It’s come to my attention, via the Internet, that a faction of the Mariners fan base took umbrage with what Alex wrote the other night in the wake of the Josh Hamilton news. I feel compelled to defend him. I don’t know why. Trust me, Alex does not need my defense. I’m pretty little, after all — what could I do if there was an attack? But hey, a lot of unnecessary things are written on the Internet. So, here I go! De-fense!
I don’t agree with everything Alex writes on this web site. He can be pretty brash. I am a little more reserved and pragmatic. Alex swears in his articles on occasion, while I’m not the online-cursing type. In fact, I often censor Alex by substituting words like “poop” when I share his jokes with my Twitter followers. But when he asked me to write for the blog, I was excited. I had secretly hoped he would. I thought it was a nice match because, despite our different approaches, we have an identical, deeply-rooted love for Seattle and its sports teams.
I’m not sure the critics of his last Mariners post understood what he was doing. Do you guys read much? How is that going for you? Let me explain.
You see, Alex encapsulated a feeling. Nothing more. Nothing less. That’s pretty much all he does here at Seattle Sportsnet. He never claims to be right. He only claims to feel. And feelings, as many of us learned in kindergarten, aren’t right or wrong. A feeling just is.
In a nutshell, Alex said, “It sucks how the Mariners make me feel.” Regardless of the Mariners’ effort or intent, or the prudence of their process. The net effect of the Mariners on their fans is that of continual disappointment and frustration, and sometimes anger.
If you read that item about the Mariners and didn’t understand that, you’re not as bright as you think you are. Alex knows exactly what he’s doing. He writes feelings, and he captures moments. And he’s pretty darned good at it.
The new age sports fan is a more educated one. We are armchair general managers. We like to rationalize and think pragmatically about our teams. There is so much information out there, we can see, or think we can see, what’s happening. I am undeniably that guy. I have spreadsheets, dag nabbit. But, hopefully, in all of our pretend planning, fantasizing, and saber-ing, most of us realize we are not actually working for the Mariners.
In the few years I’ve been reading his work, Alex has never fancied himself a reporter, an analyst, or some talking head who bestows his sports wisdom on the masses. His niche is the essence being a fan. A raw, yearning, unbridled fan. That’s his format, at least as I see it.
To not understand Alex is to not understand a fundamental part of being a passionate sports fan — that you love your team so much, so irrationally, that logic flies straight out the window.
It’s why you “love” a professional athlete you may never meet. It’s why you turn your hat inside-out in the ninth inning, when you know in your heart that six runs is too many, against this closer, on this night. It’s why you get a little teary-eyed when some dudes, in some other city you don’t care much about, hoist that World Series trophy every October.
And it’s why, in the face of logic, you feel betrayed by your team when a great baseball player, who you know, deep down, probably never wanted to play ball in your town, doesn’t sign that bazillion dollar piece of paper.
Look, I don’t know that Chuck Armstrong and Howard Lincoln are stupid whoosie-whats who don’t care about us. I’ve never met them. And neither has Alex. But that’s not what is at issue here. What’s at issue here is that, whether they care or not, the Mariners have been really bad at making their most loyal fans feel happy, or cared about, for quite some time now. That’s the truth, no matter how you choose to express it.
And I’m certain that’s what Alex was saying, proudly doused in so many pop metaphors. The Mariners make him feel like (poop).
Am I a homer for Alex? I guess. I think he’s pretty neat. I know good writing when I see it. Bad writing makes me chafe, and it’s all around us.
Am I defending Alex a little bit because I haven’t written for SSN in several months, feel bad about it, and want him to like me? Maybe. We can’t say for sure.
One thing we do know: Alex loves the Mariners, and you’ll probably stop loving them long before he ever does.
All right, I need a shower. I laid it on a pretty thick.
Filed under: Mariners
Tags: Josh Hamilton
First of all, let me be clear: this isn’t JUST about Josh Hamilton. Sure, the Mariners were rumored to be in the hunt for the services of the 31-year-old outfielder. And yes, they failed miserably in their quest to land him. But come on. Let’s be real here. Did anyone really, truly believe the Mariners had the wherewithal to sign a free agent of Hamilton’s ilk? The most coveted free agent of the 2012-2013 class? No. We didn’t believe it. We might have hoped. We might have prayed. But we didn’t believe. Because we can’t believe. Believing requires faith. And the Seattle Mariners have destroyed ALL our faith in recent years. They are Lindsay Lohan behind the wheel and we, their fans, are reluctant passengers. This will not end well. We know it won’t end well. But we hope and pray that it WILL end well. Ultimately, our hopes and our prayers go unanswered.
The Mariners are murderers of happiness. You wake up one morning full of blissful ignorance, stupidly giddy over nothing at all, and then the team you love with all your foolish, little heart comes and craps on your day with remarkable aplomb. Why do they do that? Why do we let them? These are questions no one has answers to.
This has been going on for years. Decades, even. The M’s have let us down, let us down, and let us down again. We are the wives who watch our husbands come home from work each day, toss their briefcases aside, crack a beer, and sit on the couch in silence, doing nothing at all. They don’t pay attention to us. They don’t acknowledge our existence. They don’t take us nice places. They don’t buy us nice things. There’s no reason for us to be together. We should get a divorce. We should! These are irreconcilable differences. There’s no spark. There’s no zest. There is seemingly nothing. There is just this thing holding us together. This thing you can’t describe, really. It’s not love so much as it’s the hope that love exists. We hope there’s something there. And even as we are disappointed time and time again, we continue to wait for our hopes to be rewarded. We are buffoons.
It’s not the failure itself that bothers us. It’s the way they fail. They fail for lack of trying. It’d be one thing if the Mariners front office was falling short in amazingly spectacular fashion. Throwing millions and millions of dollars at wise investments only to watch each and every one of those investments crash and burn like the Hindenburg. But no. They refuse to put forth much effort at all. They carefully calculate their decisions before f**king them all up. They are beggars who choose. They constantly seem to be in search of the prototypical player. They are the people who shop at Wal-Mart looking for bargains, then bitch and moan when their 99-cent headphones don’t provide Bose quality. They are the fat, ugly bastard living in denial who refuses to date any woman short of Cindy Crawford. It is ridiculous to believe that they can get what they want when what they want apparently does not exist.
They are the girl who has been burned by two or three jerks who, as a result, gives up on men altogether. They threw money at Richie Sexson, Adrian Beltre, Chone Figgins. It didn’t pay off. Their recent free agent signees turned out to be busts. So now, they won’t even go after the big names that command big money contracts. They’ll spend a couple pennies on scrap heap material. They’ll take their chances on a decrepit Jason Bay, like it’s 2005 or something. But they won’t pay the cornerstones they need to build a franchise around. They refuse to do that. They’ll date low-risk, safe guys only. No taking chances here. Not Seattle. Safety first in Seattle.
And to top it all off — to top it ALL off, as if this hasn’t been enough — they treat us like shit. Like we’re naive dumbasses that don’t know jack about baseball. Naturally, that behavior is epitomized by our team president, Chuck Armstrong, and team CEO, Howard Lincoln. Every time I see Howard or Chuck on my TV, I notice those annoying little half-smirks on their faces, as if we couldn’t POSSIBLY do their jobs as well as they think they can. Every time I hear their voices on my radio, every time I see their quotes in print, I imagine those half-smirks. Every time I so much as THINK about those two bumbling idiots, I envision those half-smirks. And at the end of the day, all those half-smirks add up. Those dickheads treat us like children. Like we wouldn’t know shit if it landed in our toilet. They patronize us. It’s disgusting. Flat-out disgusting. There is ZERO respect for the Seattle Mariners fan base from the men who run the team. They could not care less about us. And that pains me to the utmost degree. Because we want to love the Mariners so, so, SO badly. But they don’t care. They don’t care about loving us in return. Assholes. They’re assholes.
When I look back on the twilight of the Howard Lincoln-Chuck Armstrong Seattle Mariner regime, I’ll remember all the shit they put us through. Bad trades, half-assed attempts at landing free agents, zero effort to improve the product on the field. And of course, their wholehearted desire to stop an arena from being built in their own backyard. It’s the only thing they’ve passionately devoted themselves to. If they cared half as much about their ballclub as they do striking down an effort to improve the lives of Seattle sports fans in this region, we’d already have a few World Series banners hanging in the Safeco Field rafters. But alas, they don’t give a damn about us. They suck. They just suck.
Here’s a suggestion to Chris Hansen and all those individuals working diligently to get a multi-purpose sports arena built in the SoDo neighborhood: disguise your arena as a big-ticket free agent or a loyal M’s fan. If you do that, the Mariners are sure to turn a blind eye.
Filed under: Mariners