Single page view By Eric Neel
Page 2

I hate the trade deadline.

I hate:

  • GMs scurrying for scraps just to look busy.

  • Writers trying not to greet every weak rumor with a yawn.

  • Talk-radio fans geeked all out of proportion.

It's enough to make a man swear.

Swear out an oath, anyway.

And so it is on this day, July 29, 2005, and in this place, the desk in my home office, I hereby vow that …

I will not be fooled into thinking Danys Baez is the key to anyone's playoff push. I can see right through that funky-name-spelling smoke screen. I know the man walks five per nine now, in Tampa, when no one's even paying attention. And I know that number will climb like the great glass elevator shooting through the roof of the factory should he actually find himself on the hill in a ballpark where they play games that, you know, matter and stuff.

I will not consider a trade involving the Mets to be relevant to anyone outside of Queens, no matter what Alfonso Soriano's standing is on the fantasy player index.

Roger Clemens
The Rocket is 43, going on 24.

I will not let talk of A.J. Burnett and his "potential" distract me from appreciating the staggering depth and breadth of Roger Clemens' career record -- and, maybe more remarkably, his outrageously good 2005 season at age 42. Seriously, forget pitcher wins (maybe the most overrated statistical category in all of baseball), the man has a 1.46 ERA through 142 innings, and he has given up as many as three runs exactly once in 21 starts so far this season. What are the analogues for this? Who has ever been this good at this age? Miles Davis? Angie Dickinson? A bottle of Lafite-Rothschild? (Burnett, by the way, won't look so good in a hitter's park like Fenway or The Cell. Mark my words: The trade deadline is to rational baseball decisions as "beer goggles" are to respecting oneself in the morning. I will not be distracted.)

I will not understand it (cap and tax be damned) if the Yankees fail to make one last desperate attempt at a Ken Griffey Jr. deal. He's roping balls (two home runs in Dodger Stadium the last few days). He's suited to the porch. And he can still play some D. He's like the Strawberry hookup, only with a glove, and without the long-term treatment facility threat. Come on, Brian. Turn Chacon around, dress up Pavano or Wang and some greenback dollar bills. The Reds have been hoodwinked before.

I will not talk about Randy Winn when I could instead be talking about Matt Lawton, who, as Rodman did with 91 and Daryle Lamonica did with 3 (and as Josh Towers is trying to do with 7), is making a goofy number (50) look real good.

I will not wish Jose Mesa and his .286 BAA on my worst enemy. Which is to say, I have no desire to see him traded to the brain-dead yutz who green-lighted Coke's new "I'd like to teach the world to chill" campaign.

In short, I will not wait with bated breath for news this weekend. I will not obsess about the trade deadline.

Instead …

I will continue to enjoy the late summer in the East Bay, where we can't be far off now from "Billy Beane Haircut Night," and where cheers of "We got Harden, yes we do! We got Haren, how 'bout you?!" will soon be echoing from the Oakland hills to the banks of the Missouri in St. Louis.


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