Had you asked me around a week ago about my favorite story of the spring, I would've thought for a little while before spitting out something pretty predictable. The emergence of Michael Pineda, perhaps, or the rise of Tom Wilhelmsen. Maybe the improved play of Milton Bradley or the health and success of Erik Bedard. There were a number of story lines to choose from, all of them exciting for any Mariners fan to imagine.
But a lot can happen in a week. A lot can happen in just a few days. And I think watching the way the whole Carlos Silva saga played out in Chicago has given me a new #1.
For those of you who haven't paid attention, Silva came to camp insisting that he had a rotation slot locked up, even though he didn't. He promptly showed up out of shape, put up some of the worst numbers in baseball and lost out on the #5 gig. When the Cubs asked him if he'd accept a temporary trip to the minor leagues, Silva refused and ripped the organization for allegedly misleading him, so the organization called him delusional and released him outright. Most of this happened over the weekend.
The word that comes to mind is 'delicious'. After everything we went through when Silva was a Mariner, and after seeing him pitch so well in last year's first half and hearing about it so often, his subsequent crash and burn has been a riot. When I mentioned Silva's release to Matthew the other day we spent the next five minutes talking in that way where neither of us was laughing, but any listener could tell that we'd been laughing just before. It was such a fitting turn of events. Such a Silva turn of events.
When I first realized how much I was enjoying this story, I caught myself. I reminded myself that Silva had nothing to do with the Mariners anymore. This wasn't even like laughing at Kendrys Morales' crippling home run celebration last year, since that directly hurt the Angels. Silva and the Cubs aren't rivals. They're nothing, and I wondered if I was just being petty.
What I've come to realize, though, is that while I am being petty, pettiness is nothing to ignore or deny. All any of us want out of life is to spend as much of it as we can being happy, and sure enough, pettiness is one route for which we all have directions. We all delight at a nasty ex's misfortune. We all laugh when the lane weaver gets caught in traffic. And I think we all, to a person, found the Silva story to be just the funniest God damn thing we'd heard all month.
The capacity for pettiness is innate. If it weren't, we wouldn't all feel the way we do. And I think we've evolved this way because pettiness is one means by which we can spend a few extra seconds of each day with smiles on our faces. It doesn't matter if it makes you feel a little bit dirty or a little bit guilty. Those feelings don't overwhelm the joy.
The ability to find occasional delight in being bitter is programmed into our genes, and any Mariners fan that climbs aboard his horse and accuses the rest of us of being immature is missing out on an opportunity to have fun in the mud. Life only gives us so many chances to be happy. Baseball only gives us so many chances to be happy. Those chances need to be seized, however they can be seized.
Don't deny it. Don't push it away. Embrace it. Embrace your pettiness. So what if the Carlos Silva chapter in Seattle has long since closed? Carlos Silva is a big ol bitch who pitched and talked himself out of a job, and all those fans in Chicago get to deal with the mess that he made. That shit's hilarious.