Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Are the Mariners Zombies or Just Cursed?

I will not care any more

Another wreck of a season ends.  The fourth 90 loss season in six years. Hiroshi Yamauchi, the man who saved the Mariners for Seattle, recently died. Eric Wedge quit after four (or was it three?) undistinguished years and joined Jim Hargrove as the strangest exit for a Mariner manager. Felix Hernandez has had seven managers since he has been here. Three general managers in a decade. I lost count of total number of managers, interim or full time or part time.

I mean this is a mess. Even though I follow all the sabermetric blogs and know there are some explanations for the failures, especially in roster construction; I believe  the issue transcends human reason or analysis.The last decade of unending failure and smashed dreams leas me to conclude that the Mariner’s might suffer from a zombie disease or curse.

I will never watch another Mariner's game in person.

Zombies exist in many forms, but the their essence lies in the fact that they have lost their souls and most reason. They may be undead or they may just be bodies without souls. Either form will do to describe some of the Mariners.

When I consider why I still watch the Mariners, I realize I have always loved Zombie movies. Zombies have human bodies and they move, sometimes fast, sometimes slow, and they go through human actions, but they produce nothing really but mayhem.They seem to have a purpose, but only end up eating hopes and dreams of living humans.

I prefer canonical slow and awkward zombies, myself. Maybe that accounts for following the Mariners with Jose Montero, Justin Smoak or Michael Morse or Jose Vidro, or so many others. So we have the Zombie Mariners, not all of them, mind you, but enough to guarantee lifeless defense and erratic and perfunctory offense.

I will never ever ever watch a Mariner’s TV game again. This time I mean it.

If not zombies, they might just be cursed. This is the west coast, and we do wimpy curses. Nothing like the Bambino or even a Cub’s curse. Although the Mariner's have never made it to the World Series, one of only 2 teams in history. 

In the Mariner’s case, the first curse begins with trades. Getting traded by the Mariner's is good for your career. The club excels at trading ok players who become fine players. I can think of Raul Ibanez who left and excelled at Kansas City and Philly. Adam Jones flourished at the Orioles. In the last couple years Doug Fister excelled at Tigers or Steve Delabar at Toronto. Even the manager Bob Melvin gets fired and goes on to become a fine manager elsewhere. I sometimes think that the only reason the Mariners have not traded Dustin Ackley or Justin Smoak is the fear that they will become stars the minute they go elsewhere.

The other side of the curse is that good players come here to die. Eric Bedard’s total implosion distills a whole history of players like Richie Sexson etal.  Adrian Beltre is a classic case. He came, died, and was resurrected at Texas. For good reason players steer clear of the Mariner’s. It’s not the park, it's the curse.
I will never watch the Mariner's cute spring commercials.

I stopped writing sad laments at the end of baseball season two years ago. It just became too hard to miss baseball season when the last two months of each year ended up an exercise in masochism. This is getting silly, even stupid. Five years into the third rebuilding phase, I have to wonder if the real issue is not zombies or curses, but Seattle has become the baseball twilight zone. A world that exists in haunted shadows of lost dreams and hopeless projections.

So Eric Wedge joins the 7 managers in the last 11 years. He let everyone know that he would not stay even if the team offered him a five-year contract. How is that for a vote of confidence! Wedge wanted more -2 WAR a veteran on longer term contracts to support his under achieving and slow developing younger players. Instead Jack Zduriencik got him -2 WAR veterans with one-year contracts. 

Sadly Wedge could also not get a multi-year contract from a GM who could only get a one-year extension. So Wedge quits and Zduriencik stays for one year; many of us fear Jack Z will trade still developing talent for over the hill guys to try and save his job with an above 500 season. Think of that, going above 500 after 6 years can save his job!!! 

I still remember when Jim Hargrove drove off in the middle of a season in his red truck and left baseball. Seattle turned him into a zombie, I think.   I'll bet Hargrove never watched another Mariner's game.

 Actually I don’t believe the Mariners are zombies. Felix Hernandez or Ichiro could never pass for Zombies. Of course no one would ever mistake Jay Buehner or Randy Johnson as zombies. It is now clear, however, that Alex Hernandez did not have a soul and hence qualifies as a zombie. He simply masqueraded as a human when he was here.

No I think the deeper problem is that the Mariner’s general management stink. They cannot stay with a plan. They misjudge talent. They have no conception of roster construction—I mean five first base/DH guys three of whom end up playing in the outfield!!! If we were European soccer clubs we could vote out the management, but we can't.

This is my fate. If I were Marcus Aurelius and a stoic I would hug myself with strong stoic words of endurance and virtue and maybe even wonder about an after life. I am not. I am not stupid, really, but I am a Mariner’s fan.

Sometimes I wish I were not a Mariner's fan. I wonder if free will permits a person to renounce their fan hood? I must ponder this.

I will  never watch another Mariner’s game; at least until next spring training.

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