“Who says you can’t go home?”–Jon Bon Jovi
“You can’t go home again.”–Thomas Wolfe
The Rolen trade, while not yet official as far as I can tell, does seem like it’s going to happen. The guys over at VEB have broken it down statistically and financially and pronounced it, if not good, at least acceptable. Looking past the batting average and the past usage of performance-enhancing drugs, it’s possible that Glaus will be a good addition to the club. Hopefully, that will be the case. But I still hate the deal.
I hate the fact that it came to this. That LaRussa and Rolen had to butt heads so much that it made playing on artificial turf in a new league in a totally different country more acceptable than playing in a new ballpark in front of some great fans. There’s a failure here. Whether it’s Rolen’s for not being more accepting of Tony’s management style or of TLR not finding some way to make nice with his third baseman, I’m not sure. I will say again, though, that Rolen never complained to the press, never made it an issue. You can’t say the same about LaRussa.
I hate the fact that, with this trade, it’s possible that we’ve seen Scott Rolen’s last game in St. Louis, with no way for the fans to register their support and appreciation of him. At least when the other portion of the old MV3, Jim Edmonds, was traded, he went to San Diego, another NL team that you can mark on the calendar when they’ll be in Busch. Rolen goes to the AL East. The Cardinals don’t play them this year and possibly won’t during his tenue up there. It really seems that Rolen deserves better than this.
I hate that David Eckstein is short and scrappy. Without that angle, that feel-good story, it’s extremely possible that Scott Rolen wins the World Series MVP. Rolen led the team with a 1.213 OPS, over 300 points better than Eckstein. He had just as many hits (in fewer AB), a home run and three more bases than Eckstein, and while he did make an error, he turned two double plays (one more than the actual MVP). If Rolen wins that award, does it help ease some tensions between the two? Does that help fans to get behind him, giving management some impetus for letting TLR walk at the end of ’07? I don’t know. Probably not, but still, he deserved it.
I hate the fact that I had to tell my son, a three-year-old with little concept of players switching teams, that one of his favorites was no longer a Cardinal. He was a little sad to start with, then said, “I like the Cardinals and the Blue Jays.” He’ll probably handle the whole thing better than his father will.
Mostly, though, I hate the fact that it seems that Wolfe was right, you can’t go home again. It’s a situation that played itself out in Arkansas this year with the football coach, a native son that wore out his welcome and now is across the river in Mississippi. You want those stories to turn out to be happy endings, where the local boy finishes his career in the place he learned to love the game. You don’t want strife and angst to run him out of town to finish up in a strange uniform in a strange place. We all want home to be a place where we can go back. Sadly, it just doesn’t seem to work that way.