The Frazier trade is what's wrong with baseball

Posted at 3:23 PM, Dec 16, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-16 15:23:16-05

At least we had the Home Run Derby.

What a perfect, amazing July night that was.

I wrote the next day:

Last night was a night this entire city will remember for a generation.

My son and I sat together in our living room, watching Frazier battle his way to the Derby championship. In a season of letdowns, it was the moment of glory. 

And Frazier was the man who delivered.

His fiery, competitive play has endeared him to fans in Cincinnati — and really across the country since his Little League World Series days.

Now, he's gone. Traded away for three prospects.

I posted on social media this morning as rumors about the Reds trading Brandon Phillips circled that I understand the need to trade Frazier, Phillips and especially Aroldis Chapman.

I agree with it. It's what this team needs to do to win, as backward as that sounds.

But as a fan, it hurts.

It hurts to watch players my boys have grown up rooting for, gotten autographs of and watched in awe shipped off. 

But that's the way the game is today.

There aren't any more Barry Larkins, who spend their whole careers with one team. Maybe Joey Votto — with that mammoth contract that makes him near untradable and his no-trade clause — will be a rare exception.

But in general, it doesn't work that way anymore.

And that's sad.

I still love baseball. It's still the greatest game. But baseball, like anything else that we connect with, isn't just about statistics or winning or losing. It's about stories. It's about people. It's about having a favorite player for no other reason than you like something you can't quite put your finger on about one particular player.

Or maybe you can. My oldest son has loved Brandon Phillips since he was 2 and watched him run over Washington Nationals' catcher Wil Nieves on a replay.

But my point is: Yes, we root for teams. I would love to see the Reds win a World Series. But a huge part of why we connect with baseball is that we connect with players.

And a transient population of mercenaries that you can only love until they get too expensive isn't what we connect with.

Baseball officials spend all of this time wondering why the sport doesn't hold the public consciousness they way it used to. Yes, it's a long season. The pace of the game is slow in a fast-paced world. 

But maybe, just maybe baseball loses a little magic every time a dad has to explain to a heartbroken 7-year-old that for the upteenth time one of his favorite players has been traded.

And in this day and age that happens far too often.