Mike Schmidt, Mickey Mantle, Ernie Banks and Lou Gehrig, hallelujah and amen.
Sammy Sosa and Barry Bonds: also available. Omar Vizquel has more hits than Reggie Jackson, Joe Morgan, Mickey Mantle, and Enos Slaughter. Maybe they should pick him up, too.
Straw men are fun to play with.
I began to picture it.
Ball after ball dropping in front of Jr. Line drives that Swisher would've caught easily splitting the gap for run-scoring doubles. Griffey running back and to his right, then pulling up lame as Nick Punto rounds second and thinks about trying to score...
I'm not sure where he gets the idea that Nick Swisher is an adequate CF, but he probably should cancel his subscription to it.
And seriously--did he hire up Mike Celizic to purple up his prose? This is just sad, how the mighty have fallen.
Hey--it's kind of like Griffey!!!
Griffey in between Carlos Quentin and Jermaine Dye in the outfield?
OK, so maybe it wouldn't be the defensive equivalent of Reed Johnson in left, Jim Edmonds in center and Kosuke Fukudome in right, but it'll do. (Dye has been playing a mean right field, in fact.)
Griffey in CF won't be the equivalent of Tribune IT guy Derek Greenhorn in CF.
HEH! You can tell this guy's a professional comedy writer!
Ah, but Griffey right behind Quentin and Dye in the batting order? I like the sound of that.
Well, he'll definitely be better offensively than Brian Anderson. You've got that going for you. But to reiterate: 103 OPS+. Oft-injured. Center Field.
Keep repeating yourself. It won't make you right.
Let's try this:
103 OPS+. Hitting 7th in the lineup. Behind guys who are also OPS+ing over 100. Replacing a guy with a 74 OPS+ in the lineup.
Awesome! I can write like Bill Plaschke too!!!!!!!!!!!!! Only the things I write like Bill Plaschke. Aren't. Patently. Wrong.
Followed by Jim Thome sixth, Paul Konerko or Nick Swisher seventh and Joe Crede (as soon as he comes back) eighth? Pitchers will swallow their seeds and gum.
The line-up is better. But this is not Manny Ramirez. It's 38.7 year-old Junior Griffey. Let's not get ahead of ourselves.
No one's saying he is. Except for you when you put words in Downey's mouth.
This goes on for about twice as long as this. I'd write about it, but what's the point. This is just a sad, pathetic post on Schrute's part.
Look: I don't love the trade. It's a temporary fix for a problem the White Sox never should have had. People are getting "stoked" because it's a big name future HOFer many people grew up idolizing. That's cool. But most people also realize that Griffey's no longer "GRIFFEY". They've had about 7 seasons to come to terms with the fact that Griffey's not a perennial MVP candidate anymore.
And you know what? I don't like Downey either. I spent an epic (HUMBLE!) post ripping him to shit a while back (for a more viable reason than Mose's). But he's just writing an opinion column here expressing excitement about a trade that, in many ways, does kind of raise the excitement level for a slumping team.
Is that so goddamn ridiculous?
Oh one more thing--I know I come off as a total ChiSox homer here, and maybe I am (after all, I kind of think Kenny Williams is a genius). However, I think I'm being pretty fair about this trade to say it's
a.) not a world beater
b.) nowhere near as bad as Ken Mediocre is making it out to be.
For the record I hate Ozzie and Konerko with a passion and have my doubts about that Joe Crede guy. Also, I think the White Sox never should have fired Joey Cora as 3B coach and think Santo should be in the HOF and Harold Baines should not.
Just in case you were curious about my homerism.