Like most Tigers fans, I was excited when, early in the offseason, the news of the Prince Fielder for Ian Kinsler trade was announced. After the initial excitement Fielderâ€™s signing caused in 2012, his oft-perceived lackadaisical effort and poor postseason performance – not to mention the very real worry that he would continue to decline offensively, turning his contract into an enormous albatross for years to come – led many Detroit faithful to look for an out.
Then, along came the Rangers. Not only would the Tigers be able to get out form under most of the rest of Fielderâ€™s financial obligation, they would be getting a quality player who filled a hole (second base) in return. It appeared to be a panacea.
However, as the offseason progressed, several pundits began predicting a Prince resurgence in his new home, with 30-40 home runs, or more, seeming likely. And the scrutiny of Kinsler – his declining production, the rapid deterioration of several other once-elite second baggers, a none-too-cheap contract of his own – began to pile on.
Now we have an article in ESPN The Magazine, published by ESPN The Shitty Sports Network That Spends All of Its Time Airing Shows With People Yelling About The NFL and Lebron James, that paints Kinsler as a malcontent. In it, he calls Rangers GM Jon Daniels a â€śsleazeballâ€ť for insinuating himself with the teamâ€™s owners and forcing Nolan Ryan out of town, and expresses his wishes that his former team finish 0-162 in 2014.
At first blush, this article should serve to give Tigers fans even more pause in regard to their teamâ€™s biggest offseasonâ€™s acquisition. But when you step back, things arenâ€™t quite that simple.
First of all, Daniels likely did maneuver behind the scenes to oust Ryan. How else can you explain the Rangers marginalizing someone who has achieved legendary status in Texas, and who helped turn around a moribund franchise in his first several years in the front office there? In that context, itâ€™s easy to see why a Ryan loyalist, like Kinsler, would think of Daniels in those terms. As for the 0-162 comment, who cares? Donâ€™t players say stuff like that all the time?
I think the real issue here, and Kinsler seems to back this up by saying his comments were taken out of context, is the sensationalistic style of ESPN and most other media outlets in this country (and around the world for that matter). The real â€śissueâ€ť is that there is no issue. ESPN decided to make one up.
Could it have had something to do with the fact the article will be published in the magazineâ€™s â€śConspiracyâ€ť issue? (By the way, WTF is ESPN doing writing a conspiracy issue? Is it now, and I apologize for the dorky X-Files reference, The Lone Gunman? Did they finally unearth the secrets behind the JFK assassination, the faked moon landing, and the people who continue to employ Howie Mandel?)
In the end, the only lesson to be learned or information to be gleaned from this story is that ESPN has taken yet another step down the cultural sinkhole occupied by Fox News, MSNBC, and pretty much everything on the Internet. This site being excluded, of course.
The best thing to do with this article would be to put it where ESPN The Magazine usually belongs – in the trash can. Then forget about it completely. Assuming your TV doesn’t get stuck on ESPN one morning, where Steven A. Smith and Skip Bayless will surely fill five minutes of air time arguing pointlessly over whatever crap this article was supposed to roil up.