We're a little more than three days away from the Major League Baseball trading deadline and the rumor mill keeps churning out deals to tantalize fans of contenders and also-rans alike. The guys making the trades are less enamored with the rumors, however, and are blaming the resulting damage control for making it impossible to pull off any actual trades.
"We know what the truth is, and we can laugh about it," Blue Jays G.M. J.P. Ricciardi told USA Today. "But when it gets it out there, now you've got to explain to the player why it's not true. Why that team never called. You spend half of the time putting out fires and never getting anything done."
That's pretty rich from a guy who made a public announcement that he was putting his star pitcher Roy Halladay on the trading block. It's understandable that players are going to get thrown by hearing their name thrown into trades, whether they're into the idea or not. That's not the problem with the article, though. The problem is that it is a front for another tired attack on the web.
It's the same tired song that "mainstream" media outlets have been peddling for a long, long time. Peter Gammons, who has never once reported a fraudulent trade rumor, takes up the banner.
"This stuff is just driving everybody crazy, and it's getting worse and worse," Gammons says. "It's like there's 10 new trade rumors on the Internet every hour. There is so much stuff thrown out there, people can't differentiate between fact and fiction. People have an insatiable thirst for this stuff, but general managers get so tied down with this stuff, you can't even get ahold of them this time of year. It's just insane."
That's even richer than Ricciardi's comment. Gammons, Ken Rosenthal and the rest of the MLB insiders who lard columns with rumor after rumor and whisper after whisper bemoaning the fact that people can't differentiate between fact and fiction because of the big, bad Internet. And it makes it harder for Gammons to get someone on the phone, which means he might actually have to wait until he gets the story right instead of getting it first.
MLBTradeRumors.com takes a few hits in the article, which perfectly illustrates how wrongheaded the finger-pointing is in the first place. That site is, more than anything else, a clearinghouse for the rumors being put forth by newspapers, ESPN, Fox Sports and all the other outlets that think it's okay for them and only them to report trade talks. Everyone else is just speculating, you see, even if nobody is worried half as much about getting stories right as they are about getting the stories out first.
Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to FanHouse.com and ProFootballTalk.com in addition to his duties for NBCNewYork.com.