Trading Places. A true American classic that breaks down society in a binary, Darwinian-esque way: win vs. lose, buy vs. sell, nature vs. nurture, white vs. black, rich vs. poor, and mustache vs. clean shaven. The genius of the movie is that all of it is masked via comedy. Kind of what we do here at Razzball. Holla!!!
In Grey’s Shortstops to Target piece, he went on a tangent over how certain “clowns” had Dansby Swanson ranked. Then THE Razzball Son signal went up and my brain immediately thought of Trading Places.
Before I explain why, let me ask you guys a very important question. For THE Razzball Son signal, do you prefer the Octonaughts siren (#DadLife), KRS-One, or Lion King? I need something because there’s obviously no big symbol shining in the sky. I’m open to any other recommendations as well.
Okay, back to the matter at hand. After THE Razzball Son signal went up and my brain thought of Trading Places, I pictured Klara Bell as Louis Winthorpe III and Grey as Billy Ray Valentine. Hey, Billy GREY Valentine!!! The Universe is a beautiful thing. AND they both have mustaches!!! I love you, Universe.
Klara Bell is the hot-shot at the prestigious ESPN, while Billy Grey hustles the streets. He be “keeping it real,” as the kids like to say. Now, I’m not going to harp too much on the actually trading of places in the movie because, let’s be real, both KB and BG are sharp fantasy baseball minds and they both disseminate useful advice. The part I want to focus on is the “establishment.”
The one huge advantage that Billy Grey has is autonomy. Razzball is his baby and if he DGAF, he don’t gotta. KB, on the other hand, works for THE MAN/ESPN, an entity that compensates him very well and can reach that nomad traversing the Sahara desert with his Nokia phone. Due to that relationship, certain policies and protocols must be adhered to because there are so many interests that must be placated. In essence, it is a politician.
So what does this have to do with Dansby Swanson?
Swanson is the All-American, College World Series Most Outstanding Player, Golden Spikes Award finalist, and number one overall selection in the 2015 MLB Draft. Basically, everyone is familiar with him. As a result, the perception of Swanson is elevated to a more positive light. Consciously or unconciously, we all have certain biases toward players. It’s only natural because it gives our brains a shortcut to analyze the hundreds of players in the pool.
Ever seen those blind player comparisons where the stats of two players are placed right next to each other? And you have to guess which stats belong to a particular player? So annoying, yet beautiful because they filter all the noise and get to the crux of a player, which is his production or projected production. But, as we all know, ESPN is all about the bottom line and the best way to increase that number is to limit risk. How does one limit risk? By being a bastion to the greatest number of people as possible and having a crutch.
Most people “expect” Swanson to be great because they’ve seen or heard his name. So, if you rank him where people think he should be ranked, then even if he fails, there’s no harm done because everyone was thinking the same thing. Hence, the crutch. It’s kind of crazy how illogical people can be when in a group. One for all, all for one? Sink in the ship as a group? I don’t know man. That shit always tripped me out. Now, if you were to rank him where the stats project, do you know how many people would throw a hissy fit? If you don’t know, then you probably aren’t on Twitter, which makes you an intellectual genius.
Now that I think about it, you know what it reminds me of? The days of the internet stock madness. There were so many stocks with ridiculous valuations in those days, getting bid up by everyone. The sell-side firms that provided research, were scared to put sell ratings on stocks for fear of losing business. Even though their analysts were breaking down the 10-Qs and showing them the numbers.
ESPN is not about ruffling feathers. They are all about maintaining the status quo and bringing in those dolla dolla bills y’all, just like Randolph and Mortimer Duke. The difference is that the Duke Brothers’ recommendations had a direct effect on their clients’ portfolio. ESPN? They don’t care if you win or lose your league. They want to entertain and give the people what they want, so that more advertising dollars flow in.
I did just write this, so I understand if you think I’m a little coo coo. With that said, the above is just one theory why KB would have Swanson rated as the 116th overall player. The other is that he really likes him and expects a breakout. I like my theory better.