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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Why can’t they just stay in one place?

So I headed down to State Street Brats to grab a bite last Monday, which represented one of the most fun days in all of sports: Opening Day for Major League Baseball.

I sat down with my white brat and spicy fries, and began to enjoy watching about six different games at once (you gotta love Brats for that, no doubt about it).

But I quickly became a little confused at something. The Braves were playing the Dodgers, and I noticed that Rafael Furcal seemed to have wandered into the wrong clubhouse before the game.


Then the 270-pound dude with the mustard-stained Brewers shirt sitting nearby informed me that the budding star shortstop moved from the Atlanta to Los Angeles in the offseason.

Okay, that's fine. But I started to see more of the same as I turned my attention back to the games.

Mike Piazza plays for the San Diego Padres? Alfonso Soriano for the Washington Nationals? Bronson Arroyo, the Cincinnati Reds?

My god, since when is Frank Thomas anything but a member of the Chicago White Sox? He's an Oakland Athletic now.

I couldn't stop thinking about how different each team looked with the birth of this new season. This validates two drawbacks of America's pastime: baseball a.) is a team sport at heart but an individual sport in reality and b.) has no salary cap, so George Steinbrenner could purchase the WBC Champion Japanese national team if he really wanted to, along with the National League All-Star team.

That night, I conducted a little research. This matter was so pressing at the time that I was willing to give up watching the NCAA championship game. I hear I didn't miss much.

I looked at the past week's Opening Day rosters for all 30 MLB squads and counted up how many of the nine starters for NL teams and 10 starters for AL teams (including the designated hitter) were NOT on that same team's roster for last year's opener.

Needless to say, the results were pretty staggering. Forty-three players in the National League and 35 guys in the American League weren't on that team a year ago. That's 30 percent in the NL and 25 percent in the AL.

To me, those are incredible numbers. I'd be willing to bet that the same statistic stays under 10 percent on a yearly basis in the NFL.

Thirty percent in the National League! That means that baseball players had better take a good look around at their teammates on Opening Day because three of them will likely be gone in 365 days.

A large part of this is due to the greedy nature of pro-baseball players. They can easily find more money with other teams, and they don't hesitate to take the raise when it's offered.

This is also representative of the impatient personalities of MLB owners. They don't like how things are going, so they rebuild without considering the advantages of team chemistry.

I do, however, enjoy the fact that recent history has shown a restocked lineup doesn't always bring success. The Chicago White Sox won the 2005 World Series with team ball and without superstars; this year, the world champs brought back eight starters from last year's title team.

As a matter of fact, the eight playoff teams last year retained just under 80 percent of their rosters, and the Padres — who have five new faces this year — don't really count since they, well, they play in the NL West.

Of course, there are teams like the Florida Marlins, who kept only Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis in their Opening Day lineup from a year ago. But then again, they're the Marlins, who'd probably rather see Ryan Seacrest and the eight remaining American Idols in the lineup if it cost them less money.

The most entertaining part of figuring this stuff out was seeing the routes some players have taken. Kenny Rogers, a starting pitcher for the Detroit Tigers, has won 191 games in his career, an impressive total in this day and age.

But how has Rogers been treated for his troubles? After spending seven seasons with the Texas Rangers, he then played for the Yankees, Athletics and Mets over the next four years.

Here's where his story gets interesting. Rogers gets dealt by the Mets back to the Athletics and then returns to the Rangers for the start of 2000. But Rogers ends up on the Minnesota Twins in 2003 and comes back to Texas for a third time.

You'd think the Rangers would keep Rogers now, as he won 32 games in the last two years for them. Nope. As I mentioned before, he's now in Detroit.

But that's the nature of baseball, and I'm disappointed.

Finally, there's the unfortunate case of Reggie Sanders, a Kansas City Royal as this column went to print. You might, however, want to check where he is this morning.

Sanders has donned eight different uniforms for the last nine Opening Days. The NL champion St. Louis Cardinals were kind enough to retain him for a year in 2005 but promptly dealt him to the lowly Royals for this season.

Don't fret it too much, Reggie. You'll probably be somewhere else next year.

Aaron is a freshman who currently plays for The Badger Herald … nope, wait, he just got traded to The Daily Cardinal. Seriously, though, any comments about this story or Aaron's stunning good looks can be directed to [email protected].

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