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The good kind of sports journalism rumors

Cliff Lee

Source: artolog's Flickr page

I and every other Mariners fan had a huge day Monday; we apparently traded for Philadelphia Phillies ace Cliff Lee. I don’t have time to count how many of my Monday afternoon Tweets were Cliff Lee-related, but it’s way more than I usually give to a non-journalism topic.

Besides being a “this doesn’t happen here” kind of thing for Seattle and a “this is why baseball is exciting all year” thing for Major League Baseball, this out-of-nowhere blockbuster trade was a breath of fresh air for the sports media mill.

The evolution of the Mariners/Blue Jays/Phillies deal was rampant sports rumor at its absolute best. Half the reason we watch sports in the first place is to wonder: What would happen if…? We buy video games and construct fake trades; we assemble fantasy teams to play fake GM against our friends—it’s competitive, good-natured and fun.

The trade going through will mean any or all of the following:

  • The entire AL West power structure is in question;
  • Both Los Angeles teams (Angels and Dodgers) are on the defensive, after years of relative comfort and dominance;
  • There’s a third elite team in Major League Baseball (Boston, the Yankees and Philly);
  • Everything will likely be thrown into flux again in seven months when the M’s try and deal Lee at the trade deadline (likely, since Lee’s contract is up at the end of 2010, he wants a ton of money and we probably won’t be able to meet his demands).

I could easily produce another 20 bullet points, but I’ll spare you.

Sports are supposed to take our minds off all the dumb, depressing and hopeless headlines that sometimes seem to dominate the news cycle. This sports news will probably be enough to last us Seattleites for at least the next few months until the regular season starts (during which, we’ll let the speculation continue).

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