For Teixeira, this business is usual
ATLANTA -- He stood at his locker with his crisply pressed Georgia Tech polo shirt on, in front of the Braves' jersey with his name across the back that he probably never will wear again, and Mark Teixeira looked ... what? Happy? Sad? A little of both? Maybe neither?
This is what the trade deadline, all promise and excitement and titillation for most of us, comes down to for the people involved. Here one day, gone the next. A new town, a new league sometimes, a whole new situation.
Pack up the kids and the toaster oven, hon! We're moving to Anaheim!
"It's very bittersweet," Teixeira, whose less-than year-long tenure as the Braves' first baseman ended Tuesday at about 5:10 p.m. ET, when the Braves sent him to the Los Angeles Angels in exchange for first baseman Casey Kotchman and a minor-league pitcher. "But business is business."
That, more than anything, is what this time of the season really is. And we should never forget that. It's business. Teixeira, for all his professed love of the Atlanta area and the Braves (he played at Tech, his in-laws are from Habersham County in the mountains of northeast Georgia, he played baseball with Chipper Jones and Jeff Francoeur in the World Baseball Classic before he ever slipped a tomahawk onto his chest), knows it. The Braves always have known it.
And so a young, exciting, impactful player seemingly made for the Atlanta market is taking his swing and his clean-cut good looks to Southern California for a two to three-month rental with the best team in the American League.
It's business. That's all it is. That's all it's ever been.
Biggest thing in Georgia since Scarlett O'Hara
-- from the Mark Teixeira Tribute, Tito and the Gun Show
When Teixeira was traded to the Braves last July 31, after 4 1/2 mostly very good years with the Rangers, it seemed a perfect match. Fans were giddy with excitement. Ballads (or at least the one above) were written. Predictions were made.
With two powerful switch-hitters in the middle of the Atlanta lineup -- Teixeira and third baseman Jones -- the Braves were quickly going to get back on top of the National League East, where they had been for an unprecedented 14 straight seasons. And, who knows? After they took care of '07, there might even be a good chance that Teixeira would stick around his family -- both his baseball one and the one he married into -- and re-sign with the Braves. Such was the thinking around Atlanta.
But despite Teixeira's superb efforts in his first half-year in Atlanta -- he hit .317 with 17 home runs and 56 RBIs in 54 games -- the Braves couldn't get back to the top in '07, finishing third behind the Phillies and Mets. Still, with a full year ahead with their new son aboard, the Braves were bound to do better in '08. Or so the fans thought.
The National League, it just ain't fair-a
-- from the Mark Teixeira Tribute
Things have not worked out quite that way, something we all probably should have seen in February or March. Back then, the Braves made an offer to sign their first baseman to a contract that would put him in what general manager Frank Wren called the "upper echelon" of highest-paid players in the game. The way Wren tells it, the offer was turned down flatly.