In the movie Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, the title character, Borat Sagdiyev, imparts the story of his younger brother Bilo, a tragedy-stricken young man who lives in a cage. For years Bilo is taunted by his sister, Natalya, the No. 4 prostitute in all of Kazakhstan. Natalya, who has even earned a trophy for her whoring efforts, often dances before her confined sibling, flashing her “vazheen,” shouting, “You will never get this, you will never get it, la la la la la la!”
Restricted to a life behind cold, metal bars, Bilo cries. He cries, says Borat, as everybody laughs. And as they laugh, Bilo’s older sister issues a firm decree: “You never get this.”
You know those “Jesus is _____” bumper stickers? Every time I see one of those, I want to walk up with a pen and write “only hitting .203″ on the blank line. Sure, the vehicle’s owner might not get nor appreciate the joke, but hey, don’t buy a fill-in-the-blank bumper sticker next time.
In fact, you could make all sorts of “Jesus is” wisecracks when it comes to Mariners catcher Jesus Montero. Jesus is 0-for-15 in throwing out stealing base runners. Jesus is unable to hit a curveball. Or how about this one: Jesus is destined for Triple-A. It’s that last “Jesus is” that might be most concerning. But based on current circumstances, it should become the team’s reality.
Over the past decade, the Mariners have been really, really, really good at spawning anger and dissent amongst their fan base. Really good. I can’t tell you how good they’ve been at this. To the credit of the affected population, rather than commit crimes or go on villainous rampages, fans have taken to the world wide web to voice their displeasure for the organization, because frankly, what else is this online environment good for, anyway?
You’d think that people would be relatively unified in their angst over a team that hasn’t been to the postseason in twelve years, but that’s not the case at all. So what if we all agree that the team sucks? Some people out there don’t agree enough. Some people out there show signs of occasional optimism, others show too much pessimism, some aren’t as critical as we’d like them to be, others are far too critical. We can agree that the Mariners are bad, but we can’t agree on the way in which we all agree about that very thing we originally agreed upon. If this sounds ridiculous, that’s because it is.
Morse has been a breath of fresh air for a team in need of just that, recording a hit in every single game thus far, leading both the M’s and the majors with five home runs (Atlanta’s Justin Upton currently has five home runs, as well), and bringing an infectious personality to a ballclub that has very much lacked infectious personalities over the past few years.
Morse’s hot start to the season has produced a number of intriguing statistics — anomalous and otherwise — that deserve to be highlighted. Math nerds get your abacuses (abaci?) ready.
The other night I was sitting on my ass watching TV when a Gorton’s fish stick ad aired. I imagine Gorton’s would rather we all refer to them by their official title — Gorton’s Seafood — but let’s face it, what they’re known for is fish sticks. Frozen, rectangular conglomerations of mysterious fish parts. That’s all Gorton’s really is.
At the end of the commercial, a woman with a pleasant voice sang the Gorton’s slogan — “Trust the Gorton’s fisherman…” — and a thought crossed my mind. I’ve heard this jingle my entire life and never once have I actually put any faith in the Gorton’s fisherman. Does anyone trust the Gorton’s fisherman? Because I don’t.
The 2013 baseball season is underway and you don’t know how you should feel about our beloved Seattle Mariners. Fear not, M’s fans. I’m not here to tell you how you should feel (that’s no one’s place), but I can give you 11 reasons why you might be able to shed some cynicism and believe in this year’s team.
Without further delay…
11. Chone Figgins is gone.
Lest you think three years of vitriol directed towards the Mariners’ sometimes-third baseman was unwarranted, consider this:
In between Sunday afternoons spent watching Nickelodeon Guts and Family Double Dare and all the other kid shows that permeated every kid’s existence in the kid-friendly, kid-centric Nineties, I was a baseball fan. My summers were punctuated by bruises and scuffed knees and mosquito bites that only seemed to multiply each time I scratched them. I had a glove with Ken Griffey Jr.’s name burned into the pocket, a wardrobe full of blue and yellow Mariners apparel, snapback caps with an “S” on the crown, and this belief, however foolish, that I would one day grow up to be them.
Throughout the duration of every season, I would type up, print out, and maintain a list of each player on the Mariners’ active roster. Jersey number, name, and position. If Dann Howitt got called up from Triple-A, then by god you’d find me in front of a Macintosh Classic typing Howitt’s information into Microsoft Works. And if I went to a game to discover that Howitt’s jersey number had inexplicably been switched from 23 to 44, upon arriving home that edit would be made, saved, printed, and kept. I could give you the details on every single player, from No. 1 (Greg Briley and Brian Turang) all the way to No. 96 (Mak Suzuki).
*Editor’s note: With baseball season fast approaching, it’s time we gave you some insight into the world of the major league ballplayer. To kick things off, we’ve solicited the wisdom of a talented writer who also moonlights as a nanny to the stars, if you will. Revealing a behind the scenes look at the MLB lifestyle is Raija Sanford (@RSanford23 on Twitter), who you can check out on her blog here. Anyone could tell you about the Mariners’ rotation or the fate of the season-to-be. But no one else will let you in on Josh Beckett’s mockery of his pregnant wife…
By Raija Sanford
I have gone to private schools my entire life. In that circle, one hires a nanny; one does not become a nanny. But somehow, I became a nanny, and not just any nanny, a Major League Baseball nanny.
When I started babysitting for new families my friends always asked me about them and I would say, “Well, the husband plays professional baseball.” And somehow their follow-up question was always, “Oh. So what does the wife do? Why do they need a nanny?”
Well, let me tell you…
Later in the afternoon, it was announced by Chris Hansen and the Sonics Arena team that a “Priority Ticket Wait List” would debut for prospective Sonics season ticketholders on Thursday. At that point, damn near ecstatic, I said to myself, “My goodness. Things just keep improving. Is it at all possible that this day could get any better? There’s no way. No possible way.”
But then I thought, actually, yes there is a way for this day to get better.
If the Mariners were to somehow reacquire Chone Figgins from the Florida Marlins with the sole intention of cutting him, that would make my day better. Much better, in fact. Possibly the best day I’ve ever had. And that got me thinking about how on earth we could obtain Figgins for our own sadistic pleasure of re-releasing him.
This will not be easy, of course. Not only is Figgins in the Marlins’ camp on a minor league deal, he has to be willing to ink a contract with the Mariners before he can come here and be released. So rather than just make this a baseball move, I figure we have to expand our mission to include all walks of life. That’s right, we need to look to cut Figgins from literally anything by which he can possibly be cut.
The truth is, in the labyrinth of my mind, all the paths my thoughts travel down ultimately lead to scenarios in which we not-so-coincidentally happen upon the Mariners’ ex-third baseman…and then cut him. Because honestly, has there been a greater day in the past year than November 28th, 2012, the day Figgins was officially released from his contract? Heck no, there hasn’t. So yeah, I’d like to continue reliving that moment over and over and over again. Let me tell you how I see it playing out.
What the hell is going on? People are fighting like there’s reason to fight or something. Everyone has an opinion on the Mariners’ trade of catcher John Jaso for outfielder/first baseman Mike Morse. Some people think it’s a great deal, some people think it’s a horrible deal, but regardless, everyone seems to be either agonizing or rejoicing.
First of all, this is stupid. The Mariners were Godawful last year and neither of the players we’re debating — neither Morse nor Jaso — are world-beaters. We’re talking about JOHN JASO and MIKE MORSE! This is not Ty Cobb and Babe Ruth, people! We should not be having aneurysms over two slightly-above-average major leaguers. It’s foolish in every sense of the word. No matter how many advanced statistics you can ejaculate onto the world wide web, I’m not convinced that either of these players is or was going to be the fulcrum for the Mariners’ 2013 season. We weren’t going to go from a cellar dweller to a playoff contender simply because we inserted Jaso into the lineup, nor are we going to win the division just because Morse is here now. No, there’s a greater reality here and why we can’t just discuss it for what it is is mind-boggling.
It’s come to my attention, via the Internet, that a faction of the Mariners fan base took umbrage with what Alex wrote the other night in the wake of the Josh Hamilton news. I feel compelled to defend him. I don’t know why. Trust me, Alex does not need my defense. I’m pretty little, after all — what could I do if there was an attack? But hey, a lot of unnecessary things are written on the Internet. So, here I go! De-fense!
I don’t agree with everything Alex writes on this web site. He can be pretty brash. I am a little more reserved and pragmatic. Alex swears in his articles on occasion, while I’m not the online-cursing type. In fact, I often censor Alex by substituting words like “poop” when I share his jokes with my Twitter followers. But when he asked me to write for the blog, I was excited. I had secretly hoped he would. I thought it was a nice match because, despite our different approaches, we have an identical, deeply-rooted love for Seattle and its sports teams.
I’m not sure the critics of his last Mariners post understood what he was doing. Do you guys read much? How is that going for you? Let me explain.
You see, Alex encapsulated a feeling. Nothing more. Nothing less. That’s pretty much all he does here at Seattle Sportsnet. He never claims to be right. He only claims to feel. And feelings, as many of us learned in kindergarten, aren’t right or wrong. A feeling just is.
First of all, let me be clear: this isn’t JUST about Josh Hamilton. Sure, the Mariners were rumored to be in the hunt for the services of the 31-year-old outfielder. And yes, they failed miserably in their quest to land him. But come on. Let’s be real here. Did anyone really, truly believe the Mariners had the wherewithal to sign a free agent of Hamilton’s ilk? The most coveted free agent of the 2012-2013 class? No. We didn’t believe it. We might have hoped. We might have prayed. But we didn’t believe. Because we can’t believe. Believing requires faith. And the Seattle Mariners have destroyed ALL our faith in recent years. They are Lindsay Lohan behind the wheel and we, their fans, are reluctant passengers. This will not end well. We know it won’t end well. But we hope and pray that it WILL end well. Ultimately, our hopes and our prayers go unanswered.
The Mariners are murderers of happiness. You wake up one morning full of blissful ignorance, stupidly giddy over nothing at all, and then the team you love with all your foolish, little heart comes and craps on your day with remarkable aplomb. Why do they do that? Why do we let them? These are questions no one has answers to.
There have been, and will always be, more insufferable human beings.
There have been, and will certainly always be, bigger free agent busts.
But when you combine a lack of talent with an insufferable nature, then add a bloated contract to the mix, what you get is the worst player in Seattle Mariners history. Who you see before you, friends, is Chone Figgins.
Call him a disappointment. Call him a nuisance. Call him a distraction, a failure, a bad decision. He is all of those things. Chone Figgins is — or better yet, because we can say it now, was — the most frustrating, irritating, annoying, pestering, festering excuse for a baseball player that ever put on a Seattle uniform. He collected a paycheck and never delivered. Ever. Outside of becoming the subject of our scathing bits of wit over the past three seasons, Figgins provided no value whatsoever. He was, as they say, a contractual albatross. Albeit the most puny, undersized albatross you’ve ever seen.
October 24, 2012. Mark it on your calendars as the day the hopes and dreams of all fun-loving Seattle Mariners fans were destroyed. On this date in history, Munenori Kawasaki — he of the crowd-waving, dugout-dancing, fake-base-stealing whimsy — was released by the only Major League Baseball team to have ever employed him. Let’s all now share a moment of silence in honor of Mune.
From a business perspective, it makes sense. There are any number of utility middle infielders around the game of baseball who can bat .192, drive in seven runs, and get caught stealing in fifty-percent of their four attempts. But for Christ’s sake, how many of those utility middle infielders will willingly break out spontaneous dance moves in the dugout, flop their wrists in between pitches at the plate (for dramatic effect, we can assume), leap across the infield lawn when a game has just been won, or smile every single day, for no reason at all? None, I imagine. None of those other guys will do it. Except Kawasaki.