Tanakaupdate 1/13

Chung Sung-Jun

A glance at the latest on the drama that is still waiting to unfold, and a brief request.

There are a lot of things that I know absolutely nothing about. But there are also a few things I feel comfortable discussing and by extension, claims I feel are safe to make. The first of these claims is that for the most part, we humans are meaning-seeking creatures. The second claim is that we are, for the most part, creatures of habit.

So when word breaks that Japan's top pitcher will be posting his services on the international market, we as meaning-seeking-habit-forming baseball fans do a couple of things: 1. Internally speculate on the likelihood of said player making his way onto our favorite baseball team, 2. Enact conversation and swim in the pool of research to determine the fit and likely destination of said player, 3. Make public predictions about the player, and finally, 4. Grow impatient as said player dangles his abilities like a carrot on a string until late in the process so as to ensure a more lucrative contract for himself, making us all grow weary and impatient in the process, resulting in something like this:

Yay! Product placement and branding! But yes, all pessimism aside, it sure would be nice to have any idea whatsoever on what is going to happen with Tanaka, and unfortunately, from the chatter between those in the know, it sounds like Tanaka might not have Seattle too high on his list:

And following this, it came to be somewhat mutually agreed upon that Tanaka hopes to end up in New York, Boston, or Los Angeles for his final destination. Of course, just to be fair, people are including the Angels and Mets in this but hahahaha the Mets.

So on one hand, go ahead and spend that money you were saving for a Tanaka jersey this weekend, because it sounds like it's not too likely he ends in in Northwest Green this summer. But on the other hand, rumors are crazy rumors and have a myriad of utilities. One, they are actual reports journalists uncovered through the looking glass. Two, they are controlled leaks, integral parts of a commercial project that seeks to hedge probability and profit that we so often confuse as random chance and best-of-luck optimism. This metaphor has been used to death, but it's true that nobody thought Cano was coming to Seattle, and that the reports connecting the two were part of a narrative that sounded like a one-sided courtship. So don't give up hope yet, because this process is far from over (that's January 24th at 5pm). We have a long way to go, and that Tanaka jersey just may be yours soon.

On the other hand, don't forget to try and not get caught up in the absurd rumorbating that follows situations like this. Money is the only thing we can know about this, and just like Howard Lincoln erupting at Jay Z, the latest Tanaka rumor is quite silly and actually, at least I think, kind of dangerous.

I'm not going to post the link, but the latest is that Tanaka might end up on the west coast because his wife "prefers" to live there, later clarifying that it was a "goal" and not some order from a nagging wife demanding all those obnoxious demands like they usually do. This isn't the first time this type of rumor has emerged in sports, and while sure, maybe she mentioned something about wanting to live closer to Japan or something, it sounds uncomfortably close to that kind of thinking that got Matt Garza and David Price in trouble on twitter last year.

So yes, we all want to find meaning, and want to read into the minutia between actual transactions and baseball news. But maybe guys (like myself) should stop doing that at the expense of personal lives and a discourse that only further denigrates a group of people that have trouble being thought of as equal in a culture that just looooooves objectification.

Instead, we should remember that rumors themselves, like baseball itself, aren't static and doctrine just because they were uttered by someone in the know. Churchill said no to Seattle, and even this wife rumor now says WEST COAST! Then after WEST COAST! it was that the Dodgers were probably out, so it will pretty soon be NEW YORK! And after that, if the Yankees don't want to spend the money it will be something else altogether.

Some teams have the money, and some don't, and he is going to end up on a team that has the money to pay him. That's the bottom line, and everything else is just chasing the wind.

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