Ian Snell has been called “suicidal,” a “headcase,” an “asshole,” “the Devil,” a “baby eater,” the “mastermind behind both September 11 and Pearl Harbor.” All these things are true.
He threatened to kill a Colorado Rockies player for allegedly stealing signs. He was not remorseful. He had this to say: "Hopefully I won't pitch in Colorado because I know who it was and I will kill that dude. If I pitch against them, I will get fined big time." Yes, killing other players results in a hefty fine from Bud Selig, this we know for sure.
After Snell allowed three home runs in a 9-1 loss to the Reds, Snell called out pitching coach Jim Colborn. “I don’t like people talking to me during games. I’m really upset about it. I know it’s his job to come out and try to calm me down. But it gets on my nerves. It’s really bothering me. I go into the dugout after an inning and people are asking me, ‘What was that pitch? What was that pitch?’ I have a lot of stuff in my brain now. I have to get rid of it.”
Snell has lashed out at his teammates, following a loss, screaming: “I fucking hate this! And you can put that in the paper! I fucking hate losing. I hate when the team doesn't bring out its full potential. And if they fine me, fine me. I don't care. Because this is getting stupid."
To the fans in Pittsburgh who paid money to watch him pitch he offered: “I would never be caught living in Pittsburgh. It’s not my type of city.”
After bloggers offered their criticisms and advice on how to improve, Snell said: “You guys don’t understand it unless you played baseball. You don’t understand it, and the people at home don’t understand it.”
When a Pirate newspaper reporter asked him what he meant, asking, "Well, since we never played baseball, maybe you can explain it to us, pal?" Snell responded: "You know? I'm not your pal."
Snell's past is largely unknown. We do know, however, that he was at some time a low-level drug dealer in his native Turkey. Rival smugglers working for the Hungarian mob invaded his house while he was away, raped his wife and held his children hostage. When Snell arrived, the Hungarian mobsters killed one of the children to show their resolve, then threatened to kill Snell's wife and remaining children if he did not surrender his business to them. Rather than give in to their demands, and to prevent his family from having to live with the memory of what happened, Snell murdered his loved ones and all but one of the Hungarians, whom he spared, knowing that the survivor would tell his associates what transpired.
Snell then went after the Hungarian mob, killing dozens of people, including the mobsters' families, friends and hairstylists, as well as destroying their homes and businesses. He then went underground, never again doing business in person and remaining invisible even to his henchmen, who almost never knew for whom they were working.
Snell demoted himself from his major league team, purposefully pitched like Garret Olson for a half-season, and from 1978 to 1995 sent 16 bombs to targets including universities and airlines, killing three people and injuring 23. In late nineteenth century England, Snell brutally murdered dozens of prostitutes.
I write not to condemn Snell’s misdeeds, for that would put me, my family, and my work acquaintances in danger. I write, instead, to encourage the Lookout Landing community, and the world at-large, to love Snell. Love him for his evilness.
Seriously. We have loved Willy Ballgame for his grittiness; Mike Sweeney for his holiness; Franklin Gutierrez for his sexiness; Ichiro for his enigmaticness; hyphen for his Australianness; Beltre for his unsung awesomeness – why not Snell for his evilness?
Snell is the classic evil villain protagonist. Like Don Vito Corleone, Sweeney Todd, Count Chocula, Paulie Walnuts, Ty Cobb, and Tony Montana. Let us love him for his pure crazy homicidal treachery.
When he beans Chone Figgens for smiling to the fans, let us cheer. When he curses out Shannon Drayer for politely asking, “nice game, do you have any comments?” let us applaud. When he punches Rob Johnson for patting him on the back on a trip to the mound, let us exclaim on game threads, “Dr. Evil!!!!” When he breaks a bat across his knee and hurls the sharp splintered pieces at Wak just to see if the steely-veneered manager bleeds, let us chuckle fondly. When he takes himself out of a game early so that he can patrol around the 300 level and collect small children to put in a stew, let us retire his jersey.
Ian Snell is an evil evil evil man. But he is our evil evil evil man. And when he is one day surrounded in his lavish mansion by hundreds of machine-gun wielding drug henchmen, let us pray that he kills most of them with flair before he falls, bullet-ridden, off of his balcony into the pool.