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1) using profanity or any euphemisms for profanity
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Cold Water on the Hot Stove
2004-11-12 10:34
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

Extra! Here's a story about something that isn't going to happen.

Extra! Here's a story that tells us people talked about something.

Extra! Here's a story about the story that told us people talked about something that isn't going to happen. We have no new information to add to the previous non-information - read all about it!

Welcome to the Hot Stove League, every baseball fan's second-favorite time of year. What's the purpose of these Hot Stove stories? They get us talking. They let us play Assistant General Manager.

What's the harm? None, right? Except we're talking about nonsense.

Everybody loves the Hot Stove League. Everyone is looking for the latest rumor. Think about it. The latest rumor. It doesn't have to be real news. It can be the most hypothetical or fantastical discussion involving any general managers. It can be reported by journalists from every walk of credibility.

That doesn't stop people from denigrating the legitimacy of the rumor. But that seems to be part of the fun.

So what's happened to this baseball fan for the past 30 years? Why am I no longer having fun? Why, when I see a Shawn Green for Sammy Sosa or Mike Piazza trade rumor, or for that matter, Eric Gagne for Mark Prior (sheesh), why can't I engage in the fun of rating the pros and cons? Why, when I conclude that rumor won't come true, can't come true, does the rumor SO ANNOY me?

How come I just want someone to wake me when the actual event occurs?

It's not as if I'm against discussing whether a player would be a good acquisition for the Dodgers. I've been doing it plenty. But I think I have a problem with my perception that the flimsiest rumors can be taken so seriously.

We all know that a conversation between two general managers, or a general manager and an agent, is just a conversation about nothing 99 times out of 100. It's just part of the process. It's the lather before you rinse and repeat. In fact, this qualifier usually comes on the second or third day - the traditional rumor-debunking follow-up story. "They were just talks - nothing more."

Yet in the meantime, every little conversation that gets reported is analyzed coast-to-coast, fan-to-fan.

If there were a collective acknowledgement that hey, everyone's really just shooting the breeze, from the media and its audiences, than I might relax. But the heatedness with which everyone seeks to sell and buy these snake-oil stories turns me into a curmudgeon faster than the guy in the lane next to mine causing an earthquake with his car stereo.

I don't want to be an old fogey. I don't mean to ruin everyone's fun. I wish I were sharing in it. But I'm not.

Maybe, somehow, this will turn out to be cathartic. For now, it's time for my nap. Wake me when there's a real deal to discuss.

Update: Actually, I do feel more relaxed having gotten that out of my system, as crochety as it sounded. Just to show I'm not such a bad guy, I'll completely invent, make up, fabricate a rumor for you all to discuss: Greg Miller for Barry Bonds.

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