Miguel Cairo sucks. There's no other way around it. He can't hit for average, he can't hit for power, he can't draw a walk, he can't play any important defensive positions, and he can't even run all that well for someone with pretty much zero other responsibilities. He's worse than a replacement-level player, and his presence on any Major League roster is a serious indication that something isn't quite right in the head of whoever went ahead and made that decision. Any contending team in need of every last drop of productivity from each spot on the roster is doing itself more harm than good by keeping Miguel Cairo around on the bench.
With that said, there are two types of teams for which a guy like Miguel Cairo can rack up the playing time and still manage to curry favor amongst its supporters:
(1) World Champions. This one only really works in hindsight, but nobody falls in love with worthless piles of crap quite like fans of teams that won it all. Guys like Aaron Miles, Scott Podsednik, Geoff Blum, Doug Mientkiewicz, Benji Gil, Tony Womack, and countless others will probably never have to buy a drink in their respective cities ever again, simply because they were part of a team that earned a new banner. When pressed on the issue, the fans willl point to one big hit or play the guy made as both justification and proof of how "it never would've happened without him." These players tend to be either heart-and-souls or unsung heroes, depending on who you ask.
(2) Cellar dwellers. Bad teams inspire lower standards, and lower standards make it easier for a guy like Cairo to occasionally steal the spotlight. Cairo isn't going to blast any walk-off homers or make any phenomenal plays in the middle infield, but if simpler, more achievable things are enough to get you going, then Cairo's more than capable of exceeding your expectations. There's also the matter of bad teams being populated by so many crummy starters that any decent play by a backup is considered a welcome relief. People become so disenchanted with the everyday players that they begin to look to the reserves for satisfaction. Guys like Cairo couldn't dream of a better environment. Suddenly even the most routine accomplishment is greeted with a remark somewhere along the lines of "(Starting player) couldn't even do that and we're paying him how much again?" Cellar dwellers allow utility players' stars to shine brightest at the expense of the guys who were expected to produce.
It is under the latter circumstance that we are where we are. I think every single one of us understands that Miguel Cairo blows, but yet he's managed to win us over because he provides easy material, because he's not Richie Sexson, and because he does things like lay down squeeze bunts and make unfathomably awesome throws from first base to get lead runners whose easy advance we'd already conceded. While the Mariners are terrible, they've had a few exciting moments every now and then, and Cairo's been in the middle of quite a few of them. So he sucks. Who cares? We're not about to go to the playoffs, and his squeeze bunt and weirdly awesome defense at first have been all kinds of fun to watch. Hell, we may not have won the game today without him. He's a fun little alternative to some of our other sorry old bags, and because nobody ever expects him to do anything good, every little success of his is a cause for celebration.
I don't want Miguel Cairo close to the next decent Mariner team any more than you do. But for as long as we suck, and for as long as he's around, I'm not going to complain very much, because he's neat. There, I said it. On a stanky team, Miguel Cairo is neat. He allows us to poke fun at ourselves while still generating enough excitement to keep the target off his back, and in a season like this, for what more could you ask?
Good on you, Miguel. You and your hilarious lack of talent have helped us make the best of a bad situation. Never leave.*
* until we're decent, at which point please go away
Biggest Contribution: JJ Putz, +56.8%
Biggest Suckfest: Yuniesky Betancourt, -49.5%
Most Important AB: Vidro groundout, -14.5%
Most Important Pitch: Overbay DP, +49.9%
Total Contribution by Pitcher(s): +148.8%
Total Contribution by Position Players: -98.8%
Total Contribution by Opposition: 0.0%
(What is this chart?)
"We are a better fielding club than this. We thought coming out of spring training we would be one of better fielding clubs in the American League, and it's actually worked out just the opposite. We're one of the worst."