Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Rejoice, the knights of regressive thinking and self-appointed arbiters of virtue and integrity have shined their light on the South Side of Chicago. Bathe in its dry heat.
An anonymous Diamondbacks player–though the first comment here might be my favorite internet comment on the topic–took the time to air grievances about Adam Eaton, grievances severe enough to make trading Eaton away “addition by subtraction.”
Sniping about the character of now former DiamondBacks Justin Upton and Trevor Bauer began while they were still in the organization, so Arizona is getting better at waiting until they have traded their assets to rag on them, or they’re just running behind on their schedule season.
The grievances are also rather silly. It’s hard to imagine a sport more accommodating than baseball to a “selfish, me-me type of player” and complaints that Eaton’s “attitude had a tendency to wear on people” really boils the issue down to “I didn’t like him personally.”
That’s not so interesting on its own, but it’s funny that this embarrassing and needless whining is almost entirely compatible with the very character-driven awe the White Sox had about Eaton:
"“This is a dirt bag baseball player,” Hahn said. “This is a guy who has been described to me (by Kevin Towers) with words I can’t use. But looking to give us an edge that we were lacking a little bit in recent months. He’s a real nice kid for us.”"
The White Sox sought out a high-energy instigator to add spark–even if it’s annoying, pest-like spark–to their mausoleum of a clubhouse (while keeping the long-tenured mortician employed, but whatever). While this might be a necessary, Swisher-like presence for a team that’s trying to shake off the veteran lethargy of the last half-decade for a vigorous and youthful new identity, it’s pretty feasible that Eaton’s act–if it’s what it’s sold to be–can wear thin on an underachieving division also-ran. Especially when it’s coming from a scuffling, absentee rookie.
But since it’s coming from the Diamondbacks, there’s always the extra bit of preachy edge, where Eaton’s poor fit with Arizona (which really calls into question what their type actually is) is characterized wholly damning to his worth as a player, and agreeable personality is as valuable as skill and production. Being a White Sox fan requires some comfort with being the object of universal derision, and yet there’s still something remarkable about the dedication this Arizona organization has devoted itself to lecturing the rest of the league when its not valued nor valued..
They have become odd victims of results-oriented thinking. If they could escape their cycle of mediocrity, maybe their seemingly arbitrary displays of scorn would carry some weight. I mean, my word, Kirk Gibson was just manager of the year in 2011! But instead, they’re just a random baseball team that shouts more angrily than their others. And just like Kenny Williams’ perpetual smirk during the fog of 2009-12, the arrogance is so out of place that the choices are to wallow in confusion like Eaton:
"“I haven’t heard anything about any of it,” Eaton said. “I didn’t have any indication. I felt like I left on pretty good terms. I felt like I had a pretty good relationship with most of the guys and the PR department and a lot of the front office people. After the trade they called me and kind of wished me good luck.”"
Or just write these guys off as jerks.
Follow James Fegan on Twitter @JRFegan