I feel the need for a little exercise in backtracking through the fun intricacies of logic.

This post was born of a comment I started typing on Quisp’s blog, but then decided was too long for a comment. So consider this our response to our friend’s article last night.

This horse is dying, but its not dead quite yet… so let’s go for the overkill.

Some sand was kicked up in the air yesterday when Rich Hammond posted the following quote from Lombardi:

“I think it’s fair to say that in the last conversation, we set the parameters, as to where we feel his contract should be. We talked about a number of scenarios, and I guess now it’s their move. They never really responded.”

The way in which the dust settled formed a different pattern on the Drew Doughty contract grounds depending on how you interpreted Dean’s usage of the pronoun ‘we’. Does ‘we’ refer to Lombardi and his colleagues, or does it refer to the parties of the negotiation, Lombardi and Doughty’s agent Don Meehan? The truth of Lombardi’s meaning makes his statement mean two very different things. Unfortunately, we can’t know with 100% certainty which ‘we’ we were meant to understand…or can we? I believe we can within a reasonable degree of certainty.

In order to do this, we must backtrack logic and make the proper assumptions based on the different groups of ‘we’. First, let’s assume that ‘we’ is in reference to Lombardi and company, namely Tim Leiweke, Jeff Solomon and Ron Hextall. If this is the case then what Lombardi is telling us is that two weeks ago when his group last talked with Doughty’s representatives, the Kings set their own parameters for the contract. If this were true, then something else must be true: were it the case that two weeks ago Lombardi and his people set their parameters, that would then mean that before that time Dean did not have his parameters set. This then forces us to assume that up until two weeks ago, Lombardi didn’t know where he wanted Drew’s contract to be. Suddenly a very reasonable assumption necessitates an unreasonable one. While within the realm of possibility (I suppose anything is “possible”), it is highly unlikely, especially when Lombardi’s history of stringent cap management is factored into this seemingly more and more false equation. Are you willing to concede that it took Lombardi until July 28th to decide a range of numbers (parameters) that he is comfortable paying Doughty? I am not, and therefore I also can not allow that Lombardi was referring to his own people when he said ‘we’.

Let’s look at two more factors in painstakingly annoying detail. The very first phrase is important here, “I think it’s fair to say that in the last conversation,”… I THINK…. it’s FAIR to say. These are qualifiers to what he is about to say about setting parameters. Now, if we are to assume he is talking about simply setting his own side’s parameters, why the equivocation? Why would he need to qualify a decision he has personally made as being something of which he is partially unsure by preceding his statement with “I think”? Furthermore, the term ‘fair to say’ typically is used when feigning to speak on another person’s behalf. You wouldn’t say “It’s fair to say that I took out the trash naked today.” You would just plainly say you took out the trash naked. You don’t need to qualify events you personally experienced or are sure to be true in such a way. I wouldn’t say “I think it’s fair to say I was happy with my last article”, but I would say something like “I think it’s fair to say that my readers were happy with my last article.” In the first statement I am simply stating a fact about myself. “Fair to say” would be superfluous. However if I am speaking to the opinion of another, I can make a ‘fair’ assumption based on my interaction with that person.

Finally, if ‘we’ meant Lombardi and his people, why not say ‘I’? Lombardi is at the helm here and in the past has almost always referred to himself in the first person when discussing team decisions that ultimately fall to him. He has also generally mentioned Hextall, Leiweke or Solomon by name when referring to decisions he has made with them.

Now, let’s assume the other side of the coin fell facing upwards and ‘we’ means ‘Meehan & myself’. Everything follows properly from here. In two sentences he uses the term ‘we’ three times. “We set the parameters” “Where we feel the contract should be” “We talked about a number of scenarios.” Well it is obvious that the last ‘we’ refers to Lombardi and Meehan. His subject for this is after all his negotiations with Meehan. The last conversation he had was with Meehan, and that being his subject matter, logically any reference to ‘we’ that follows refers to the parties in question. For Lombardi to use the term ‘we’ three times in two sentences and to mean for that ‘we’ to refer to different groups of people without ever establishing a second group for that ‘we’ to refer to would be entirely obtuse and a high school grammar teacher’s nightmare. All the evidence we can derive based on critical thinking, logic and knowledge of the topic on which the quote is based, forces us to accept that Lombardi is referring to himself and Drew Doughty’s negotiating party.

But, hey, if language wasn’t subject to interpretation (even tortured sometimes), we wouldn’t need lawyers, right?

Then again, had Rich Hammond simply posted the specific question that Lombardi’s answer was in response to, none of this would likely have been an issue in the first place…but there is nothing you or I…or “we”…can do about that. In the meantime, there is one thing “we” can all agree on – we look forward to the day that Drew Doughty is signed, ideally long-term and with a manageable cap hit. GO KINGS!