The premise was as simple as it's hackneyed: in anticipation of a mega-baseball series, writers from each city would trash the other team. At least that's what I proposed to Mike Seely, managing editor for our brother paper to the north, Seattle Weekly, because your Anaheim Angels and his Seattle Mariners start a three-game series tonight in the Emerald City.
But Seely couldn't do it: see, he *hearts* the Angels. And my journalistic knives weren't exactly sharp for slicing, either, as Mariners outfielder Ichiro Suzuki is the best hitter since Wee Willie Keeler. The following debate, then, will either earn Seely and I the enmity of our respective baseball tribes or serve as a guidebook in diplomacy for the Israel-Palestine conflict.
The lovefest after the jump:
Me: I want to hate the Mariners, I really do. But it's hard. For starters, you have one of the Angels' old starters, Jarrod Washburn. Did a lot of good stuff for us during the 2002 World Series run, and he remains a hell of a competitor despite his losing record--the guy shoots deer in the Wisconsin woods during the off-season, for chrissakes. How can you hate a guy for THAT?
Seely: This is basically how I feel about the Angels. For starters, there's just too much to like about Vlad Guerrerro. The wiry frame, the free-swinging, the lack of batting gloves, the poofy hair, the pine tar helmet, the 70's Fu Manchu -- why didn't this dude play on the all-black Pirates roster back in the 70's alongside Sarge and Mad Dog? Are there two more likeable players in the game than Vladi Dadi and Ichiro?
Me: Ichiro is a Pokémon come to life: small, unassuming, but will screw you up but good when you least expect it--and even when you do. When the Mariners come down here to Orange County, even the die-hard Angels fans cheer him. It's impossible to hate him.
Jeff Weaver, on the other hand, is different. We signed him to a multimillion-dollar deal last year, and he summarily tanked--until the Angels traded him to the Cardinals. There, he helped the Redbirds win the Series. I know he has a losing record with ustedes this year, but Weaver's won four straight. Can't fault a guy for such a great turnaround--plus, he's the old bro of our youngster, Jered.
Seely: Speaking of impossible to hate, how about Mr. Angel, Garret Anderson? 10 RBI's the other night? Almost as amazing as Texas' 30-run trouncing of the most pathetic franchise on the planet, the Baltimore Orioles. When you look at his career stat line, it's evident that the uber-consistent G-Man is destined to be one of those guys who finishes his career with 2,500 or so hits, thus coming up just shy of Hall of Fame consideration -- the Jim Kaat of African-American outfielders.
Me: And speaking of nobodies, that's how you guys have won this year. I just looked at the Mariners roster, and the only guys I recognize are Ichiro, the former Angels, Felix Hernandez (only 'cause I read a huge profile on him in the NY Times) and Richie Sexon. Though I gotta admit, there's no way I can hate on a squad with a Putz on it.
Seely: Wait a second: you're not familiar with Adrian Beltre, Kenji Johjima, or Yuniesky Betancourt? The Mariners are truly the Benetton of Major League Baseball. And, uh, what about Jose Guillen? He played for your Angels, self-destructed for your Angels, got run out of town by your Angels - and is now starring for us while becoming the unofficial team press spokesman. What sayeth ye about he?
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SHOW ME HOW
Me: You're right--Beltre! But he was a Dodger, so he doesn't exist in my world. As for Guillen--the guy belts balls as well as he does managers. Be forewarned. I hope he doesn't turn into the next George Argyros--sorry about that fat fuck treating you guys during the 1980s the way he treats his apartment dwellers now.
Seely: Please bring us into the present on George Argyros' SoCal business dealings (and Ken Behring's while you're at it). It's been too long since Mariner nation heard a peep from that guy(s).
Me: Argyros! Man, where to begin...let's see, he sold off the Mariners in 1989, right before the Mariners became good. He gave millions away to the Republican Party in Orange County and had to pay millions more to evade prison time for bilking Latino and Vietnamese dwellers in his apartments. Nevertheless, Dubya appointed him to become ambassador to Spain in 2001. There, Argyros pissed off nearly every Spaniard--read this story for more info. That fucker had me kicked out of our shared alma mater, Chapman University in Orange, for that article.
As for Behring: promised Orange County a lot but did nothing. Kind of like Jeff Weaver.