Tuesday, December 12th, 2017

The realities of being traded

July 23, 2012 by  
Filed under Misc

Over the past few years, there have been multiple changes in my teaching profession.  Being a public school teacher today is very different than it was when I started almost 20 years ago.  Curriculum changes, teaching methods, accountability measures, work load, special education, and many other things have radically changed the teaching profession.  That being said, I can absolutely guarantee that I will never be called into the principal’s office and told the following … “Bob, the district has made a change.  You have been traded to a high school in Wyoming.  Pack your bags.  You need to be in their classroom tomorrow morning. Best of luck.”

 Only in professional team sports does the concept of a “trade” come into play.  As of today, the MLB trading deadline is quickly approaching and numerous players are more than a little anxious about their future with their current teams.  As fans, we just watch the drama unfold and debate the merits of possible trades for various teams.  Of course, the media spends a lot of time on all of this as well.  However, one thing us fans rarely do is put ourselves in the shoes of players who are traded.  What’s it like?  Is it weird to put on a different uniform?  These questions and others like it hit the surface (and the trivial side) of what it’s like to be traded.

Below are some real-life questions that a player and his family have to answer:

  • What do I do with my house / apartment?  I obviously can’t sell it overnight.  If I rent, will the landlord allow me to break the lease and just go to another city?  
  • What do I do with the stuff in the house/apartment?  I have to play for the new team tomorrow.  I don’t have time to pack.  What do I do with my phone, cable, mail, and other services?  
  • What do I do with my car?  I’ve been traded to a team across the country.  I can’t drive there.  I need to be there tomorrow.  
  • What do my wife and kids do?  Do they come with me or stay here?  The kids like their school and have friends and activities.  Is it fair to just up and go and take them away from that?  
  • Where do I live in the new city?  My kids need a good neighborhood and school.  Obviously, I can’t search for that in an hour.

It is true that money can help solve some of these issues but certainly not all of them.  Even if the player is single, there are many details to figure out and deal with.  It is also true that teams help players with all these issues.  However, regardless of how organized the player is, being traded, in many ways, can be a real hassle.  As fans, we ignore this side of it because we have no perspective on what it’s like to be traded.  In our minds, the player plays for a team and gets paid very well.  He gets traded and now goes to another team to be paid well.  Pretty simple, right?  Not so much.

Critics will say “pay me that kind of money and I will gladly go through that!”  It’s a valid point but if you are the player being traded, you still have to go through all that hassle regardless of how wealthy you are.  So does your family if you have one.

Occasionally, a player will have a “no trade” clause in his contact and may even use it to refuse a trade.  Carlos Lee is the most recent example of this.  He refused to go to Los Angeles and later “agreed” to be traded to Miami.  Words like “selfish,” “spoiled,” and “pampered” usually are attached to players who exercise this power.  Although we may not agree with their decision, the issues mentioned above are the reasons many players seek a “no trade clause” in their contracts.  The longer you and your family live in a particular community, the harder it becomes to sever those roots.

Over the next few days, several big name players will probably be called into their managers’ office to be told of their involvement in a trade. Some will have seen it coming and will have started to plan ahead.  Many will not.  The players involved will keep putting on a uniform every day to do their jobs as professionals.  However, understand that this process of putting on a new uniform is much more complicated than most people realize.

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