Long-time readers of the site know that I generally hate the "in a nutshell" exercise in summarization. Not only is it hackneyed and lazy; most of the time, it's misapplied, and not at all thought through. Take this year's Mariners. The Mariners were bad. They absolutely sucked. But that doesn't mean that any moment in any game that sucked made for a good recap of the season in a nutshell. You have to consider all angles. Identifying a proper nutshell requires one to condense, not omit.
So I try to stay away from that kind of thing as often as I can. But then, sometimes something just fits. Even when I'm not looking for it. They say the best way to find a girlfriend or a boyfriend is to not look for one. I wasn't looking for the Mariners' season in a nutshell. But I found it, while running a photo search for something completely unrelated. Fate? I wouldn't call it fate. It's happenstance. But it's glorious happenstance. You can't spell 'happenstance' without...well you can't spell it without 'happee', which basically works.
We have Felix Hernandez. We have Felix, representing all that went right. And Felix was pretty much all that went right. There were minor successes and minor continuations, but Felix stood out as the one guy clearly deserving of a more able supporting cast. Felix was the star. The ace. The hero. Felix was the one to wake us up in the morning, and Felix was the one to sprinkle sand on our eyes come the night. Felix wasn't the one to make it all worthwhile, because Jesus himself couldn't have made it all worthwhile, but Felix was the one who came closest. Felix was the one who nearly saved a lost season.
And we have Felix on the ground. Not because he fell. Not because he'd given up. We have Felix on the ground because he was trying to do as much as he could. We have Felix on the ground because he was trying to do it all himself, because he had to do it all himself, because no one would give him any help. Felix didn't sulk. Felix didn't retreat. Felix kept going, not because he was able to win games on his own, but because he so strongly believed that he could. We have Felix on the ground, trying to make a play, because Felix was about the only player on the team capable of getting anything done.
And we have Rob Johnson kicking him in the face. We have Rob Johnson, representing all that went wrong. The rest of the Mariners didn't mean to be so bad. No player would get to this level and deliberately sabotage his own career, and those of countless others. The rest of the Mariners were bad, and they knew they were bad, but they couldn't help it. They simply weren't good enough. They couldn't control their pitches well enough. They couldn't control their bats well enough. Sometimes, they couldn't control their feet.
All season long, the rest of the Mariners had the best of intentions. They wanted to help. They wanted to win. Everybody on this team wanted to make the playoffs, and once the playoffs became unrealistic, everybody on this team wanted to finish strong. It's just that, when they tried to get things done, they screwed up. Here, we have Rob Johnson on the ground. Not because he fell. Not because he'd given up. We have Rob Johnson on the ground because he was trying to do as much as he could to help his teammate turn something difficult into something successful. All he was able to do, though, was get in the way. He wasn't able to help. He wanted to help, and he tried to help, but he hurt. He hurt by getting involved.
Your 2010season in a nutshell: Rob Johnson kicking King Felix in the face.
Good work, you two.