When a person is unreasonable, their natural inclination when dealing with disappointment is frequently irrational. Often times, no one is more unreasonable (or irrational) than your garden-variety sports fan.
When Carlos Beltran left the Royals in 2004 for greener pastures (and nothing says greener than “Houston, TX”), fans were understandably miffed. Here go the Royals, once again, the sorrowful fans bemoaned, crying softly into their Kaufmann Stadium nachos.
A once in a lifetime player, and for what?
Blake Wood, who was out of baseball after a 2010 stint with the Rockford Riverhawks, whoever they are.
John Buck, who is still catching with the Miami Marlins, despite having the dubious honor of having the lowest percentage of runners caught stealing in all of baseball in 2011.
Mark Teahen, the lynchpin of the deal, who was released by the Blue Jays in January and is currently on a minor league deal with the Washington Nationals.
The trade, by nearly any tangible measurement, was a bust. And yet strangely, after all of these years, the casual fan would point this blame solely at Beltran. He was a spoiled dick, a diva, and a gargantuan greed-monger who did that shit where the cartoon wolf’s eyes cha-ching and turn into giant, old-timey cash register dollar signs.
He was a jerk for not previously signing a long-term deal with the Royals, so why even bother? Let him go. Flip him for the future, and let him ride sexily into the sunset.
My mom doesn’t know that this was Allard Baird’s fault—she has no idea who “Allen Beard” is (trust me, I asked).
But the fact of the matter is, the Royals weren’t willing to pay him what baseball deemed he was worth. We’re supposed to hate a person because they want to make more money? Please.
And though his situation is slightly different—he’s kind of doing the opposite, really, by going somewhere for LESS money—Frank Martin is being vilified by some.
It is because of this misplaced anger and imbued unreasonableness that teenaged girls in Manhattan are tearfully tearing up their autographed Frank Martin pictures (sample offering: “Stay Sweet, Stacy. Your pal, Frank”) as we speak, and others are burning oversized, David-Byrne-like suits in effigy.
Frank Martin is the Carlos Beltran of Kansas State University. (Except older. And scarier. And more Cuban.) Like ‘Los, Martin is now being demonized for abandoning ship, and, while there is a measure of merit to that line of thinking (he WAS under contract, after all), he’s mostly a scapegoat.
The true turd in the punchbowl is none other than Athletic Director John Currie. Currie, who publicly stated that there WAS no rift between he and the head coach, seems to be lying in the face of every other documented account. The prevailing opinion—and who are we to discount internet rumors and innuendos?!—is that an irreparable fracture had been forming for some time, and the rock that finally cracked the fibula and felled the giant was the Jamar Samuels tournament eligibility issue. So Martin announced his resignation on Tuesday, and 45 seconds later, announced what everyone already knew (but Kevin Kietzman was deeming “IMPOSSIBLE, good sirs!” as late as last week): that he was heading to South Carolina.
Currie stated, “Hey! We tried to give Frank more money… what are ‘ya gonna do?”
And Martin said, “I just wanted a new challenge, guys. Nothing personal.”
You know, because all of his dreams were achieved by reaching the Elite Eight in 2010. But I digress…
Martin got to the point where he could no longer coexist with Currie as AD.
Have you ever been in a similar situation with a superior? It’s impossible to function. Work becomes hell, and well, work is where you spend a majority of your time. HAVE FUN IN HELL, IDIOTS.
It was Currie’s responsibility to do WHATEVER HE COULD to keep K-State’s winningest coach since Lon Kruger on staff and happy. If Frank Martin professed to the world, “I WANT NOTHING BUT BARELY LEGAL TAIWANESE HOOKERS,” you get him barely legal, Taiwanese hookers. Money obviously wasn’t an issue—they were ready to pay him handsomely, apparently—nor were the facilities, etc.
But due to something on the part of Currie—ego, ignorance, general incompetence—he let Frank split. He wouldn’t put his pride aside, make amends and simply say, “you know what, Frank? This is your team… you do what you need to do, and I’ll be over here playing Draw Something on my iPad. Keep up the winning, bro!” So now he’s left with the unenviable task of finding a suitable replacement (Bruce Pearl! Tad Boyle! Brad Underwood!). Have fun with that, John-John.
Meanwhile, Martin will head to the Gamecocks and attempt to build a reputable program out of mud and discarded candy wrappers. And though his recruiting abilities are still somewhat questionable—Michael Beasley, Bill Walker and Jacob Pullen were all Bob Huggins commitments, after all—he takes with him a pedigree of success and a fiery passion for both sport and fashion.
Who, oh who will fill his gangster-rific, wing-tipped shoes?
But the real losers here are the fans. For 5 years, Martin made K-State a competitor, someone exciting to watch who could reasonably compete with any other team in the nation at any given time. With his departure, it goes without saying that this program will struggle a bit to find their identity and solidify their footing. While it’s not likely that they’ll crumble over night—it takes a lot longer to build a winner than it does to tear one down—their high ceiling just got a little bit lower with his migration.
I hope Currie is happy with his obstinance, because he hobbled his university in the process. NICELY DONE.