What Happens After A Trade
There’s been lots of talk of players switching teams in the past week. In baseball, Manny Machado finally ended up on a team (and that’s the last we’ll hear from the $300MM man until he no doubt opts out after five years) and free agent Bryce Harper remains teamless. In basketball Anthony Davis tried to force his way to L.A., but that was a no go. Two hall-of-fame Steelers are available, and so is Odell Beckham Jr., apparently.
Trades and acquisitions can satiate us during a slow sports week, but what happens when a guy is traded? Logistically, what happens next? That’s what The Athletic’s Scott Burnside details in his story walking through the logistics of a trade deadline in the NHL.
Sure, operations directors need to alert the staff to make up some new jerseys, but there’s a hell of a lot more to consider.
- Car service, and – if it’s a particularly tight window before the next game, a police escort from the airport
- Temporary housing for the athlete and his family
- Realtors, schools, pets
- In many cases – extremely expedited work visas, which is made more difficult on holiday weekends or, you know, when the government is shut down
- What if the couple is expecting a child – what arrangements can the team facilitate in a new city in terms of medical care
- Flowers. Never forget the flowers for the wife/significant other
Above all, teams seek out any and every way to make players and their families feel comfortable as soon as possible. Reduce stress and anxiety quickly, and the player will likely play better sooner.
Of course, an NHL player moving is a very different scenario than one of us moving, but I’m sure it’s still stressful even with the a team handling 95% of the grunt work. It’s interesting to read about the people who make it happen so smoothly. – PAL
Source: “How’s a Traded Player on the Ice For a New Team So Quickly? NHL Travel Coordinators Share Their Secrets”, Scott Burnside, The Athletic (02/21/2019)
TOB: Slight tangent: Nothing is more gross to me than a police escort to get a player to a game. I’ll never forget in 2006 when the Red Sox traded for Doug Mirabelli, who specialized in catching knuckleballs, and the Massachusetts State Police did a high speed escort to get Mirabelli from the airport to Fenway Park in time to start that night’s game, which was being started by knuckleballer Tim Wakefield. It was just so gross, and the sports media hailed it as some great event. Bewildering. I’m happy to say that in 2016, the Massachusetts State Police admitted that the escort “was not an appropriate use of our assets.” Ya think?
Sounds of Spring
The premise borders on being too cute, but I happily read Daniel Brown’s puff piece on baseball players and coaches favorite sounds of spring. Spring training has begun and baseball is on its way back. Growing up in Minnesota, it was the first real indication that spring was actually creeping closer, and it meant it was time to start scoping new cleats and maybe even a new bat.
Some of the responses were pretty obvious (the crack of the bat), but others were specific enough to resonate. The baseball sound A’s first base coach (and former first baseman) Mike Aldrete will never forget Bo Jackson running:
Bo Jackson was on first. So I was holding him on. And as the pitcher delivered, he took off stealing. It sounded like the earth was moving with every one of his steps.
It was almost like out of my right ear I could feel him running and I could feel the earth reacting to him. I’ve never heard anything like that.
I mean, everybody kind of makes some noise. And a lot of times as a first baseman you jump off and you kind of hear whether the guy is going or not. But this was …
(Here, Aldrete paused to imitate the sound of dinosaur footsteps.)
I don’t want to compare Bo Jackson to animals or anything, but it wasn’t human. It was superhuman.
I can’t relate to that, but I definitely agree with Giants reliever Will Smith and his affection for the sound of metal cleats on concrete. It’s not until teenage baseball that you’re allowed to wear the real thing, so I can understand his love for the sound of a real ballplayer.
As an old catcher, the best sound is always the snap of a catchers mitt. It’s the sound of everything coming together flush. It’s the sound of things going right. Fun little read. – PAL
Source: “Giants, A’s Sound Off On Baseball’s Greatest Hits: A Bo Jackson Steal, a Nolan Ryan Heater and MadBum’s Bat”, Daniel Brown, The Athletic (02/21/2019)
The Fix Was In
ESPN released a long story this week, the result of a two-year investigation into former referee Tim Donaghy and his gambling ring. It’s really fascinating. Donaghy was busted nearly 12 years ago now, and even served time in prison. But in that time, he has always maintained that while he gambled on NBA games he officiated, he did so on “inside information” and never took any steps to affect the outcome of the game. That’s as stupid and unbelievable now as it’s always been, but many powerful people and organizations had a strong incentive to push that narrative, including the NBA. Back in 2007, the NBA claimed it studied Donaghy’s games during that 2006-2007 season and concluded there was nothing strange going on with Donaghy’s officiating, aside from one game.
But ESPN’s article uncovers that the NBA only studied 17 of his 40+ games that year. It also revealed that Donaghy had been doing this since approximately 2002. When it began, Donaghy and an old buddy would make the bets, on a relatively small scale. But “connected” people soon realized Donaghy’s buddy was winning at an unheard of clip, and began matching his bets. Eventually, they realized that Donaghy was reffing all the games he was betting, and they wanted in on the action. By 2006-2007, the Donaghy ring was huge, with hundreds of millions of dollars being moved.
What’s more, Donaghy told the FBI in 2007 that there were other referees also gambling and fixing games. But the NBA had no desire for the public to find out how easy it was for a referee to fix a game, and they had no desire for the public to think this was anything but one bad apple. Not long after the FBI informed the NBA of Donaghy’s scheme, the story leaked to the press and any chance the FBI had of finding more corrupt referees was gone.
ESPN’s investigation was painstaking, as they tracked every call and non-call Donaghy made during that 2007 season. What they found revealed there was “just a 4.1 percent chance that an unbiased ref would have randomly made the calls that Tim Donaghy did during his crooked run.” ESPN’s reporting also revealed that while Donaghy still maintains that he never fixed a game, he has privately told a number of people the opposite over the years, and ESPN got all of them to talk about it on the record.
This was a well reported story and a great read. My biggest takeaway was that, especially with the continued push to legalize sports gambling, the NBA and other sports leagues will have a hard time preventing this from happening in the future. Donaghy told one friend that he liked to call an illegal defense on the team he picked against early in the game, so that they’d play less aggressive defense the rest of the game. When you think how easy it is to throw a pass interference flag, or call a strike zone tighter, or blow your whistle a little earlier, you realize: it’s just too easy. As someone who enjoys and even spends money on sports, that’s a scary thought. -TOB
Source:“How Former Ref Tim Donaghy Conspired to Cix NBA Games“, Scott Eden, ESPN (02/19/2019)
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*I never thought I’d live to see the day when KAREN got a quote on 1-2-3…damn, TOB