Free agency rendered much of that mute, except, apparently, unless you are a free agent manager like Joe Maddon. Then some form of double standard applies. If free agent pitchers Jon Lester and Max Scherzer sign with new teams, no one will be concerned that they will displace a pitcher who worked there last season.
I don't like Joe Maddon but I thought the brief outburst of outrage over his replacing the sitting manager of the Chicago Cubs was silly at best.
But what about handicapping that goes beyond free agents to players under contract? Professional speculators and fans now seem to feel free to disparage the players on a team and covet players on other teams. What the heck? How did that become acceptable?
At the risk of drifting into old fartism, when I was a kid:
- Mickey Mantle was a Yankee
- Willie Mays was a Giant
- Hank Aaron was a Brave.
Al Kaline, Roberto Clemente, Harmom Killebrew, Carl Yastrzemski, etc. ... played all or almost all of their careers with one team and I do not recall fans dreaming about acquiring stars of other teams. As mentioned at the top, it's probably a function of players now being allowed to become free agents and shop their talents. There was no real players union 50 years ago. That has infected our thinking and we now make little, if any, distinction between free agent players and those under contract.
Part of the ignoring of contractual obligation may come from players asking for and/or demanding that their contracts be re-negotiated. Still, it all seems unsportsmanlike. Almost sinful.