Dr. Gloom returns

Tuesday, December 17 2002 @ 09:20 AM EST

Contributed by: Jordan

Count on professional crank Richard Griffin to make the worst of the Blue Jays' weekend in Tennessee. After yet another tiresome diatribe about how the "young guys" (read: inexperienced computer geeks) are taking over the game, and after interviewing one of his aging wannabe-GM cronies from the Expos' front office, Griff ends with this snarly collection of thoughts:

As for the Jays, from the time Ricciardi checked in through last night, here is a listing of their less-than-impressive player transactions: Added to the 40-man roster were two Rule 5 right-handers, Aquilino Lopez and Gary Majewski, and outfielder Jason Dubois. Traded to the Reds was shortstop Lopez, bringing back the 23-year-old Arnold from Oakland. Signed to a two-year deal was arbitration-eligible infielder Dave Berg.

Certainly no stamp of genius on Ricciardi this week. Even though, since opening day of '02, the former A's assistant has pared $25 million (U.S.) from the payroll, which makes Rogers ownership happy, the only significant player addition has been starter Cory Lidle, whose eight wins from last season must replace 23 victories from others who have disappeared.

Ricciardi spent his final night in Nashville at the Titans' NFL game.

Sigh. Where to begin? Griffin shows no interest in the Rule 5 acquisitions beyond their names and ages -- if the Jays had lost a AAA farmhand with Lopez's numbers, Griffin would've been all over Ricciardi, yet he offers no praise for acquiring same -- and spends no time considering the role they might play in this year's or future years' version of the team. Who was he expecting to find on Rule 5 Day, Barry Bonds?

And upon which GM, pray tell, should the "stamp of genius" be applied this week? Brian Cashman didn't get much accomplished beyond playing footsie with Todd Zeile. Billy Beane came back with Erubiel Durazo, a fine catch but not exactly a stunning acquisition. Brian Sabean made waves, but he did so with Peter Magowan's chequebook, and a lot of guys can look smart waving around fat wallets. It was a slow Winter Meetings all around, and JP at least came back with the pitching prospect he wanted. Moreover, I'm confident he laid the groundwork for future deals: the John-Ford Griffin thing with Oakland has yet to be resolved, and I still think he's hunting for an Ortiz or a Vazquez to insert into the rotation.

And you have to love that parting shot. Where should Ricciardi have been last night, after the deals were all done and the other teams had packed up and gone home? Sitting in his hotel room feeling bad about Chris Carpenter? No, more likely he should've been in the hotel bar with the "real men" like Griffin and his increasingly irrelevant ilk, throwing back the bourbon and trading war stories.

It's fair to say that none of us here at Batter's Box care much for Richard Griffin. We all have our reasons, but mine are largely professional. He's possibly the most widely read baseball columnist in the entire country, but he abuses that position, discarding intelligent journalism and even-handed critical analysis in favour of lazy, mean-spirited, animus-driven attacks on a game he neither likes nor understands anymore and the people who are shaping it. If he had any professional integrity, he'd resign the beat to someone like Geoff Baker and go write his memoirs. Instead, he poisons millions of readers every column. He ought to be embarrassed.