When news of Jared Allen's new deal with the Chicago Bears broke, the Twitter was awash with reaction from all sides. While most reaction from Bears fans welcomed the mulletted DE with open arms, the sentiment from Minnesota Vikings followers was, um, less than congratulatory.
The wake of the announcement gave rise to the trending of "#trader," as in "Allen is a trader for going to the Bears." And just in case you're not too familiar with Twitter, allow me to share a few examples with you:
SIGNING WITH THE BEARS? JARED ALLEN IS A TRADER!!!!
— j_cynic (@j_cynic) March 26, 2014
Jared Allen is a trader and has become one of my least favorite players in the league, hope you have the worst season of your career! — Tim Olejniczak (@TO23_Eagle1) March 26, 2014
This tweet also displays the oft-fouled your/you're swap, or trade, which, while an endangered species among the erudite, has found a safe haven in the Twitter aviary. And just in case Bears fans start feeling all high and mighty, realize that the fallout from Julius Peppers signing with the Green Bay Packers was at least as bad:
Julius Peppers you are a trader
— Jared (@Schlendoe) March 15, 2014
Julius peppers is a trader. How dare you go to the packers. They suuuuuckk
— Cantrell L. Marcu$ (@TheCantrellShow) March 15, 2014
Julius Peppers You Ain't A Trader, F The Bears Fans, Youll Fit in greenbay Too Bad For The Bears They lost One of Thiere Defencive Stars !
— 〽VPTony❗️ (@Noisy26) March 15, 2014
Okay, so that last little gem appears to be from a Packers fan. Still, it was just too great not to include; low-hanging fruit and all that. But perhaps we should cut all those folks some slack; maybe those Vikes fans were simply telling the world that Allen prefers the barter system to modern currency. It does seem to figure than an avid hunter would be possessed of myriad pelts that could be exchanged for goods and services. Or maybe they're saying that he deals in stocks and bonds.
As a self-proclaimed wordsmith (you know, someone who's real good at words), I am both intrigued and repulsed by the blatant misunderstanding of the English language evident in social media. I you'll indulge me on this tangential, yet still somewhat expository, detour, I'd like to share two such offenses.
More than once, I've read about someone lamenting their weight, claiming to be "obeast." Of course, that could very well be due to too much ice cream, which is an entirely other problem for the folks who "lack toast and tolerance." Thankfully, while I'm often a breadless bigot, I can at least consume dairy products.
But since we're on the topic of intolerance and traders, I want to take a look at some of my least-favorite expatriate Cubs. I didn't use any concrete baseball metrics here, unless there's a sabermetric value for douchebaggery (dbagWAR?).
Wow, talk about low-hanging fruit. I'm pretty sure MB is one of the least-liked characters in the history of sports. He threw slammed empty bottles at fans' feet, tore his ACL during a histrionic display following what he felt was a bad call, and was generally an a-hole. But he also put up a .999 OPS in 2008, which prompted Jim Hendry to look past the antics in offering Bradley a 3-year, $30 million contract.
In his lone season with the Cubs, Bradley played in only 124 games, hitting Gatorade coolers with more success than he did baseballs. If fact, he often seemed reluctant to swing at many good pitches, content to draw walks. Bradley had no such qualms with swinging at his wife though, as he was twice arrested on domestic violence charges.
It's funny to think that bringing Carlos Silva to town would be viewed as a great coup, but that's exactly how I, and I would guess nearly all Cubs fans, felt when the man who looked like Bartolo Colon's eating coach came to Chicago in the Bradley trade. So I guess he was more traded than trader, but you get the point.
It's getting harder to dislike Sosa these days, as he's become little more than a sad caricature of the man who once electrified the Wrigley faithful by sprinting out to his station in right. But he also quit on the team, the final straw in a career pocked with acts of suterfuge. The corked bat, the juiced muscles, the Radio Raheem ghetto blaster pumping out more salsa than Old El Paso and Pace combined.
Tom Loxas wrote a while back that a Sosa/Cubs reunion isn't likely in the near future, but I do believe it's inevitable. After all, he appears to be a vampire these days, so he's got plenty of time for fans and the organization to come around.
I was too young to pay attention to, or even understand, the rumors swirling around Palmeiro's departure from Chicago, but even had I never heard about them, he's given me reason enough to make this list. If there's one thing worse than a cheater, it's a liar, and this floater is both.
He threw teammates under the bus and testified under oath that he had "never used steroids, period." That emphatic finger-wagging was pretty convincing, but in the end, Palmeiro was disgraced.
What? How can you put The Riot on the list? He was so gritty and gutty and sneaky athletic and other euphemisms for white athletes. I loved him for all the same reasons other Cubs fans did; namely, he was the kind of guy who made you feel like you could have played the sport if only you'd have tried a little (or a lot) harder.
Theriot was traded to the LA Dodgers, along with Ted Lilly in July of 2010 and was traded from LA to the St. Louis Cardinals in November of that same year. Upon arriving in STL, Riot was quoted as saying: "Now I'm on the right side of the rivalry." Okay, admittedly, I don't really dislike Theriot. And from a competitive standpoint, his quote was pretty much dead on.
But I still had a little rabble, rabble moment because those words stung, man.
I have no qualms with Theodore Roosevelt Lilly III's performance or professionalism, either while on the North Side or elsewhere. However, he is a serial killer and that is something I cannot condone.
Ramon-spelled-backwards wasn't a trader so much as his groin was. As if understanding that his trade had brought about the first Red Sox World Series title in nearly 9 decades, Nomar's own body 86'ed his Cubs career. It's less Garciaparra himself I dislike and more the disappointment and frustration that accompanied his tenure in Chicago.
Zambrano had the potential to be great; he was the Cubs' Opening Day starter in 6 consecutive seasons (2005-10) and in 2008 he threw the first and only Cubs no-hitter since Milt Pappas tossed one in 1972. But the same drive that made him great also led to his downfall. I used to think Zambrano, whose rumored trade to Miami is what prompted me to join Twitter in the first place, was fiery and competitive, his antics a harmless expression of his exuberance.
For instance, on July 19th, 2004, the Cubs faced the Cardinals and Big Z was the center of attention. He hit Jim Edmonds with a pitch in the first inning, loading the bases. When Edmonds came up in the 4th, he smashed a home run and spent a while admiring his work. Z was clearly heated, yelling at Edmonds as he rounded the bases. When they faced off in the 6th, Carlos blew his opponent away on 3 straight pitches and then wagged his finger at Edmonds, Dikembe Mutombo-style.
In the 8th, Scott Rolen broke a 3-3 tie with a 2-out, 2-run homer. Who was up next? Edmonds, of course. Knowing he was not long for the game anyway, Z plunked the batter and immediately walked off the field without even waiting to be tossed. At the time, it was some of the most aggressively entertaining baseball I had ever seen, as if Vince McMahon had scripted it.
But then Zambrano's rants became more caustic, his actions costly. He went from merely explosive to destructive, an aggressively-growing cancer that had to be excised at great financial cost to the team.
Matt Garza (who signed in Milwaukee, near his fellow trader, Peppers), Brant Brown (though I feel sorry for him more than dislike him), Carlos Marmol.
Wow, the response to this list has been pretty great today. I think it'd be irresponsible to call it overwhelming, but I feel very comfortable calling it whelming. Yes, my Twitter notifications and the comment section have been whelmed with thoughts and names. With that in mind, I had to jump back on here to update, since I know many people might not ever get to the comments and I think it's important to give the readers their just due.
Most Disliked: Todd Hundley (I'm hoping that his inclusion, while it came after the initial publishing and at the behest of those other than myself, has now validated it in the myopic eyes of my colleague, Gunther Dabynsky), Mel Rojas, LaTroy Hawkins, and Ian Stewart. These guys were mentioned often enough that I felt they required a little more recognition; my reasons for excluding them can be found in the comments below.
Well, except Stewart; he stole a bunch of the Cubs' money, played like hot garbage (when he wasn't nursing a perpetual injury), and then had the right to complain about it. His dbagWAR was very high.
Honorable Mention: Dave Kingman, Dave Martinez, Juan Pierre, Jacque Jones, Goose Gossage, Fred McGriff, Brian McRae, Mark Grace, Moises Alou, Jerry Hairston Jr, Jeromy Burnitz, Todd Walker, Jim Edmonds. There were more names thrown out there, but many of these either appeared multiple times or were kind of surprising (Grace).
In fairness, most of these former Cubs don't necessarily fit the Twitter-misnomer definition of trader. But whatever, I do what I want! Seriously though, Bradley sets the bar of dislike so high that most other guys can walk right under. It's like the old joke: two guys walk into a bar; the third guy ducks.
Follow me on Twitter: @DEvanAltman
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