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.
We pool our money and locally franchise two Buffalo Wild Wings restaurants. Why two? Well, for starters, the BWW chain has some weird policy I once heard about through a friend that requires any prospective franchisee to agree to open not one, but two establishments. We’ll hedge our bets and just assume my friend was telling the truth. But even if he wasn’t, that second franchise will come in handy. And really, who even cares if this plan backfires? BWW is my favorite chain restaurant of all freakin’ time. We’ll always have beer and wings to fall back on if shit really hits the fan.
Anyway, we open our restaurants. We do well. Of course we do well. We’re pros. We’re sports fans operating two sports bars. This plan can’t fail (said every sports bar-owning sports fan ever). And after we go raid the Home Depot parking lot for our kitchen staff, we might even expand the menu a bit. Branch out, take risks, display a little moxie. Headquarters will be impressed. They’ll want to do big things with us. And what will we do? We’ll sell one of our restaurants. Yep. Sell it. And you know why we’ll sell it? Because at that moment, that franchise will have ridiculous value. So we’ll sell it. And after we sell it, this is what we’ll do next.
First of all, we’ll use the internet to track down Chone Figgins. Where is that guy these days, anyhow? Fort Lauderdale, Florida? No kidding! I’ve been there once or twice. Warm weather, it’s great. We’ll use a little bit of the money we made selling our restaurant to take a trip to Fort Lauderdale.
We’ll get to Fort Lauderdale and find Figgins playing for a semi-competitive rec softball team. They’ll have a sponsor, but it will be a weak sponsor. Some chemical company, or a shady used car dealership, or a law firm — like everyone really wants to wear Meyer, Jones, and Goldman across their chest, or something.
We’ll take in one of the team’s games. After the game, we’ll approach the team captain. “We’re from Buffalo Wild Wings,” we’ll say — and it will be true, because we still own that one restaurant back home — “and we want to sponsor you guys.” We’ll offer up free post-game appetizers and drinks at all our Florida locations (haha, take that, Florida), then agree to supply the team with jerseys and the like. We only have one condition, we’ll tell them. We want to play on the squad, too.
They’ll mull it over. They’ll get back to us in a couple days. Undoubtedly, spicy sauce and bubbling hops will win them over. They’ll agree to our sponsorship. They’ll let us on the team.
There will be three of us playing with this club. We’ll be good enough to earn the respect of the others. We’ll remain steadfast in our longterm goal. We’ll ascend to a certain status as the season drags on. The captain will miss a couple weeks to take his family on vacation. In his absence, we’ll seize the moment.
A mutiny will quietly simmer. The three of us united in our pursuit of greatness will disperse amongst the roster and begin dropping hints to the others.
“Have you noticed the way Chone looks at your wife?” we’ll say. “It’s kind of weird.”
“Dude,” we’ll tell our fourth outfielder, “the other day, after the game, I picked up my cell and Chone had snapped a photo of his junk using my phone’s camera. Who does that? You better guard your phone, bro.”
“Hey, man,” we’ll impart upon our behemoth first baseman with a heart of gold, “I saw Chone run over this squirrel last week when we were leaving the parking lot. It was brutal. And then you know what he did? Put his car in reverse and ran over it again. Then pulled forward…again! And then reversed once more after that. Never seen anything like it. I couldn’t believe it. Broke my heart…”
This will continue for days. By the time our captain returns from vacation, the team will be seething. We’ll take him aside one day and let him in on the secrets of his time away.
“Hey, Efren,” — his name will be Efren — “just wanted to let you know that the guys have been noticing some things with Chone — weird things — and we don’t really know if it’s a good idea that he keep playing with us. Maybe you should ask all of them and see what they think. There was talk of voting him off the squad while you were away, but we really wanted to respect you as captain and wait for your return. Go ahead and ask the guys. We should really make this a team-wide decision.”
Efren will contact the guys. They’ll relay the same information we gave them. Guys are like that. We don’t really think for ourselves sometimes. We just pass along intel. I did it earlier with the whole “two Buffalo Wild Wings franchises” rumor. You all saw it. That’s how we operate. But I digress.
Efren will hear story after story of Chone’s weird behavior. He’ll realize that we can’t have this sort of thing on the team. “No,” he’ll tell our catcher, “I had no idea that Chone was into — what’d you say it was called? Anime bukkake? Am I saying it right? That just doesn’t sound right…”
And thus we’ll have a rebellion on our hands.
Efren will call Chone. He will break him the news — “I’m sorry, Chone. But we’re gonna have to let you go.” — while we sit and whisper encouraging words to our captain — “You’re doing the right thing, Efren! Atta boy!”
Chone will want an explanation as to why he’s being released from yet another team. We’ll cut Efren off right then and there. “He’s not worth it, Efren!” we’ll say. We’ll grab the phone away from Efren. “You know what you did, Chone!” we’ll shout into the phone, and then we’ll slam it back down on its receiver with exaggerated authority. Conversation over.
We’ll console Efren — “Had to be done, bro, had to be done.” — but Efren will never be the same again. He was a pawn. Every good mission goes through its share of pawns. All of Efren’s teammates will be pawns, too. Their scars will heal, however; Efren’s may not.
He will cry a little bit. We’ll put on a pot of soup to help ease his pain. We’ll give him comforting pats on the back and tell him that it won’t be all that hard to replace the .200 batting average and sub-par throwing arm. But at night’s end, despite Efren’s assurances that he’ll be okay, we will know in our heart of hearts that this mission may very well have spawned two victims. Godspeed, Efren, we’ll think as we depart. Godspeed.
We’ll depart for the airport. We’ll buy our plane tickets back to Seattle. We’ll arrive home a few hours later and head straight for the lone Buffalo Wild Wings franchise we still own. We’ll enter the bar, sit down at a table, look one another in the eye, and know. At that moment, we’ll know. We did it. We did what once seemed impossible. It cost us thousands and thousands of dollars, months of our lives, and possibly a little dignity. But we succeeded. And in this world we live in, so often punctuated by failure, we will know that we set forth on a mission and we did not fail.
We’ll order a round of beers. We’ll order some wings. We’ll drink, we’ll eat, we’ll regale our patrons with tales of our glory, we’ll laugh, we’ll cry. We will live having thrived. We will exist having conquered. We will be heroes.
We will have reacquired Chone Figgins…and then cut him again. It will be, in a word, glorious.