Major League Baseball's trade deadline is not a time that brings out the best in anyone, really. Reasonable adults gnash or exult in wildly disproportionate ways. Slightly less reasonable adults bluff and deny and trade their most valuable commodity for Avisail Garcia and minor league relievers and then grinningly tear-ass around the war room hunting for high-fives. A bad time is had by all, although obviously some have a worse time than others.
The media members whose job is to bird-dog all this furious inconsequence -- by calling various equally frazzled general managers for de rigueur denials about in-demand LOOGYs, by tweeting various inane certitudes as if they were In A World teases from movie trailers -- are certainly not at their best. The job gives them no time for that. They can sleep, and write in full and grammatically correct sentences, once the deadline is over. This sounds sarcastic, maybe, but it's not: there's not a lot of glory in being The Guy Who Was First On The Justin Maxwell Trade, but that's the gig.
So maybe it's too much to ask that we work on new ways to describe one team being interested in trading for a player on another team. Yes, 140 characters is just 140 characters, and yes someone decided that every micro-change in the transactional weather -- "HEARD THIS: Phillies may be on cusp of standing pat, or making trades. Could be buyers or sellers. #mlb" -- needs to be tweeted and treated as if it's worth something. But the metaphors that fit into these mini-headlines and tweets -- all this "sniffing around" and "kicking tires" and "dangling" and "coveting" and (um) "going hard after" (sorry!) -- are maybe things we can work on.
USA Today's Ted Berg has done a good job, as he does, of presenting these ridiculous things in their full ridiculousness:
The Marlins are dangling Placido Polanco, but it's proving more difficult than they imagined due to the weight of his head.— Ted Berg (@OGTedBerg) July 31, 2013
Several teams kicking the tires on Justin Morneau. "Please stop kicking my tires, guys," polite Canadian requests.— Ted Berg (@OGTedBerg) July 31, 2013
And, again, the fact that teams are interested in trading for Justin Morneau or that the Marlins are interested in trading
an old-timey baseball uniform full of moths Placido Polanco is enough like news to count during this time of the baseball season. Someone has to write it, and it's not like I'm not reflexively refreshing MLB Daily Dish because their headlines contain some unintentionally unsettling imagery.
I am doing all that, even at risk of imagining Kevin Towers actually physically sniffing around a visibly uneasy Bud Norris, while Norris quietly signals for security. Or a bunch of guys standing around Marlon Byrd's Honda Accord, studiously kicking away at its tires. Or Ruben Amaro sitting in some candlelit "Criminal Minds"-y obsession chamber, pasting one photo of Xander Bogaerts after another on the walls. But because we are going to do that compulsive refreshing and self-updating, could we also try -- in the future, not in the next few minutes -- to come up with a way to talk about potential trades that involves less upsetting metaphors?