When I was a kid, I used to think I was the weird one. I imagine there’s a point in time when everyone sees themselves in that light. You figure that your peers are normal, adults are normal, everyone is normal but you. And when you grow up, you’re gonna be the one that stands out like a sore thumb because you’re so awkwardly different. Then one day you find yourself in your late-twenties and a lady in Zubaz and a head wrap doing lunges across the entire length of a gym floor runs smack dab into the weight you’re lifting in a tiny corner of the room that just happens to be along her path to health and wellness. Never mind the fact that there is a vast amount of floor space to utilize, or that lunges can be done in isolation without the need to traverse along a straight line forward. Never mind that you’ve quarantined yourself to an area no bigger than three-feet-by-three-feet or that this woman could have very easily stopped short of running into you. No, for some people weirdness is damn near inexplicable. I can’t explain why a run-down Erykah Badu lookalike collided with my personal space (as well as a barbell) when there was so much freakin’ space to be had, but it did occur and it was weird.
You get older and you realize everyone is weird to some degree. At a certain age, you stop worrying about your own weirdness and just go with it. It’s up to the rest of the world to either embrace you or shun you for your eccentricities. And as you get older (and weirder) you find new and creative ways to express your weirdness, to the point that you occasionally stumble upon outlets for your behavior that other people seem to enjoy. In those moments, you cross this threshold from abnormal to normal and when you realize that, holy crap, you aren’t as out there as you once thought yourself to be, your entire life it seems is validated. Crazy, I know.
I don’t really have any idea what it is about my own personal weirdness that has led me to seek so many outlets for it. I have to write, I have to share my thoughts, I have to create memes of Photoshopped images of my friends doing interesting things. I also tweet a lot, and the tweeting is probably what gets the most notoriety, a behavior that isn’t limited to my own personal Twitter account, but also the accounts of dozens of fake personalities I’ve created in instances of unique enlightenment. There are many, many fake accounts out there (good luck finding them all), but one of the few I publicly claim is Mariners Rants (@MarinersRants), the product of a suggestion thrown to me by my friend who shall remain nameless, but also happens to be the Mariners beat writer for a local newspaper that may or may not be located in Tacoma.
Come to find out, people really associate with Mariners Rants, which is strange because Mariners Rants is ridiculously crass and entirely inappropriate. Mariners Rants is an amalgamation of the absolute worst things I can think of — the worst words, the worst diseases, the worst conditions, the worst behavior as a whole — associated with the futility of our Major League Baseball team and its esteemed fan base. You haven’t lived until you’ve made a joke about struggling pitchers contracting STDs.
Of course, the cherry on top is ROOT Sports, purveyors of one of the worst production feeds of all-time, a constant running gag reel chronicling the mess that is our ballclub from promising start to pathetic finish. Were it not for ROOT, Mariners Rants might not have much to say on a daily basis, especially on those rare evenings when the M’s prove triumphant in their nightly quest for victory. But when Jen Mueller is botching post-game interviews in broken Spanish with Latin players, when Angie Mentink is bubbling oblivious positivity in the midst of a 10-run loss, well, you have something to bitch about.
That’s really all that Mariners Rants is: a bitchfest. An angry, raging bitch session. It’s not meant to be cynical or smarmy or holier-than-thou in its assessment of a flailing franchise. It’s meant to be cathartic, I suppose, in taking those feelings you have about the M’s, pissing on them, and setting them ablaze in a fiery 140-character tirade that absolves you of the angst you’ve been suppressing for so long. Because the thing is, if you’re like me, you retain your frustration over such a shitty, shitty baseball team until it either results in apathy or real-life anger, two emotions no one ever wants to feel. So before you can get real-life angry and before you stop caring altogether, Mariners Rants will intervene and try to express what it is we’re all enduring, albeit with more swear words and a few analogies that cross the line of public decency.
I don’t do drugs because of Aaron Harang, nor do I have any intention of punching anyone on the 25-man roster in the testicles (though Mariners Rants does). But you might feel like doing both those things when Harang’s out there giving up longball after longball, when Brendan Ryan’s going on an all-week strikeout bender, or when Hector Noesi comes into pitch, well, ever. And so my goal is to keep you from actually following through on any of those actions by talking about them before they happen. Because if it’s already been said, I’d wager that it almost feels like it’s already been done. And if it feels like it’s been done by this anonymous character, what’s the point in you doing it, too? There is no point. So instead of doing, we talk. And in time, we feel better.
Baseball fans, I’ve found, aren’t nearly as volatile as football, basketball, or even soccer fans. Baseball fans tend to be less reactionary and slightly more cautious in their evaluations on almost anything that has to do with their sport. When shit’s going poorly though, as it has for years with the M’s, no fan wants to listen to reserved commentary on such tragic situations. Thing is, the group of people that make up the Mariners’ hardcore fan base, the ones who have stuck around despite a decade of insufferability (not a real word, by the way), are some of the most highly intelligent, insanely clever people I’ve ever encountered in my life. You find out about the true soul of a fan base when things are going poorly, rather than when they’re going well. In paying witness to this baseball team’s losing ways, I’ve found myself connected to a group of witty bastards not unlike me who simply enjoy the presence of one another in the wake of defeat. And so on the day it was recommended I craft this outlet for fan vitriol, this comment box for disgruntled baseball-loving Seattleites, I decided to go overboard and be weird about it all, because weirdness has served me well in the past.
You have to be a little weird to tune into Mariners games in the middle of July when the team is firmly entrenched in its usual spot at the bottom of the standings. But we’re all weird in some way. You, me, all of us. And if weirdness is the thing that brings us together, even in times of extreme fruitlessness, then weirdness is awesome. We are awesome.