I love this team. Don’t get me wrong. I just happen to hate this version of this team. It’s like when you’re a kid and you screw up and your parents get mad at you. It doesn’t mean they don’t love you anymore. They’re just upset for the time being. That’s all it is.
On paper, the 2011 Seattle Mariners are grosser than a Brendan Fraser movie. They’re flat boring. Brendan Ryan? Adam Kennedy? Jack Cust? Eh. Let’s be real here. None of those guys get you excited about the future of this team. They just don’t. But at least we got rid of Ryan Rowland-Smith. The Minus. Addition by subtracting the Subtraction. Though I suppose we could reacquire his goofy didgeridoo ass since he was just cut by the Houston Astros. Seriously. And he spent his entire offseason doing MMA workouts with Jay Glazer, too. Gee, I don’t know how that didn’t lead to success.
Anyway, here’s the thing about this year’s Mariners. The real media is obligated to make you believe in ’em because currently they’re tied for first place with the best record in the league. Me, on the other hand…well, let’s just be honest, I have absolutely no obligations to anybody. So I’ll give it to you straight. Don’t think of this as a preview of the season. You would never read that garbage. Treat it as a heavy dose of reality.
Point No. 1: Everyone get off Tom Wilhelmsen’s dick
Tom Wilhelmsen. If you don’t know who he is by now, Google him. Every beat writer and columnist in the entire frickin’ world has written about Wilhelmsen and his quote-unquote story. Story, my ass. Let me give you the real Tom Wilhelmsen story, free of charge:
Athletically gifted dude gets paid a lot of money at a young age, blows said money on weed, wastes his talents, smokes aforementioned weed, quits job, goes AWOL, realizes he’s doing jack sh*t with his life, kicks weed (supposedly), puts talent to good use, gets a job. End of story.
But the way the scribes tell it, Wilhelmsen is a GDMFing hero. Why? Because he stopped smoking pot? Tim Lincecum started smoking pot and became better at his job. So suck on that.
The reality of Tom Wilhelmsen is that up until a year or two ago, the dude was a lazy motherf**ker. That’s not a knock on the guy. Hell, there are millions of lazy motherf**kers in the world. Most of them can’t throw a baseball 95 miles per hour, however. Wilhelmsen can. That doesn’t make him Mother Theresa.
I can’t fault Wilhelmsen’s plan. It was genius. Set the bar ridiculously low for yourself, then hop over it…hero status. Way to go. We wish we could all be the benefactors of our own shallow expectations.
I’ll still root for the guy. Not because he’s a hero now or whatever. I could care less about that. I’m intrigued by the fact that he was so passionate about life that he up and quit his job to pursue, well, nothing. More people should do that, and I’m dead serious. We tend to wait until we’re old and decrepit before we really enjoy life. So good for you, Wilhelmsen. Even I can applaud that.
Point No. 2: You better not screw this up, Bedard
You know the crazy girl you used to date but keep messing around with on the side? The one who you have no foreseeable future with, who you kind of hate, who your friends don’t like, but who has mad skills in the sack? That, my friends, is Erik Bedard.
Bedard is the most frustrating player in the history of baseball. He’s talented as all hell, but he can’t stay healthy. And yet we keep giving him chance after chance after chance, and what does he do? He tantalizes the fan base. He’s the world’s biggest cock tease. The hot actress on the cover of the magazine with her own hands covering her boobs. Just splay your fingers or something. Christ.
So what if we’re not really granting Bedard much of a salary anymore? He’s basically working off commission at this point, anyway. The money doesn’t matter. It’s the way he plays with our emotions every year. Pitching lights out when he’s on, stagnating on the DL when he’s off. And now here he comes with this phenomenal spring. Getting our hopes up one more time. For what? To let us down again? Is that how this will all play out?
I can’t do it anymore, Bedard. You’re the Jerry Maguire to our Dorothy Boyd. We want to believe in you, to complete you, to trust you, to love you, but it’s such a freaking struggle.
I hope this is the year. I really do. Don’t screw it up, Bedard. We need you.
Point No. 3: Milton Bradley is your starting left fielder
I mean, I don’t even know what to say really. Just let that sh*t sink in. Milton Effing Bradley. Unbuckingfelievable.
Point No. 4: Brandon League is your closer
God, I hate Brandon League. I do. I really do. There’s no other way to put it. The guy is like fingernails on a chalkboard to me. He’s Bobby Ayala 2.0. And the thing that really bugs me about League is that so many people think he’s good. Okay, yeah, whatever.
Sure, the dude throws hard. I get that. We all do. But unfortunately he has the mental fortitude of a kindergartner. He crumbles under pressure, inflates his numbers in garbage time, and all in all becomes an average major leaguer when you take everything into account. He’s basically the Ricky Davis of baseball. Again, if you don’t know Ricky Davis, much like you may not have known Tom Wilhelmsen, please Google him.
It was bad enough last year when League was our top setup man. Now he starts this season as the team’s closer because David Aardsma has Bo Jacksonitis or something.
How’s League supposed to protect a one-run lead? Huh? Riddle me that. Because there were moments last year when he seemingly wasn’t capable of protecting the world’s tiniest penis. He’s like a perforated Trojan Mini. Good luck with that.
I don’t know, League. I wish I could like you, but I just don’t. Maybe one day after you give up baseball and go become a hair stylist for the blind I’ll learn to appreciate you more.
Point No. 5: Where the sh*t is Dustin Ackley?
I don’t care if he’s not ready. Billy Downtown Anderson wasn’t ready in Major League: Back to the Minors, but what did Roger Dorn and the Twins do? They called him up anyway. To sell tickets. And breathe some life into a moribund franchise. That’s what they did. And did it work? No, it didn’t. But who cares. At least they had the moxie to pull the trigger on the move anyhow. You have to like the attitude.
I don’t care if Ackley still needs seasoning in the minors. I want to watch him play. Now. Yes, I realize how selfish this is. But the dude was the No. 2 overall pick a few years ago. People want to see this man in a Mariners uniform!
Prove to me he’s not ready. You’re paying him millions of dollars to do his job, why not make him earn it a little bit? That’s all I ask. Bring him up here, install him at second base, ship Jack Wilson down to the Caribbean so he can hang out with Jack Sparrow, and let’s do this. Ackley ain’t getting any younger and you already poached him from the college ranks, so his body clock has to be ticking. Sh*t, if he was Dominican you would’ve had him up here two years ago. But then again, he would have told you he was like 18 back then when in reality he was really 34 or 35. That’s the thing about Dominicans. They use a different calendar than we do and hence don’t count the years the same way. It’s the metric system is what it is.
All I’m asking is for a little excitement. And Ackley brings that. Excite me, Mariners. This is going to be a long season. I’d at least like to see more than frumpy stopgap veterans slogging their way through the tail ends of their careers. We deserve better. Let’s make it happen.