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Tale of the Tape:
Deadline pressures

Page2 columnist

If the Fred McGriff saga taught us anything, it's that major-league deals rarely work without gun-to-the-head pressure. As baseball's July 31 trading deadline approaches, much will be made of valiant GMs furiously working the phones and filing contracts before midnight.

On the other hand, sportswriters have a different word for deadlines -- daily! Miss one, and your readers get to enjoy their morning Maypo with some expanded box scores and Tank MacNamara.

But when it comes to getting the job done with a ticking clock, who has the rougher ride, GMs or sportswriters? Both push the envelope, now let's see how they stack up at the Tale of the Tape?

GMs vs. Sportswriters
Category   GM   Sportswriter   Advantage
Biggest distraction   Sportswriters   Bourbon   Sportswriters
Damaged goods   You close a deal for a proven starter and a AA prospect who died last summer in a cotton candy machine mishap   The kind of women you meet while trying to fax a story from Kinko's at 4 a.m.   Sportswriters
-- the heart wants what the heart wants
Uh-oh   You just acquired a player who fathered three children with your owner's wife   Your editor discovers that your team "Insider" is actually Toby, the mentally challenged towel boy   Push
Future considerations   A fancy way of saying "three cases of groin ointment"   What you must face when you nickname a player "Captain Over-The-Hill"   Sportswriters
Massaging the truth   "You won't just be signing the contract, you'll be joining the Devil Rays family ?"   "Don't worry, Mr. Rocker, this is off the record."   Sportswriter
Biggest headache   Making Barry Bonds a multiyear offer without paying luxury tax   Making Barry Bonds remotely sympathetic   GM
Command from boss   "We need a front-line starter, a second baseman and a lower payroll."   "Three-hundred words on ice dancing, and it'd better be punchy."   Push
Dream phone call   "Hi, this is Chris Webber. Any chance you still have that mid-level exemption?"   "I'm Anna Kournikova. You come interview me -- in my apartment. Yes?"   Sportswriter
Ichiro   The find of the year   "For the love of God, does anyone speak Japanese?"   GM
Disasters   "What no-trade clause?!"   Spilling nacho cheese on your modem   Push
Beware of   Mileage on the cadaver tendon in your new star's pitching arm   Hallucinating from bad press box sushi   Sportswriter
Fiscal follies   Your owner is so cheap he makes you dial 10-10-2-20 before every call   You tried to charge dinner at the Palm to your expense account   GM
Bad news   Your phone is bugged by Scott Boras   "S" key breaks during a Sammy Sosa article   Push
Ten minutes to go   "We need to seal this. Toss in a cheerleader."   "Quick, I need a verb."   GM
On the line   Millions of dollars   Dozens of dollars   GM
Assistant   A motivated Ivy League graduate   Nicorette gum   Sportswriter
Ultimate goal   A world championship   A humor column on Page 2   Push

OK, I might have reached on that last one, but there you have it. This Tale of the Tape might have had more pushes than Sumo, but it's all so simple when you break things down scientifically. In a player to be named later, the advantage goes to ... sportswriters. Allow me to alert the media!

Until next time, I'm Nick Bakay reminding you the numbers never lie.

Humorist Nick Bakay, currently a writer for the CBS sitcom "King of Queens," is a regular contributor to ESPN The Magazine and Page 2. He has a website at

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