(Yes, I know it isn't actually Friday. Oops.).
Two things, mostly unrelated.
First, I really love the trading deadline. Trades have always been one of the great things about baseball, going back I believe basically to the dawn of professional baseball leagues. Yes, the other major North American sports have trades, but I don't think it looms nearly as large in the culture of the NFL, NBA, or NHL as it does in baseball -- I don't think fans obsess about old mistakes, or spend nearly as much time concocting trading ideas, or argue years after the fact whether a trade sense or not.. Dumping trades have always been a part of major league baseball, perhaps most famously with Connie Mack's dismemberment of his great A's teams. But with free agency, dumping trades have become far more common, since now contract length is another variable to consider, not just cost (in other words, now you can trade three months of a great player for years of a good player or a prospect, something that didn't make sense when teams owned the rights of their players to the grave). The trade deadline excitement that we know and love today is about twenty years old, and I think it's just terrific. Even if it screws my roto team more often than not, and after being a serious player in the 1990s Brian Sabean apparently has gone gun-shy. Oh well.
Second thing that's been on my mind this week...stability! From 1903 through 1952, the National and American Leagues were totally stable: same sixteen teams, same sixteen locations (I suppose you could date it from 1905, when the World Series was permanently set up). Then from 1953 through 1973 there were tons of franchise relocations, and from 1961 through 1998 several waves of expansion. There was one island of stability in there from 1978 through 1992, with no expansion, realignment, or relocation; that's the current record. I think the most notable tweak in those years was the switch from a best of five to best of seven LCS, in 1985 -- although those were also the years in which the rules for free agency were evolving, and we had a major disruption in 1981. Anyway, then Bud Selig took over and things started going haywire again. But now, suddenly, things appear to be stable again. From 1998 through this year, the only significant change was the Expos moving to Washington in 2005. So 1998-2004 (seven seasons) was basically stable, and so has the current six seasons. Now, as long as Bud Selig is around, there's always the threat of change for the sake of change, or (even worse, and more likely) change to overreact to minor complaints...but neither expansion nor franchise shifts appear to be on the table for now. I don't like the current arrangements very much at all, but I do like stability. I think you can make a case that the current run since 1998 is the most stable since 1953 -- for most fans, the longest they remember. I'm rooting for another decade of it.