There were several suspicious clues. First, Eartha was studying the sport page with deep interest. She normally pays minimal attention to the wide world of sports. Then one day, she made a casual comment "I see the Twins management has traded Dozier to the Dodgers."
Later I found she had a clipping from the sport page detailing the Dozier trade and the trade of Eduardo Escobar to the Arizona Diamondbacks the week before. The clippings gave the numbers and details: millions in salaries, qualifying offers, waivers, compensatory picks, free agency and all the complicated rules of trading baseball players. I don't understand the rules and I'm sure Eartha has no clue how they work, but we've never talked about it, so maybe she knew more than I thought.
Then I found her studying the Craig's List website and it looked like she was considering a mysterious and secret transaction of some sort. So I decided to confront her. "Ok, what's going on with the trading of ball players and Craig's List?"
Caught in the act, she blushed and stammered an awkward explanation. "When I realized that baseball teams can trade players, I thought about some of your unfinished projects (unstarted actually) and wondering if I could pick up some talent to generate a little progress around here. So I put together a trade proposal to run on Craig's List."
"Let me see that proposal."
"I don't think that's a good idea."
I just glared at her. "Let me see it."
"Okay, here it is, but this is just the first draft, subject to revision:"
WANTED TO TRADE: Offering one high mileage husband - sports fan, mostly honest, loves to sing and read, but with diminishing energy, ambition and carpenter skills. Will trade for mature younger handyman, used antique furniture, half-ton pickup or best offer. I'm not fussy."
I couldn't believe my eyes. "How could you? First, the Twins trade their two most productive players - Dozier was in the All Star Game last year - hit a homer - and Escobar was having a great season. The Twins have made an unbelievable blunder and you're proposing to create an even worse blunder of your own - our own. When did you propose to ask me what I thought about it?"
"That s how trading talent works. The Twins never asked Dozier or Escobar how they felt about being traded. You shouldn't be insulted. It's a fast-moving world out there and people and commodities are traded every day. Remember old Rusty our 2001 utility car? It still ran after all these years, but we decided to upgrade. I'm just trying to upgrade."
"You call a mature younger man or half-ton pickup an upgrade? How about considering my years of maturity?"
"You have the years, all right, but maturity doesn't necessarily follow aging. You stopped maturing after five years of marriage, but you kept on aging and aging."
"You have always admired my pal Ben, same age as me, and you've commented frequently about his maturity."
"Yes. Ben is a good pal, honest, hard working, loyal and certainly mature. I know Ben, too, and I've thought about it - and believe me, you're no Ben."
"Don't years and years of my loyalty count?"
"Loyalty is a non-factor in trading. Dozier and Escobar will be loyal to whomever writes the paychecks, and the Twins will be loyal to the new talent they pick up. Fan loyalty doesn't count. Hurt feelings only impede progress."
"So where do you get the authority to make such a drastic decision all on your own?"
She just rolled her eyes. "Duh - because I'm management."
I realized I'm just a commodity and shouldn't stand in the path of progress just because of the pain I'm feeling.
So she ran the ad on Craig's List and the offers are coming in. So far, she's been offered a 1985 John Deere lawn tractor (blades need sharpening), a one-armed carpenter, a wooden fishing boat and an old goat (separate offers, not one combination offer). I'm trying not to be discouraged. After all, the Twins didn't get much for the talented Dozier either.