Tuesday, May 19, 2015

                        IS IT JUST ME? (Probably)
                        Or are roster change deadlines too late in the season?

As I was watching the NBA playoffs I noticed Kendrick Perkins come into the game for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Doesn’t he play for the Thunder? He did up until February 24th, less than two months before the start of the playoffs. Perkins isn’t exactly a game changer, particularly these days, but still it just doesn’t set well with me when a player starts the season pledging his allegiance to a team, spends the majority of the season trying to get that team to a championship, then ends the season helping one of his former opponents fight for the same championship. Trades are usually out of the players’ hands, but still, this dude’s more Thunder than Cavalier, at least for this season.
Baseball is the worst offender. I’m not up to speed on the particulars when it comes to contracts and the true definition of “waivers”, but I do know that a playoff contending team can acquire a pretty decent player as late as August 31st, just barely over a month before the season ends. I remember a recent season the Dodgers acquired Jim Thome - one of the all-time great home run hitters - on August 31st to use in the playoffs as a pinch hitter, with no intention of re-signing him the next season. And everybody knew it. Thome apparently waived some kind of clause to let the deal go through because he wanted a chance to win a World Series. How does he figure that gives him the chance? The players that spent the whole season earning the right to be in the playoffs are the ones who can win the Series. Not some one month contributing “Johnny-come-lately”. In amateur world, when some dude like that shows up on the opposing team for the playoffs of the softball, flag football, bowling, or whatever league, we call him a “ringer”. I don’t see this as being much different, other than technically a “ringer” would be defined as unsanctioned. In the professional sports world, this kind of thing is encouraged and embraced by fans as part of the process in achieving success.
I just read an article in which the author was complaining that the NFL trade deadline is irrelevant because it occurs in the middle of the season and doesn’t allow playoff teams sufficient opportunity to upgrade or to replace injured starters. He even quoted one of the league’s coaches agreeing that a later deadline would be beneficial to the game.
I disagree. My position is that a team should enter the playoffs with a roster that was with them for the better part of the season. If injuries occur, adapt and adjust; they’re part of the game.

          So I ask you, is it just me or are roster change deadlines too late in the season?

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