That’s a wrap

Was it a little like looking under the tree and finding a polka-dot tie for you, too? Was it like getting your first car and it’s an AMC Pacer with no radio? As Charlie Brown once said along the Halloween route as he looked into his goodie bag, "I got a rock."

This July 31 trade deadline just didn’t meet up with expectations, did it? We kept waiting for a big shoe to drop, and even though names like Manny Ramirez and Alfonso Soriano were all over the phone lines, Internet pixels and newsprint, nothing huge happened.

A little Matt Lawton here, a bit of Randy Winn there. No A.J. Burnett, no Jason Schmidt, no Billy Wagner. No Adam Dunn, no Lastings Milledge, no Hayden Penn. A lot more no than yes, that’s for sure.

So, was it really that boring or are we just expecting too much? You know, it’s probably a lot closer to the latter than the former. That’s the ultimate reality check.

Why? Glad you asked.

First of all, fans are into it more than ever and we’re certainly all over this Trade Deadline stuff here at MLB.com. You know our friends at ESPN do it up, as do all the other media outlets who cover baseball. Could be wrong, but there probably wasn’t a Trade Deadline Reality Check blog on the Internet, say, 20 years ago. (Well, Al Gore had one, but that’s another story.) Point is, there isn’t a rumor that doesn’t get out anymore, it seems. And some are even true. The deals couldn’t possibly match up with the rumors in quantity or quality.

Another thing: Sometimes, the market just is what it is — and it wasn’t much this year. When Padres GM Kevin Towers is throwing chances to David Ross and Miguel Olivo and taking on Chan Ho Park in order to move Phil Nevin, that tells you something. When GM Brian Cashman predicts the Yankees won’t be doing much and that actually comes true, that tells you something. This just wasn’t a primo market. The biggest names, it turned out, weren’t available, at least not available enough to move now.

Another aspect that’s been talked about a lot is the fact that too many teams still think they’re in the race, so there’s a shortage of sellers. Hey, if having 20-some teams in the hunt into August means a lighter July trade season, that’s fine. By all means, let’s enjoy pennant races thick with contenders over the intrigue of trades. We’ll get plenty of that on the Hot Stove.

Know what? Just because nothing of earth-shattering import took place, that didn’t take much away from the TD experience. It was still fun to hear the names bouncing around, and now we already have a few hot names to watch this winter — Ramirez, Soriano, Burnett and Dunn among them.

And, make no mistake, a big name will move this August in a waiver trade, and we just might hear of a contender blocking another by putting in a waiver claim, which is always good gamesmanship stuff.

The best part of this Trade Deadline from here, though, was getting the response from folks coming back the TDRC and posting their own ideas and rumors they’d picked up in their towns. That’s the most fun — hearing rumors and putting a take on them — and that’s what this here Reality Check thang is about.

Enjoy the stretch run.

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