I’m just going to go ahead and put this out there – I want to be traded.
I know, I know. I don’t actually operate within a field that can cater to such requests. And, I really like where I’m at anyway, to be honest. But still – I want to be traded.
I don’t care where either. Send me somewhere where I can write captions for brochures advertising toaster ovens. Send me where the weather is warmer, so I can write outside. Send me where the weather is colder, so I can buy those popular furry boots. Send me somewhere that I can be reunited with a former editor, with whom I had a great working relationship in some past life. Send me closer to home, because this particular part of New Jersey scares me. Send me where we can win…NOW. Win what, you ask? I don’t know. Just trade me. And if you refuse to trade me, I will continue to churn out mediocre columns in my sleep, like the one you are currently reading.
Now, if this were, say, professional sports, this request would immediately be followed by agents, general managers, coaches, teammates, equipment managers, and the like, scrambling around in an attempt to appease my wishes. Why? Because I said so. Duh.
Now, listen. I know it’s a tired song and dance to compare the professional sporting world to, ya’ know, real life. I’m well aware that it’s an entirely different atmosphere, and I’ve never been envious of the type of fame and scrutiny that comes with it. I don’t care about how much money athletes make (unless they suck). I can deal with the arrogance and I can even deal with the annual “labor agreement” that threatens to halt play of whatever sport’s turn it is to be involved in a such a mess. Whatever. But this “trade-me-now-or-else” trend is just plain ridiculous.
Who hasn’t thrown their hat in the ring during the current “I want to be traded” fiasco? It’s a seasonal thing for Boston’s Manny Ramirez, and he never even has a concrete reason as to why. Miguel Tejada wants out of Baltimore because he doesn’t like the way things are going there. Terrell Owens wanted out of San Fran, and when he was traded to Baltimore, he got his way out of there too. Ron Artest wanted to be traded from the team that stuck with him after he went into the stands to beat up some fans. And he got his wish. (But just barely, because that situation was T.O.-esque: “Trade me now! Wait – not to THAT team!”) Last year, Vince Carter wanted out of Toronto so bad that, when he wasn’t purposely missing games with fake injuries, he was launching shots 10 feet behind the 3-point line, and then miraculously not getting back on defense. Basically, he blackmailed the Raptors. But hey – whatever. All is fair in love, war, and when you’re tired of playing for your current team, regardless of what your contract may state.
What drives me nuts is not even the fact that athletes are demanding trades left and right. What is inconceivable to me is that franchises around the country are acting on these disgruntled whims, as if they were orders sent from some kind of higher power. The Red Sox front office tried in vain to trade Ramirez, a guy who consistently drives in 140 runs, never gets in trouble, and helped the team win their first World Series in 86 years. The 49ers were so ecstatic to rid themselves of Owens that they traded him for…umm, I have no idea what they got for him. Yes – I have no idea what the 49ers received in return for arguably the best wide receiver in football. Who did the Nets give up to get Carter, who currently averages about 60 points per game? I don’t remember. But, at least Carter is happy, because that’s all that matters.
And at least Herm Edwards is happy, the coach who clamored his way out of New York because the grass was greener in Kansas City. Yep – the Jets traded their COACH for a draft pick because he wanted to go somewhere else. This “me first” trend has gotten so bad that even coaches aren’t immune to it. And there’s even a bonus in it for them (the coaches), since it’s “politically incorrect” for someone in a position of authority to express their displeasure – they get to lie about it.
The inmates really are running the asylum. When does it stop?
What is most troubling about the current atmosphere of professional sports is this: the minute an athlete, or now a coach, has to face some adversity, they want out. If the team isn’t winning, they want out. If they don’t get along with their teammates (Shaq doesn’t even get a pass here), they want out. If they don’t like the coach, or the manager, or the general manager, or the owner, they want out. Worst of all, if they feel that they’re not making enough money under their current CONTRACT, they want out.
What is a contract, anyway?
And speaking of contracts, mine is about to expire shortly. And by “shortly” I mean in two years. I’d like to renegotiate. I signed it under extreme duress, and at the time, I wasn’t aware of how much money other writers were making. Do you have any IDEA how much John Grisham is worth?! But, if you don’t want to pay me, at least trade me to someone who will. That’s the least you can do. And I suggest that you do it, because you don’t want to be around me when I’m not happy. Let’s just say that I lose my motivation.
In fact, now that I think about it, I feel some carpel tunnel coming on.