I’ve always been quick to roll my eyes at Jays fans who get so unabashedly steamed at the possibility that someone running a huge brand and television property operated by a major arm of a multi-billion-dollar company, with a payroll over $100-million, might not always be entirely truthful, or that figures who have so often demonstrated themselves to be, above all else, company men, might be massaging the message to spin things in a positive light for their employers, and for the viability of their product at the turnstile and as compelling content on the TV network owned by the parent company.
People want to hold Paul Beeston, Alex Anthopoulos, and their ilk to a higher standard, I think, because what they represent is, to a lot of us, more than just a brand or a product or content. It’s not a soft drink or a car or something that can be distilled into some shallow pitch-line, it’s the passion that unites us — *Ehrm* — except… well… it really is a whole lot like those things when you get right down to it, and guys like Beeston and Anthopoulos really are just middle-managers, doing what’s right for the company and the bottom line when it comes to the P.R. aspects of their jobs.
We understand that. It’s OK.
Or, it is to me, at least.
The club is going to do what it’s going to do, regardless of what they say or what we think. The injured players are going to be healthy when they’re healthy. What we’re told about it, to me, matters not one iota, and those who get themselves all worked up about it are kinda hilarious. If it gives the club some any kind of competitive advantage, even better.
I’d even go as far as to say that’s all true except when that competitive advantage is gained in the form of budget increases procured by selling false hope to fans, but at this point that’s a losing proposition anyway, isn’t it?
Like, at this point does anybody even bother trying to believe Paul Beeston when he goes on the Fan 590, as he did this morning with Brady and Walker (audio here), and shovels us the same platitudes about the club’s finances?
“I’ll set the record straight,” he tells us, “because we’ve never gone to Rogers for money and asked them for anything that we haven’t got. They’ve been very, very generous with us. They took our salaries up from $90-million to $125-million, then they’re up this year. They will be up next year, there’s no question about that. They’ve been very supportive. And so, when we lose, all of the sudden it’s because of finances — it’s because of money — and that’s really not fair to Rogers. That’s because of decisions we’ve made, or because of injuries, or because of the way we’ve played. It’s nothing to do with the financial part of it. And when we get into this, when I hear last week that we didn’t make decisions because we didn’t have the money and there was a hockey contract, it’s just flat out wrong. It’s patently false. We’ve got what we need to do, and if there wasn’t a trade that was made it was made because Alex and the baseball people didn’t think that they wanted to part with the players that they could get back for who they could get. It had nothing to do with finances.”
Aren’t the words so transparent that they don’t even register? Don’t we all see through the well-worn line about Rogers never saying no when they’ve asked? Don’t we all fully understand that the reality is that they know enough not to ask?
Do we bother getting our hopes up when he says the big league payroll “will be up next year, there’s no question about that”? When earlier he said that Melky Cabrera is “a player you just want to have,” and that he and Colby Rasmus “are two players that are critical for the future”?
Would it matter?
We know how a team that has money would operate — we see it even with us in the standings in the form of the New York Yankees. A team with money to spare, as full of warts as a Martin Prado or a Chase Headley or a Brandon McCarthy might be, doesn’t let the team chasing them load up with potential upgrades that cost nothing in terms of the game’s most valuable commodity: talent. A team with money to spare doesn’t balk at a Prado out of fear of blowing their opportunity to re-sign Cabrera. There are plenty of legitimate baseball reasons to have not made stronger plays for those guys, but that’s not what a team making decisions that have “nothing to do with finances” does.
Does it matter whether Alex Anthopoulos is lying or not when he says, as he did this afternoon (as per a piece from John Lott of the National Post), that even though Adam Lind wasn’t scheduled to play a rehab game today for the GCL Jays because of tightness in his back — a wonky back that, according to Baseball Prospectus, kept him out 24 games in 2011, 29 in 2012, five in 2013, and 20 more earlier this season — the club’s decision-makers “don’t think it’s much of anything”?
Does it matter that it’s reasonable enough that he says they felt, “why even push it?”
Does anything that we do or think change the timetable? Do these guys even bother to blush anymore when some of the things they’ve said in the past are thrown back at them? Or does the media understand so well how their hands are being tied from above that they don’t even bother to push it to hard — to grind them down and get to the truth?
Would it matter if, more often, they just said the truth we already know? Would it change anything?
I’m honestly asking!