I’m not doing a great job at it, but I’m trying to wean myself off of Twitter, at least not having it up all the time. (And speaking of Twitter, still need a lot more input on the Top Cards!) So I was off of it for a bit yesterday when the latest Cardinal social media storm kicked up.
Of course, the clarifying comment didn’t come until hours later, so many people immediately jumped to the conclusion that the Cardinals had told Wong that his option for 2021 wasn’t being picked up. As you might know, that’s been a bit of a topic on social media (and on podcasts, as I am guilty of as well). In a normal year, Wong’s option would be a no-brainer, an under-market cost for a Gold Glove second baseman. Of course, this year is anything but normal and if the Cardinals did lose out on over $250 million of revenue, they might not make the same decisions as they would have if the situation was more in line with the reality we know about. Tommy Edman can play second, leaving third to the already-under-contract Matt Carpenter. It’s not ideal, it’s not necessarily even a good idea, and there’s no indication that the Cardinals are going to do that, but that’s what people are kicking around.
So when you already have that in mind, a short post like this triggers the worst. However, there were a lot of reasons, even before Kolten clarified here, to think it wasn’t anything like that.
- The option doesn’t have to be exercised until after the World Series and it seems very unlikely the Cardinals would finalize that sort of decision this early. Some teams have been doing a little with their rosters–the Washington Nationals stand out as one I’ve seen waiving folks, etc.–but most teams aren’t going to do anything until after the Series, especially something as significant as this. If nothing else, you have to think John Mozeliak and company are taking a bit of a breather after the chaos that was this past season before diving into all the winter work.
- It’s rare when a player announces his leaving before the club does. Not that it doesn’t happen, but usually a “thanks for everything” comes after a report from a media source, at least, if not a press release from the club. Rarely does it come right out of the blue like this was.
- Also, player goodbyes are usually a little longer than two words and a hashtag! Especially when there’s nothing else out there. Honestly, it’d be a little sad if Wong’s tenure ended with just a “hey thanks”, wouldn’t it?
Media folks reached out to Kolten, who indicated it was in part in response to the recent birthday wishes from the fans. My good friend Tara Wellman also suggested it was about time for the Wongs to head back to Hawaii, which seems to be the case. All in all, it was a player being thankful for the fans and saw it blow it way out of proportion. I’m sure the contract situation is on his mind and perhaps one of the reasons he wanted to express his gratitude, but I think those that believe that there is more to it are reaching a bit.
But Kolten? Next time, maybe another phrase or two to be clear?