And it has all grown so complicated, so distant, so jittery. Most executives seem afraid to make a bad trade, afraid to face the instant wrath of the newspapers and talk-radio hosts and bloggers. There are no pigeons left in baseball. It's safer to stay indoors.
"You know what Pat Gillick told me?" said Allard Baird, the onetime Royals G.M. and now an assistant to Theo Epstein in Boston. "I asked him why he got out [in November], after he won the championship in Philadelphia. He said, 'Allard, nobody trades anymore. And that was the whole fun of it.'"
SI hardly runs these sort of features anymore -- old-fashioned first-person literary journalism -- so it's a breath of fresh air to read something like this. From a Kansas City guy, too.
Dayton Moore makes an appearance in the story:
What's amazing about Art is how excited he is, even late at night, even after all these years. He pulls out his legal pad and scribbles names and numbers and gossip and lies. He talks the way baseball people talked in the old days; there's urgency in his voice. For everyone else, every sentence is conditional, every offer a trial balloon, every overture merely a conversation starter. Just as Veeck and Thrift were, Art Stewart is a man of action.
"Hello, Dayton," Indians G.M. Mark Shapiro says the next morning when he phones his Royals counterpart, Dayton Moore. "I hear you need to talk to me."
"Well, I'm always happy to talk to you, Mark," says Moore, who wasn't expecting the call.
"No, I thought it was urgent," Shapiro says. "I was told you needed to talk with me immediately."
Moore smiles and shakes his head. "Let me guess," he says. "You were talking to Art."
Be sure to read till the end.