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Erik Bedard Should Probably Be A Fan Favorite

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I know that a ton of people are frustrated with Erik Bedard, and just want to see him go away so that all parties can move on. And, believe me, I get it - his story has been an easy one to grow sick of. But then, on the other hand, consider this:

"I was offered twice as much money last year to sign somewhere else, and I got offered a guaranteed deal this year by another team," Bedard said from his Ottawa home. "I said, 'Ooh that’s interesting,' but I never pursued it. I told the Mariners before I went home last season, I wanted to come back.

"This may surprise some people, but I'm loyal. I want Seattle fans to see the guy they thought they'd traded for. There have been moments I've been myself, but they didn't last long."

It would be easy to spin this in a cynical direction, were one so inclined. Bedard could be lying through his teeth, returning to Seattle not because of loyalty and not because of the fans, but because Safeco's a good place for him to re-establish his value. And I'm sure there are people who are going to see it that way.

But I prefer the more direct surface interpretation that Bedard doesn't want to leave Seattle on a series of sour notes. There's a degree of selfishness in one's desire to repair his image, to be sure, but there's a degree of selfishness in even the most altruistic behavior, and I think Bedard truly feels he owes the city of Seattle more than he's been able to provide. It's an endearing sentiment. I don't think it makes Bedard a hero, but there are tons of guys who would've left for the guaranteed money, and Bedard chose to stay. That's unusual, and worthy of praise. Loyalty, in baseball's current state, is a rare thing.

Bedard doesn't stand a chance of becoming a true fan favorite until or unless he actually returns to the mound. But it's interesting to think that one of the team's least popular players in 2008 and 2009 - a guy who routinely had his commitment called into question - could spend the 2011 season as one of its absolute coolest.