Bernstein: This Transaction Craziness Is Awesome

By Dan Bernstein- Senior Columnist

(CBS) I take my eyes off my screen for two minutes, and already I’m behind what’s going on as the MLB trade deadline approaches, while the NFL is in the middle of its wacky, post-lockout farmers market.

As far as I can tell right now, the Bears are adding 26 undrafted college free agents, and a lefty one-out specialist from the Braves, pending a physical by team doctors (one of whom was sent to a hospital in Tampa in exchange for two MRI machines and noted gastroenterologist Dr. Irving Hershberg). Edwin Jackson’s deal to Toronto goes through only when the Titans’ agreement with Matt Hasselbeck is finalized, which will allow the White Sox to promote roots-rock legend Alejandro Escovedo from AAA – if, of course, the amount of cost savings is verified by the Congressional Budget Office.

Man, this is fun.

It’s hard to believe how quickly our feelings have changed about these things. I’m old enough to remember when most sports fans resented the very idea of player-movement, grumbling about loyalty and the need to familiarize themselves with new faces every year, like it was some kind of chore that disrupted their lives as fans.

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Jerry Seinfeld summed up the mentality of the time when he quipped that the shuffling of players from team to team meant that fans were, in essence, just “rooting for laundry.”

But that was seventeen years ago.

Now, we can’t get enough of the chaos. This recent flurry of trades, waivers and signings is blowing up social media sites, burning through the internet, and dominating conversation on the air and in office hallways and break rooms.

When we examine the reasons for this significant shift in our thinking, they become clear: we’re more demanding, impatient, informed, and involved than ever, and we’re more likely to think like players.

It’s the “action” part of the word “transaction” that matters. We are in constant clamor that our team DO SOMETHING, whether in the cellar or contending, in the middle of the season or with games months away. Our endless quest for gratification is temporarily satisfied by whatever move, even if minor. All of the time spent yelling “Send him down! Call him up! Stash him overseas! Build a statue of him! Feed his fingertips to wolverines!” gets fleeting validation when something, indeed, actually occurs.

Fantasy sports – love ‘em or hate ‘em – have changed the conversation, too. We have abstracted professional athletes into our own commodities, turning flesh-and-blood into mere gambling fodder. We have inured ourselves to player-movement because we, ourselves, are conditioned to making the moves that simulate those in real life. The drafting, wheeling and dealing is where the fun is for inveterate fantasy players, surpassing even the games themselves.

Even those of us who don’t participate have benefitted from fantasy popularity, since it has been a driver of the information technology that has allowed us to geek out to our hearts’ content on statistics, news and rumors. The instant ability to connect everywhere has demystified the phenomenon of players coming and going from our teams – we now know when it’s likely a guy might depart, since we know the full details of the contract, every tick of the arbitration clock, how he changes salary-cap decisions, when his poison-pill roster bonus kicks in, and who’s on the rise in the organization at his position.

Finally, and most importantly, we’re all free agents. Our fathers may have slapped the sports page on the kitchen table, muttering about commitment, but that’s because they worked for the same company for 40 years, built up stock or a real pension, and retired to Florida. It was jarring for them to see Reggie Jackson or Andy Messersmith cashing in, because they couldn’t relate.

We, however, walk across the street for a better opportunity, conditioned by distrust in an era marked by outsourcing and downsizing. We understand powerfully the right to improve one’s professional standing, be we in sales, media, education, law or any other line of work. Our rapidly-evolving world economy has ended the stigma of the job-hopping opportunist because so many are doing it out of real need. We’ll grab the better insurance plan, vacation package or management-training track when we can find it — it may not be about millions of dollars, but it still allows for greater empathy.

Truly, Seinfeld was right. When it comes to our professional sports teams, we are rooting for clothing.

But what he didn’t account for in 1994 was how much we would start to appreciate and enjoy the process of it all. We not only care about the laundry, we are texting each other about the choice of detergent, slamming message-boards with virulent debate over the water temperature during the rinse cycle, and creating a Facebook fanpage for the lint trap.

I’d write more, but there are now already 1,567 unread tweets in my timeline and I want to read them all, immediately.

bernstein 90x130 Bernstein: This Transaction Craziness Is Awesome
Dan Bernstein has been the co-host of “Boers and Bernstein” since 1999. He joined the station as a reporter/anchor in 1995. The Boers and Bernstein Show airs every weekday from 1PM to 6PM on The Score, 670AM. Read more of Bernstein’s blogs here. Follow him on Twitter @dan_bernstein.
Listen to The Boers and Bernstein Show podcasts >>

More from Dan Bernstein
  • Larry Horse's Arse

    Twitter certainly is the way to go………I had read Ken Rosenthal’s tweet about EJax/Teahen hours before it was posted on the Score website.

    • Denver Deadite

      Much like Bernstein, I didn’t think much of Twitter… until I started using it.

      If you want to be up to date on news – not just sports, but the world in general – you MUST be on Twitter. Otherwise, you’re going to be hours behind everybody else.

      The news yesterday that US men’s soccer coach Bob Bradley was fired? Announced by US Soccer on Twitter, along with an article on their website. It was more than an hour before anybody else, such as the Booyahs, were able to get their own articles up about it (of course, it didn’t hurt that the firing was entirely out of left field).

      • Denver Deadite

        Also note that I completely forgot to check the website yesterday for a new article. Go me!

  • AT3374

    Great points as always Bernsie . Nice to read that you have given fantasy sports some legitimacy in your blog since it has helped many to become more connected to other sports . I did not have much interest in baseball , hockey or golf but playing a fantasy version of these sports has helped me get more into them than I would if I was just flipping channels and watched for a minute or two .

    Here’s hoping that he bears will make some moves also in the next few days to cement themselves as the number two team in the division cause that Detroit def is getting meaner looking . Hopefully they don’t find a decent corner or safety help .

  • Larry Horse's Arse

    Indiana looking at Fukodome

    • AT3374

      The Pacers ? Wow they are REALLY desparate LHA :)

  • Larry Horse's Arse

    I meant “Indians”


      That’d be fine with me. Fukudome’s stoic backwards Ks are getting annoying.
      Sure, he can field, but he doesn’t look right in the batter’s box (maybe, because he’s a lefty–rimshot!)

    • the hole in Adolfo Soriano's gold glove

      I think he’d be a better fit with the pacemakers. Let the Tyler Colvin era begin. Or is that the tyler colvin error?

  • Larry

    As much fun as all the action is, I think you can make a fair case that Mark Buehrle and Paul Konerko are fan favorites because, in addition to being very good, they have been with the White Sox for, essentially, their entire major league careers. Sox fans have been able to watch those guys for the last decade. (Being among the last links to 2005 helps too). If/when they move to another team, it would be a little tougher than most other guys.

  • Lil' Bycracke

    Bernsie, I have to ask this. What is it with people of Jewish heritage always referencing Seinfeld? Many of my friends and distant relatives also of Jewish decent pop a Jerry Seinfeld bit out there, and I never understand the joke and the context.

    But in all seriousness, the show has been over with for years.

    Chet, feel free to comment.

    • Lil' Bycracke

      Oh yeah, and to meatball it up a little,

      Stop talking Seinfeld, talk more hockey!

  • dfsdfsf

    I am also addicted to twitter. I hate when I miss something being tweeted.

    • Beverly Brewmaster

      If you haven’t seen it yet, regular B&B contributor Schmutzie has a nice list of Scoreheads (including several WYC regulars) on twitter:!/Schmutzie_/scoreheads/members

      • Denver Deadite

        It’s tempting to get in more on the Score-related conversations on Twitter, but since I don’t use the same handle, and I don’t want to start another Twitter account, I’ve stayed away from it all.

        That, and I don’t need a bunch of stuff on the teams I don’t care about. :)

  • Chet's M-O-N-E-Y

    The “rooting for laundry” bit was from Seinfeld’s standup routine. And, it has become such a ubiquitous phrase (I even heard an E$%N hack use it recently) that many people do not even properly attribute it to Seinfeld.

    Also, no one references Seinfeld more than Florio at PFT….he’s much more goy than “oy.”

    Great cultural insight, though…


    Pena and Marmol sayonara.
    Byrd? Probably.
    Do NOT sign Prince Fielder (not in a hundred years). Wrigely Field just isn’t the place for high-priced free agents.

    • AT3374

      Agree on Pena , but for some reason the Cubs believe they will be contenders next year so keeping Marmol is tops in their books . Not sure what DIRECTION this organization is going , but Hendry and Crane need to go like yesterday

      • the hole in Adolfo Soriano's gold glove

        According to my compass, with hendry at the wheel, I believe they are headed due south.

  • Beverly Brewmaster

    I love anything that will make my team win. Studies have shown that people over-value things already in their possession, so I think the initial disdain for player transactions stemmed from the fear that you’d lose your star player (hello, Greg Maddux!). Nowadays, with most Chicago teams sucking eggs, the fear of losing good players is outweighed by the possibility that we might get somebody good (or, at the very least, get rid of some of the overpaid junk), and I suspect that adds to the excitement factor. But I can definitely tell you that, as a Blackhawks fan, I wasn’t a big fan of player transactions during the summer of 2010!


    You would think that Alejandro De Aza starting in center field yesterday and hitting a 2-run homer in yesterday’s 2-1 White Sox winner over the Tigers means he’ll get the bulk of playing time there the rest of the way. You would also think that Brent Morel would now get the majority of playing time at third base now that Mark Teahen is Toronto-bound stemming from yesterday’s 3-way trade that also sent Edwin Jackson to St. Louis and pitchers Jason Frasor and Zach Stewart to the Southside. As much as I would like to believe General Manager Ken Williams’ “money is no object” stand before yesterday’s game, I’m not so sure Ozzie really agrees. I have a gut feeling that we haven’t seen the last of Alex Rios, despite a subpar season at both the plate and defensively in center field. I also have a feeling that third base will continue to be a platoon.

    Unless he’s also dealt before the MLB Trade Deadline Sunday, Omar Vizquel’s going to get the bulk of playing time over Morel. I won’t be shocked if Vizquel and De Aza are both in the lineup vs. knuckleballer Tim Wakefield tomorrow, with Morel & Rios back in there with lefties Jon Lester & Andrew Miller slated to start for the Red Sox this weekend at U.S. Cellular Field. In short, I took what Williams said with a grain of salt. I also think these White Sox will be “ALL OUT” if Carlos Quentin, Gavin Floyd & John Danks are sent packing in rumored trades before Sunday’s deadline. Money still talks…

  • Mr. Pouty Pants

    I prefer that my team build sculptures of their heroes.

  • Chris in Scottsdale

    Listened to Pappy on podcast… had a segment about his baseball “all-grinder team”… Talked about mediocre high-effort, unsung filler guys like Theriot, Jamey Carroll, etc… and then gives the audience his team… and proceeds to name Ryan Zimmerman, Andrew McCutcheon, and Hunter Pence. Uh… yeah.

    If I thought they’d take a Pappy submission for WYC, I’d have done it.

  • Puddin Head

    adam dung still is


    Mike Martz reminds me of Frank Drebbin. The scene in the Naked Gun where he’s ruined Vincent Ludwigs office during an unauthorized search
    His intentions were genuine, but his execution was disasterous.
    When he’s called the carpet he’s asked “Well, where is this evidence?”
    “Well, it, uh, burnt up in the fire.”

    Todd Collins. What was that?

    • AT3374


  • gumballhead

    really!?!?!?! Danny Mac????? I’m done for the day, wish Da Ma Na did get electricuted in Plattvile.

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