Don't Believe Dez Bryant, Baseball Trade Deadline Hype
Absent making stories up, there are few moments when the media is more ridiculous than when it gins up items to create drama. And the chaos surrounding Bryant as well as the approach of the so-called baseball trade deadline are just the two most recent examples of press silliness run amok.
You'd have to have been hiding in a cave somewhere not to have either heard or read something about Bryant, the Dallas Cowboys' first-round draft choice, who made the decision that he would not follow football tradition and carry the pads of a veteran -- in this case, Williams -- after practice.
The "story" not only made it to the front page of the Dallas Morning News, one of the nation's best newspapers, but has been fodder for national talk radio and television sports newscasts, as well as for websites.
Are we really so starved for real information that the fact that one guy decided not to carry another guy's gear is a story with legs? It's precisely this kind of gossipy US Weekly-style garbage that reduces the image of the media in the eyes of the public, and makes it difficult to get athletes to trust reporters.
And then there's Saturday's baseball trading deadline. Before you know it, there will be countdown clocks and special shows to herald the moment Saturday afternoon when the curtain comes down on personnel moves for the rest of the season, and pennant contenders make a last lunge at players that can help them get over the hump.
It's an exciting midsummer narrative that plays out each year, with just one problem: It's not true.
There is no trading deadline in baseball. Deals go on throughout the entire season. Check any baseball encyclopedia and you'll see trades dated during any month of the year.
The difference is the degree of difficulty attached to certain dates. For instance, as of Sunday, players must clear waivers in order to be traded. While that may place a certain level of complexity on a potential move, it doesn't make them impossible.
Indeed, teams routinely put their entire rosters on waivers as of Aug. 1 to attempt to clear players for potential trades. If a player clears, he can be dealt, but other teams can block deals by placing a claim on a player.
Those claims are honored in reverse order of standings, meaning, say, if the Yankees tried to get Oswalt next week, the Rays or Red Sox or any other team could hold up the deal by putting a claim on the pitcher. Then the Astros would either have to deal with the team making the claim or pull the deal with the Yankees off the table.
The next "deadline" is August 31. That's the date by which a player on one roster has to be moved to another team's roster in order to be eligible for postseason play. Again, while September trades are rare, they have, in fact, happened.
The games we watch have enough drama in them. Sports reporters and broadcasters shouldn't have to invent it.