Nov 5, 2013, 9:29 AM EDT
Free agents can sign anywhere as of midnight last night, and one of the biggest free agents on the market is Brian McCann. And for good reason: he’s a good catcher who can hit a ton. What’s not to like? Many teams, including the Yankees, Red Sox and Rangers will be after him. He’s going to make bank.
Of course his free agency is also going to bring two free agency memes that I have grown to love in some twisted way. The first one is on display in this Daily News story:
McCann’s agent, B.B. Abbott, said Monday that the Bronx is “certainly a place that is on Brian’s radar. How could it not be? You’ve got an historic franchise and a great park, knowledgeable fans and a chance to win, which is what every guy plays the game for. From Brian’s standpoint, it would be an attractive place to listen to.”
That’s actually pretty strong as far as these sorts of endorsements go, likely because Abbott knows that the Yankees will be bidders. But it’s also a species of public comment about free agents we often see this time of year, and which often leads to fan and talk radio craziness.
In essence, it’s a player or his agent saying true, non-controversial things about a city because, really, what else does one say? Yet whenever someone says something fairly benign like this, it’s taken as some strong signal that the player is seriously, seriously interested. Indeed, anything short of “[city] is a cesspool” launches free agent chatter about this player being “linked” to that city. It’s right up there with “[Player X] will sign with [Team Y] because he grew up nearby.” Which rarely happens with top free agents.
By the way: Scott Boras can be annoying, but he’s also pretty brilliant. He was aware of this meme years ago, which is why he can usually be found saying things about his clients and certain cities. Remember when Johnny Damon liked calamari? That was to get Detroit people chattering and, hopefully, to make Detroit’s front office feel fan pressure. If Abbott is wise, he’ll come out tomorrow talking about how much McCann likes chowder. The good kind, that is. Not that tomato-y crap.
The other thing I bet we’ll see at the end of McCann’s free agency is The Great Fan Turn. You know what I’m talking about: when a player who is loathed for some reason is suddenly seen in an entirely new light the moment he appears in his new team’s uniform. We’ll see it with McCann, I can bet you a million bucks. The same fans who made fun of McCann’s antics and yelling during the Carlos Gomez and Jose Fernandez home runs — the people who mocked him and forwarded Photoshops of McCann yelling during great moments in history — will suddenly come around to McCann’s “passion.” They’ll have some newfound perspective about it all, and will come to appreciate his fire.
And, of course, Braves fans who got all bent out of shape when people criticized McCann will begin to proclaim that they always really kinda hated that guy.
Which is fine. It’s sports and that’s how sports and sports fans roll. We’re irrational and we root for laundry and we can be talked into almost anything and anyone if they’re on our team. We may pretend we’re more objective about it — the folks who see McCann in a new light after he signs his contract will mostly claim that they’ve thought about it more rather than felt something visceral once he put on their teams cap at a press conference — but after writing about sports and interacting with sports fans for seven years, the thing I am the most confident of is that the single most predictive piece of data for one’s position on any given issue in sports is what team one roots for.
So bring on the free agent rumors and signings. And bring on the fan reactions. All of it ads to the fun and chaos of the hot stove season.
Sep 30, 2014, 2:30 PM EDT
You know Kershaw is the Cy Young. Is he the MVP, too?
Sep 30, 2014, 2:14 PM EDT
Davis isn’t a big name, but he stepped in as the primary center fielder when the Tigers traded Austin Jackson to the Mariners in the three-team swap that netted them David Price from the Rays.
Sep 30, 2014, 2:03 PM EDT
I’d say “act like you been there before,” but I’m guessing this guy has never, ever been there before.
Sep 30, 2014, 1:47 PM EDT
And the odds-makers expect a low-scoring game, too.
Sep 30, 2014, 1:30 PM EDT
You cool with this, Yankees fans? Not sure I’d be cool with this.
Sep 30, 2014, 1:15 PM EDT
Rick Porcello is in line to start Game 4, with Anibal Sanchez in the bullpen.
Sep 30, 2014, 1:00 PM EDT
Wild Card games are basically coin tosses, but someone’s gotta have an edge, right?
Sep 30, 2014, 12:40 PM EDT
Nate Silver — a guy who has literally made a living poking holes in people’s dubious analysis — traffics in some of his own.
Sep 30, 2014, 11:54 AM EDT
When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.
Sep 30, 2014, 11:27 AM EDT
At the absolute latest, Davis could be eligible for Game 1 of a theoretical Orioles World Series. But maybe as soon as the ALCS.
Sep 30, 2014, 10:45 AM EDT
Starring Ron Darlin, Cal Ripken, Gary Sheffield and Pedro Martinez.
Sep 30, 2014, 9:44 AM EDT
Tempest Meet Teapot.
Sep 30, 2014, 9:17 AM EDT
But Cespedes is not yet sure if he wants to test the market next year.
Sep 30, 2014, 8:54 AM EDT
Not the sort of thing you typically hear in these situations. Not that this situation has happened in this exact way very often.
Sep 30, 2014, 8:05 AM EDT
Looking ahead to the first action of the 2014 Postseason: The American League Wild Card Game.
Sep 29, 2014, 11:36 PM EDT
Rodriguez had to settle for a one-year, $3.25 million contract before the beginning of spring training and began the season in a set-up role, but he ended up with a 3.04 ERA with 73/18 K/BB ratio over 68 innings while going 44-for-49 in save chances.
Sep 29, 2014, 10:25 PM EDT
After being limited to 16 starts last season, Buchholz managed to make 28 starts this year, but he saw his ERA jump from 1.74 to 5.34 in the process.
Sep 29, 2014, 9:20 PM EDT
Castillo landed a seven-year, $72.5 million contract with Boston in August and batted .333 (12-for-36) with two home runs, one double, and three stolen bases during his first taste of the majors earlier this month.
Sep 29, 2014, 8:40 PM EDT
Roark has a 2.57 ERA in 252 innings as a big leaguer.
Sep 29, 2014, 8:14 PM EDT
The Mariners gave Hart a one-year, $6 million deal last winter in hopes that he would be able to get his career back on track after multiple knee surgeries cost him the entire 2013 season, but he batted just .203 with six home runs and a .590 OPS over 68 games this season.
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- REPORT: The Astros to name A.J. Hinch their new manager today 23
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