Yesterday, a certain video about a certain Cuban outfielder was released and people went nuts. A guy few people knew existed on Sunday night was a baseball blogosphere and Twitterverse darling by early Monday morning. Over the next few hours, days, weeks, months, etc., there is going to be a lot of digital ink spilled about Yoenis Cespedes…and with good reason. He seems to be massively talented and will probably command a sizable contract. He’s the newest and shiniest thing in a time of new and shiny things.
Yu Darvish falls into this category as well, but again, it’s not undeserved. In fact, his praise is probably more deserved than Cespedes’s. A lot of us are enamored with him, and that includes myself. He’s something new and unknown, and that makes him exciting. Of course there is another layer to it; there is more depth. Darvish fits an immediate need and there is a strong argument to be made that he’s the best free agent fit for the Yankees. Like any free agent, our thoughts about him are driven by anticipation.
Our collective baseball attention span definitely drops during two times of the year when transactions dominate the headlines: the trade deadline and the Hot Stove season. We bounce from player to player, wondering how he’ll fit in. Sometimes, the desire lasts a day. Other times, we stay fixated on a player for weeks and keep dreaming on him until the next, newest best fit comes along. I’ve done this myself; in the past two weeks, I’ve written about at least half a dozen starting pitchers that would fit the Yankees in one way or another. This guy would fit great! No, this guy would be even better! Look, guys! I found another great fit! We “island hop” from free agent to free agent, from trade candidate to trade candidate.
There are times when it can get a bit tiring, but there are also times when I’m okay with it. At its best, this Shiny New Thing Syndrome assures us that we don’t marry ourselves to one player or one idea. It shows me that we can consider multiple options and multiple points of view. But at its worst, SNTS goes against everything we preach during the baseball season. We constantly say that the season is a marathon, not a sprint. Well, the same can be said for the Hot Stove season. When we’re overtaken by SNTS, we forget that and hop on every bandwagon that passes us by.
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