Baseball’s popular wheeling and dealing “Hot Stove Season” is for some, the most anticipated time of the year. But not everyone.

Editor’s Note –

An earlier version of this commentary from our staff writer Joy Frank-Collins was published with sentiments that caused many of our fans to believe that PBD was equating MLB Free Agency/Trade Rules to slavery. This commentary was not intended to create controversy.

And while it was intended as one writer’s opinion about how Hot Stove is approached, the writer’s attempt to illustrate her feelings about the dehumanizing nature of Hot Stove season was seen broadly as a callous comparison to a horrible time in our nation’s past.

That, simply, was not the writer’s intent. Still, given the amount of  concern expressed by our readers over these misinterpretations, we have chosen to excise that portion of the article and re-work it to better reflect the author’s true intent.

Our goal at PBD has always been to report information, deep analysis and thoughtful opinion on the game of baseball. We will continue to do that going forward, using this situation as a guidepost.

We cannot thank you enough for taking the time to make your voices heard. If anyone would like to discuss this further, please do not hesitate to contact me directly at jason@piratesbreakdown.com.  

Thank you for your continued support and readership.

-Jason Rollison, Founder and Editor of Pirates Breakdown-

What I’m about to say is wildly unpopular. It may drive some people to question my devotion to baseball. Some people may wonder if it has to do with my Baseball IQ while others will likely blame my gender. That’s fine, I can take it. Okay are you ready?
I don’t like Hot Stove Season. I abhor it actually. If I sit and think about it long enough, it almost makes my skin crawl.

Let me put together a scenario better explaining my feelings.

There’s this hotel somewhere near Washington DC – or Nashville if you want to go back to 2015. In this hotel are the owners and operators of all of Major League Baseball’s 30 teams. Each team’s representatives are holed up in suites. Inside is a mess of room service carts, those industrial-sized coffee pots from hotel catering and more laptops and iPads and Apple-device chargers than one could imagine.

Men in various forms of corporate attire sit around, looking at their phones, talking into them, staring into laptops and shuffling through papers.

A name is thrown out.

Immediately the energy shifts and someone starts spouting off stats – ERA, arb years left, WAR last season, injuries, service time, age, eating habits, batting average, and on and on and on. Laptops click onto those secret sites teams have set up with film on all of their opponents and suddenly, the faces of the men are lit up by that white light researchers say disturbs your sleep patterns if you look at it for too long before going to bed. And they watch this person hit, field, pitch, catch, dance in the dugout, take a shower on the security cameras, whatever.

Then someone pipes up, “But what do we have to give up to get him?” Again, names come up and the process repeats itself.

 

No Real World Equivalent

Imagine you’re in your office one day (or lying under a car fixing the transmission or getting into your car after delivering your 36th pizza of the night) and your boss calls you into his office. “Hey, so, there’s this really great guy who we want in accounting (or who can do amazing things with brakes or who makes the best sauce) and in order to get him on our team – we’re gonna need to send you, and a couple of the interns to a competitor’s office (car shop or pizza restaurant).” That would suck. Especially knowing that you were only worth 1/3 of this other person in the eyes of your employer.

Now imagine entire cities speculating your worth – blowhard newspaper reporters writing scathing “Dump him, he’s worthless,” columns about you, while you know full-well two months ago they were calling you the best thing that’s ever happened to your company. Imagine entire websites devoted to covering your company publishing article upon article about who would be a better replacement for you in that office (under that car or delivering that pizza). It would certainly make me feel incredibly small and inconsequential. In fact, some days, it would likely make me want to wash my hands of the whole thing – regardless of the fame or fortune that job afforded me.

As a woman, I’ve witnessed the objectification of humans based on a variety of uncontrollable things on a near daily basis virtually all of my life. My mom freaking cried when she found out I was a girl. In fact, some people reading this right now are likely owing my position on the Hot Stove Season to the fact that I have breasts and a vagina. As ridiculous as that sounds at first, maybe there’s some truth to it. I mean, how many of those guys in the suites in the hotel in DC have ever been judged worthy of doing their job based on their age or weight or beauty? Have the fans salivating over the latest rumors about Andrew McCutchen ever been judged on the same merits by which they’re hypothetically buying, selling and trading players? Perhaps if they were it would feel a little different.

Baseball is a business. I know that. I say that all the time when I see people letting emotion cloud their rational thoughts. It all just feels too cruel.

So pontificate on, baseball fans. Speculate as you will and by all means, warm yourselves around that hot stove all winter long. I’ll see you in the spring – I’m gonna sit this one out.

 

Joy Frank-Collins

Joy Frank-Collins is a Communications professional who got her start writing as a journalist at a daily newspaper in southeastern Ohio. She was born in Reds country, but "found" baseball watching the 1986 Mets win the World Series. She lives in Marietta, Ohio, with her family, who all share her passion for Pirates baseball. She loves the suicide squeeze, a crisp 6-4-3 double play and catchers (especially Russell Martin). When not obsessing over baseball, Joy likes to work out, travel and drink wine. Check her out on Instagram @JoyFC