Cliff Lee is Awesome
And not just a little awesome, but like "hey buddy, here's my autograph and fifty bucks" awesome. He loves pitching for you, Seattle. He beams. He smiles through his stride while other pitchers don the pitch face of pain and intimidation. Players as gifted as Lee are supposed to be jerks, or at least distant, impenetrable, troubled, dark. Lee loves you. He looks around Safeco and his face is like a big group hug. "Sorry this season has hurt, Mariners fans, but I'm here and we're going to get through this. What's that section 202? Why I have rare Duffy-negative blood and I'd gladly give so your grandmother may live. Just a second, I need to strike out Alfonso Soriano with a wicked curveball." Lee is friendly, loving, tolerant of your freak blood and happy just to pitch for you.
Seattle Has a Shot at History
The Mariners have a 0.1 percent chance of making the playoffs according to Cool Standings. Quitters see that number and begin stuttering and spitting about the future. Oh! Oh! The future! Well maybe I have a strange proclivity towards licking car batteries and do not have a future. What about that? What's your counterargument now, quitters? And what about the people with terminal..things. Are we to kill them for some, some abstract time that will never come and is probably a lie? I see. Not so easy now that you're killing little Jimmy, is it?
The Mariners have a 0.1 percent chance of making the playoffs and a 10,000-billion percent chance of chasing history. And the closer that number trends towards zero, the more awesome it would be to cash in. Any ol' team can make the playoffs through smart roster construction and a season long pennant chase. That's boring. Seattle needs to go all in on one crazy shot in the dark, damn the lifeboats, Rudyard Kipling! 300! And so forth.
Cliff Lee is Awesome, Part 2
So we knew this was a fling when we started and we just had to be mature and accept you were leaving in the fall -- at the latest -- and would meet new people and new fans to smile at, but I didn't think I would start feeling this way, Cliff. You're too awesome and I don't think I am going to find someone as cool and talented and composed and cool as you again. I mean, Felix is a great guy and he has filthy stuff, but the way you work so fast and get ahead, it's masterful. You are everything I ever wanted in a pitcher, Clifton, and I didn't know that in December and had I known then I wouldn't have agreed to let go so fast so soon and with nothing, nothing but a bad record and a broken heart to show for it.
This was supposed to be the season. We all wanted it to be the season. We all knew that if Seattle played to its potential and made the postseason, Cliff and Felix could destroy in the playoffs. This season, maybe not a 116-win season, could have been the season. The season the Seattle Mariners won the World Series. And we all knew if this wasn't the season, it wasn't going to be the season again for a very long time. The payroll is maxed. The farm system thin. Cliff is going away. The Ace-Ace playoff rotation that could have powered Seattle through October will be dismantled. And this season, the season, is over when Cliff leaves.
So why don't we hold on for a little while?
We can be Good, Cliff, I Swear!
I know when we first met I made a lot of promises about contention and now they seem like thin lies and far-fetched assumptions extended to their logical end, but it's not true! I didn't know Chone Figgins would go all Jeff Cirillo on us! Casey Kotchman, I'm not going to attempt to explain him, and boy has the bullpen crapped the bed, but there are good players on this team that will play their hearts out for you, and I just need you to see that. Felix adores you and you two have created a real bond. I want you to be the one that teaches him how to be great. I don't want it to be some Freddy Garcia or, my God, Carlos Silva. He's young and needs guidance and you're so wise, but not old wise, but like cool-uncle wise. And without you it's back to Rob Johnson and long-distance calls to Freddy and I shudder to think who else.
Sure. Sure. Sometimes you trade Mark Langston for Randy Johnson, but, like, that was years ago. As I told my history prof, things that happened years ago are stupid and I don't care. And as I remember it, the usual return for a blockbuster trade is one Miguel Olivo and two Jeremy Reeds. And Jeremy Reed sucks so hard the Large Hadron Collider smashed protons together and produced a micro black hole and had to cover it up and so put a uniform on it and called it Jeremy Reed. Shut up. It's true.
Fine, Forget It
You're just Jarrod Washburn with a better reputation, anyway. Burn in hell you handsome, happy, talented bastard.