New Answers To Old Questions

and he's staying a Rainier

If I'm going to be completely honest - and really, I have no reason not to be - I absolutely get why the only thing about the Mariners national journalists find worth talking about is the idea of trading Felix Hernandez. National journalists are hunting for stories of widespread interest, and the country just doesn't care about the Mariners, or whether Justin Smoak is fixable and still a part of the long-term core. For the rest of the country, the Mariners might as well be invisible, or might as well not exist. Now that Ichiro's bad, the only thing people know and care about is Felix, and they want him. He's trapped on a bad team. Has been for years.

It's annoying to us, and it's probably annoying to the front office, because journalists are always asking the same questions about Felix. But it's on the Mariners to give those journalists a reason to ask about something else, because Felix is the Mariners' only big story, and conditions are always changing, if only a little bit. If people didn't keep asking about Felix, they wouldn't be asking anything at all.

Now then, the latest media member to hop on the Felix/Zduriencik carousel is Jon Heyman. Maybe somebody else also asked Zduriencik about Felix a little later, but Heyman is one of few media members I follow because he covers a lot and I can't stand following baseball media members. Here's how the article begins:

Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik doesn't allow me to finish the question.

"He ain't going anywhere,'' Zduriencik says of superstar pitcher Felix Hernandez.

You can kind of sense that Zduriencik might be annoyed, although maybe he was rushed because he was holding a really really hot cup of coffee and he needed to find one of those cardboard sleeves before his hand blistered up. That's not the section of the article this post is about. What I really liked was the very end:

"I'm just not in the mood to trade Felix Hernandez.''

That is a new way to put that. It's a denial that doesn't say anything different from all the other denials, but I like the way it sounds. "I'm just not in the mood to trade Felix Hernandez." "That doesn't seem like a thing I would want to do." "No, I just don't feel like it." I can't remember the last time I read about an executive being in the mood for something, and if nothing else all of these constant questions force Jack Zduriencik to be creative in the way he responds. If one response won't keep the reporters off your back, try a different one. If that one doesn't work, try a different one. And on and on, until Zduriencik is eventually speaking in Portuguese. "Eu não estou trocando Felix,"Zduriencik might say. "What?" the reporter might respond. "I'm not trading Felix," Zduriencik might reply. And then we're back to square one.

The problem with this particular denial is that saying you're not in the mood for something suggests you might soon change your mind. Moods are often fleeting, changing like cloud cover. But Zduriencik didn't issue this denial by itself - if you read the article, he rejected the idea of trading Felix at least like four or five times. And that's just what got published.

The story remains the same as it's always been, and as improbable as it might be that Felix still loves Seattle and the Mariners, that's what he claims over and over, and we don't have any good reason to believe he feels otherwise. Felix still claims to love the Mariners and the Mariners still claim to love Felix, and so while it's a question worth asking from time to time, the answer's the same as ever. But worded differently. But the same.

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