Yesterday’s Major League Baseball trade deadline saw big names like Mark Teixeira and Eric Gagne change teams, but it was relatively uneventful. Especially in Toronto, where Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi stayed true to his word and stood pat.
Spirit of Jake Plummer sent a reporter to Tampa Bay aboard a cheap, stuffy bus to track down J.P. at the Jays/Rays tilt. Our reporter recorded the following interview from a luxury box.
SOJP: Howdy, Mr. Ricciardi.
RICCIARDI: Hello, kid. How are you?
SOJP: I’m good, sir. You enjoying the game?
RICCIARDI: Of course I’m enjoying the game. It’s a baseball game. It’s a baseball game in Tampa Bay, and people like baseball games in Tampa Bay. Tampa Bay is a nice city. It’s warm. If you study the temperature statistics year to year, it puts up good numbers – always around 80 degrees this time of year. So what are you complaining about? This is Tampa Bay and I’m fine with it.
SOJP: Uh…what? Ok. Anyway, I wanted to discuss the trade deadline with you. Several deals occurred yesterday, none of which involved you. Can you discuss why you chose to stand pat?
RICCIARDI: Are you kidding me? Is this why you came to Tampa? To hear a broken record? But OK kid, I can tell your whole outfit came from Value Village, so I’ll humour you.
RICCIARDI: So I stood pat. So I said I was going to stand pat and I stood pat. Let me ask you something. What’s our winning percentage?
SOJP: Well, I guess if we hang on to win this game, it’ll be .500, sir.
RICCIARDI: That’s right, son. .500. A .500 ball club. And what kind of win percentage do championship baseball clubs typically have?
SOJP: Well, I suppose around .600. Or at least well over .500.
RICCIARDI: Now you’re getting it, kid. Let me clarify my point for you: YOU CAN’T SPELL “WELL OVER .500” WITHOUT .500. And what are we?
RICCIARDI: Bingo. So we’re a championship team. Why would a championship team move its top talent?
SOJP: Well, not speaking for myself, Mr. Ricciardi…but some baseball experts, while they agree with you for the most part, are wondering why you didn’t move some of your lesser or older talents. Josh Towers will be a free agent this winter, and –
RICCIARDI: Let me tell you something about Josh Towers. His career ERA against the Detroit Tigers: 1.74. Johan Santana’s: 2.69.
SOJP: But Towers has faced the Tigers only three times and Santana has faced them 25 --
RICCIARDI: Next question. Wait, let me answer it for you. No, I didn’t want to move Frank Thomas. He’s old. What does old mean? Wise. What does wise mean? Good at baseball. Mark Teixeira? Come on. Some young first baseman with power from both sides of the plate? Does the Rogers Centre want some freak who bats both ways? It’s a family facility.
SOJP: Well…why don’t we move on to non-baseball questions, then?
SOJP: One of your clubhouse staffers was just charged with possession of child pornography, yet you kept him on your staff. Why haven’t you let him go?
RICCIARDI: Let me tell you something about Murray. Regardless of what he allegedly did, he brings results. Isn’t that what fans want? Average custodian uses two cans of Lysol and three bottles of Windex a week to clean a Major League Clubhouse. Guess what Murray uses?
SOJP: I…gosh. I, I don’t know Mr. Ricciardi.
RICCIARDI: One can of Lysol. That’s it. He even cleans the glass surfaces with it. Doesn’t even need the Windex! Do you realize what that does for team costs?
SOJP: Um, but what about the pornography, sir?
RICCIARDI: Let me tell you something about child pornography, OK? It involves C-H-I-L-D-R-E-N. You following me? It involves a love of children. Do you realize how much fun my kids have with Murray? Takes them to the park an average of four times a week. When he babysits them during the offseason, he buys them 1.4 candy apples a day on average. Pro-rated to a full year, that’s a whopping 511 candy apples. You simply cannot argue with that productivity.
SOJP: …right. Actually, now that we’re discussing your home life – some team officials have indicated that your home life has put a strain on your general manager duties this year. Your wife has publicly lamented your inability to throw out obsolete appliances.
RICCIARDI: Most people look at a 1987 Mac and say “It’s a 1987 Mac. What use could we have for it?” But to that I say, “Greg Myers. Greg Zaun.” Macs still have keyboards, don’t they? They can type. So they don’t have Internet. So they can’t hit lefties. But they have value as part of my team. And they can flat out get on base.
SOJP: …OK. You lost me. I think that’s all I need from you sir –
RICCIARDI: And my wife probably talked about the toaster. Says I mismanaged it. Says I overused it, right? Says I put too many pieces of toast in it? Well let me tell you something about that toaster. It lacks toughness. It had every opportunity to succeed and didn’t have the courage to toast bread through pain.
SOJP: I’m shutting the door now, so…bye.