Columnist Joe Strauss notes in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that right-hander Joe Kelly and slugger Allen Craig found out they were traded Thursday by means other than someone in the St. Louis Cardinals organization telling them. The team had been assembled at Petco Park in San Diego, concluding a road trip, when third parties ruined the day for Kelly, Craig and their comrades.
Kelly was cruising the Internet and saw a post on Twitter, and Craig heard a report on TV saying both were heading to the Boston Red Sox at the trade deadline.
Kind of cruel.
Couldn't the Cardinals have found someone, even Fredbird the mascot, to inform the guys if general manager John Mozeliak, manager Mike Matheny, or one of their respective lieutenants, were otherwise indisposed?
The Cardinals are fond of calling their clubhouse “family.” There’s much ado about ignoring outside “distractions” created by media, hangers-on, whatever.
Neither player even knew he was in play. Craig was so stunned he left the Petco Park clubhouse without comment. Family one day, disposable the next.
Strauss is right about being disposable. But informing the players ahead of time they're "in play" is tricky. What if the deal falls through?
"Yeah, Allen, we were going to trade you away, but the deal fell apart. Welcome back!"
And speaking of awkward:
Even the calendar knew before Craig.
Not being there to catch Kelly and Craig when they fell is regrettable for the Cards, but it's also a hazard in the modern world. All of these tweets and TV networks saturating the world with baseball coverage. The problem is, it's usually a real letdown to be traded. The lack of control over your own life, alone, is one of the reasons these guys make the money they do. But money doesn't always compensate for being moved against your will. Kelly teared up when talking to reporters about leaving. Craig declined comment with a soft "no" as he walked past reporters.
It's not like both won't get it together emotionally and play their best for the Red Sox. And it's not like the Cardinals won't get over not having them around. They're all professionals, or should be. But in the moment, it's hard.
Beat reporter Derrick Goold, also in the P-D, writes:
The players, coaches, and support staff were visibly shaken.
“It’s a tough morning for us, no question,” Matheny said. “We ask these guys from Day 1 to buy into the fact that we’re in this thing together and we’re going to be together more than we are with the majority of our families. To buy into the fact that we’re all here for each other. To buy into the culture and everything this organization stands for.
"To see a few guys who have bought into that packing their stuff up — yeah, there’s a business here, but we’re asking for more than just business.”
For many, it's also personal. Always.
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