Lonnie Wheeler, a very good sportswriter, pretends to write like a lawyer today in defense of Wayne Krivsky and “The Trade.” The result is a complete disaster, both as a legal argument and a piece of writing. It’s a bunch of unreadable, unconvincing stuff like this:

At any rate, our case, ladies and gentlemen of the grandstand, is sketched out as a big picture. We submit that Mr. Krivsky acted in good faith when he negotiated with Mr. Bowden, that this particular exchange may yet prove favorable for the Cincinnati side, and that, if by some subjective measure it were to be judged that the Reds were temporarily disadvantaged by it – a point that we trust you will find invalid – they are, in fact, far better off for the defendant’s dealings at large. In the context of baseball’s delicate balance, no general manager should be indicted by a single zigzag of fate.

(That middle sentence is what – 70 words long?) Lawyers never talked like that, at least not in this century or this country. The idea is to get your point across to your audience, whether you’re a trial lawyer or a sports columnist, and this batch of hooey fails on both tasks. The substantive arguments are nothing we haven’t heard before, and have the same logical fallacies and factual misstatements as every other Trade apology. I’m tired of refuting them. I don’t think Krivsky sucks as a GM, but I do think he made a big, horrible mistake on July 13, 2006. My case boils down, “ladies and gentlemen of the jury,” to one fundamental rule: No matter what, you don’t trade two major league regulars for two middle relievers. There’s no exception or explanation that justifies breaking that rule.