dinsdag, december 24, 2002

Limited No-Trade Clauses

Yesterday's press conference for the newly-inked Cliff Floyd revealed, among other things, that he is safe to settle in. With the longevity and stability of his locale being essential, Floyd was able to get a complete no-trade clause for the first year of his deal and in the final three years, he is required to submit a list of "10 or 11 teams" to which he won't go.

All of this prompted my mind to wander into the fantasy world of a baseball player's existence and begin to consider if I were Cliff Floyd, what "10 or 11 teams" would I refuse to be traded to. What are the criteria for deciding where you won't go? The franchise itself? The stadium? The surrounding environs? The fans? The marketing possiblities? The chances of playing on a winner? All of these, one assumes, play at least a minor role in the decision, unless I would pretend to be a "real" athlete which would of course mean that I'd announce publically that my only interest is to "be near my family" and then whisper out of the corner of my mouth to my agent: "I don't care where the bleep I go, just get me megabucks!"

So, in further pursuit of entering this fantasy world uninhibitedly, this is my top five list of Teams I Would Refuse To Be Traded To, from the one I'd rather retire than play with down to the one I'd least like to play for:

1. Tampa Bay Devil Rays: Yes, it is nothing less than poetic justice that the whining, irredeemable Rey "Who You Callin' Stupid Now?" Ordonez was dumped off at this final frontier outpost of incapacity and ineptitude, these three stages of hell, this hinterland of baseball talent. The foremost reason Tampa Bay would be number one on my list of teams I would refuse to be traded to is their hidious excuse of a baseball stadium, Tropicana Field. Playing in a domed stadium with synthetic grass might be appropriate for fake talents like Rey Ordonez but for any other ball player, it is a sure sign you've finally connected with the other human inhabitants of the landscape of Hell. If you need a reason beyond the stadium, you might want to consider that they've never had a winning season and even with the magical Louuuuu, they probably won't see one any time soon. Lastly, Tampa Bay is in Florida, one of the most uninhabitable states in the union and guilty of the malefaction of being governed by an honorless farceur of a human being.

2. Milwaukee Brewers: Although there is high personal appeal for playing for a franchise that named itself after its city's well-known beer industry, Milwaukee's beer is much like its baseball team: it sucks. But the more specific reason not to allow myself to be traded to Milwaukee would be because it is associated with baseball's living anti-christ Bud Selig, former owner of the Brewers. His daughter, Wendy A. Selig-Prieb is the chairman of the Board of Directors of the Brewers and one can easily note, by a quick glance at the Brewers' won-lost record over the last decade, the result of having the infamous Selig touch defacing the franchise.

3. New York Yankees: I don't care how many World Championships the Yankees have won, I don't care how historic and prestigious Yankee Stadium is, I don't care what every romanticist in baseball says about playing for baseball's most over-rated wunderkind. I wouldn't play for the Yankees for one very big reason (besides hating them) and that is George M. Steinbrenner III. Steinbrenner, a closet dictator in a somnambulist's world, is the author of the autocratic edict against Yankee facial hair. Steinbrenner has a disturbing and well-documented disdain for beards, goatees, and mustaches. Why? Because, as anyone knows, you don't win world championships with facial hair. Keep your money George. Use it to buy some common sense.

4. Atlanta Braves: Reason Number One, you have to play in the state of Georgia, home of the Griner Brothers and a few hundred deformed first cousins in Deliverance. I don't think it's possible to concentrate on baseball when all you hear throughout the stadium is Wheeeeee!. The other reason is that judging by the attendance at playoff and World Series games, no one in Atlanta cares about baseball. They must be too busy filling out their Georgia State Residency Applications. Lastly, it's just too damned confusing to try and figure out the exchange rate of American to Confederate dollars.

5. Florida Marlins: This has something to do with the fact that they play their home games in a baseball stadium which was built as a football stadium and sits on a street called Dan Marino Blvd for crissakes. How inspirational can that be for a baseball player? Sorry chump, you're playing the wrong sport here. Even if they had a different stadium they've had only one winning season out of the ten they've played in history so if you play for the Florida Marlins you might as well get good at losing because there aren't going to be many other kinds of moments there to experience, other than having to fight off Cubans washing up on shore like dead jellyfish every time you want to take a stroll on the beach. Florida's state motto is "In God We Trust". Not only unoriginal, but irrelevant. God isn't the team manager and even if he was, it's doubtful even he would be able to twist his attention away from the Calder Race Course and pari-mutuel gambling long enough to turn the Marlins into winners.

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