In beach towns the world around, towering wooden posts affixed with oversized speakers dot the coastal landscape. Blending in beneath the mercurial skies that quickly shuttle across their seaboards, these manmade edifices serve as gentle reminders of a possible storm that could arrive at any moment.
Should these speakers ever sound a siren, those who call such hamlets home know that the unstoppable force of a tsunami heads their way. With waves that enact true natural disaster, the sirens act as a warning to all who lie in the path of imminent devastation. The force cannot be stopped, of course. But those who may meet its violence head-on have one final opportunity to take cover.
Perhaps it is a unique coincidence that Seattle’s baseball team chooses to employ a nautical theme. Mariners, navigators of the open water, don’t often leave destruction in their wake, however. Mariners, 25-man compilations of ballplayers, rarely wreak havoc, themselves. In this particular season, though, that seems to be changing. So maybe it’s time we let everyone know about these guys.
The patriarch is a king, both by nickname and reputation. Armed with the nastiest of change-ups, he has sat atop a veritable throne as one of the game’s best pitchers for more than a decade. Even the most average of fans has probably heard of him.
There is a second baseman, cool as an autumn breeze, who blows pink bubbles as he deftly destroys baseballs hurled in his direction. And should a batter mistakenly hit a ball his way, it will be scooped up and used to spell one’s very demise before ninety feet have passed, don’t you know.
His partner in crime, a barrel chested behemoth they call Cruz, effortlessly pummels pitches with the confident authority of a veteran pugilist. His batting practice sessions might as well be promotional giveaways – thousands of fans have surely left the park with a souvenir on his behalf.
The first baseman wears a silver charm necklace and beams ear to ear with the cherubic grin of a toddler who just discovered his favorite toy. He is plush, like a teddy bear, beneath the billowy draping of his oversized uniform. But don’t let the look fool you. At the plate, he coils like a rattlesnake, kicks, and unleashes venom upon the most unhittable of heaters.
Across the diamond, his corner counterpart is a matter-of-fact model of consistency. From his golden glove to a swing that pounds out singles and doubles with a steadiness aligned with his everyday approach. His alias is as simple as his ever-reliable grasp on success, Simply.
The closer is devastatingly filthy, so sick he’ll make you sick, his fastball hot as habañero ipecac, his slider seemingly doused in tainted mayonnaise. The best hitters will look physically ill flailing at even his worst stuff; his best stuff will crush one’s hopes and dreams.
There’s one southpaw from up north who throws one-hundred miles per hour. Another who dazzles with more casual stuff, whose name literally translates to “Wade the White,” mystical in nature, not unlike his potential distant ancestor, Gandalf.
There is a bear with a no-no to his credit, a center fielder allowed to fire a bazooka on unsuspecting opponents, a catcher with Herculean power, and an arsenal of hard-throwing rejuvenated renovations in relief.
A backup first baseman who hits walk-off dingers, a utility man whose name an entire stadium chanted in unison, a handsome devil who spurns the advances of left-handed pitchers, and a dad who serves as a surrogate father to all the righties he’s owned.
This is it.
This is the team.
They’re scraping and clawing their way towards a postseason berth for the first time in fifteen years and it’s time the world took notice.
It’s Seattle’s time now. The Mariners are coming.
Consider this your siren.
Beware the unstoppable force.