Here we are again, folks. It seems like only a year ago that we went out and spent a shit ton of money on material plastic crap for our loved ones, and now we have to do it all over again.
Something smells fishy about the whole thing, and I'm bound and determined to get to the bottom of it. An orchestrated 365-day cycle? Hm. Reciprocal value produced through labor and exchanged within a vaguely determined and at best misunderstood social code? Hmmmmm...A promise that some fat old white man will materially compensate you for your investment in the system as long as you extend your time and care outward to others? Holy shit, you guys. It's a pyramid scheme!
Now that I've come to this realization, however, I have some great news. See, about a year ago we all came together and purchased holiday gifts for the 2014 Seattle Mariners simply out of the goodness of our hearts. We wanted to send a signal to the ballplayers we all spend a good chunk of our lives with--let them know they are appreciated, and that we want them to succeed to the best of their abilities, and then some. The lamestream media is going to tell you that what happened next was a perfect storm of adding the right free agents, an overperforming pitching staff, and positive regression within a young system bound to eventually find some upside. But they are wrong. I think the Mariners did what they did because they finally felt appreciated, given material goods in return for their hard labor to show them that hey, we really do care. And we did it!
So pyramid scheme or not, if we want one of the most exciting eras of Seattle Mariners baseball to continue we're going to have to just pull our pants up and spend a little cash on these guys again. Nobody said it was going to be easy. But look--we're sports fans. If anybody knows about willingly abetting a pyramid scheme reliant on tax dollars and consumers' beer-fueled complicity, it's us.
So onward and upward we go. Christmas gifts for your 2015 Seattle Mariners:
Mike Zunino - Gameops.com Giant Baseball Bat - $187.75
I went to the mall the other day, looking for Christmas gifts for my parents. Possibly because I hate myself and want to die, I ended up in a Bed, Bath, and Beyond staring at a ceiling-high shrine to late capitalism and the fetishization of plastic crap spread out before me as far as my eye could see. Feeling overwhelmed by it all, my emotions got the better of me and I began audibly laughing at the sight of a novelty oversized TV remote control with buttons as big as my fists.
As I am no stranger to bad luck, the whole exchange was overheard by an employee restocking shelves nearby who quickly rebutted "You laugh, but my dad actually uses this all the time. He has trouble seeing the little buttons, and this really helped him out." It didn't change my opinion on the absurdity of the situation, but now that I think about it, he may have had a point.
Logan Morrison - How to Win Friends & Influence People (Paperback) - $9.60
Poor Logan Morrison. After losing his primary means of social interaction when he was booted off Twitter last season, he spent a couple of weeks around unfamiliar faces in Tacoma only to return to the big club so starved for human interaction that he began to hijack Fernando Rodney's arrow celebration as a cry for help. Now all he wants for Christmas is a text from his "friend," James Paxton. Wow. This is bad. Self help books are problematic for the most part, but my god, desperate times call for desperate measures. We're here for you, Logdog.
Fuck it, I don't know. The man has a quarter of a billion dollars, and I'm sure he has a nice TV.
Ahhhhhhh this would be SO MEAN! "Giving" an athlete their own jersey that the team supplies them for free already? What kind of signal would this send? This basically says "souvenir."
But seriously, think about it for a second. When Brad Miller was trying to earn a job in 2013, he hit .265/.318/.418 with 8HR, good for a wRC+ of 105. When Brad Miller was trying to earn a job during 2014 spring training, he was one of the best hitters in the entire Cactus League. When Brad Miller was trying to save his job from Chris Taylor late in 2014, he had a wRC+ of 139 (!) in 92 games. In fact, the only time Brad Miller hasn't been even passable has been when his job was safe. This jersey sends a message, albeit a hollow one, and ensures that we get good Brad for the majority of 2015.
Kyle Seager may have just signed a 7-year, $100 million dollar extension with the M's a few weeks ago, but by all accounts, he's more concerned with his new role as a father at the moment, as he should be. Word is that he ignored Lloyd's congratulatory call upon signing the deal because he was elbow deep in diapers, and he also apparently got wind of his All-Star selection while he was shopping at Babies R Us, which could make him the first man in history to feel like he was exactly where he wanted to be while surrounded by aisles of baby powder and bright halogen lights. So in the spirit of a new season in our Boss' life, I present the only obvious choice.
Willie is like your sister's on-and-off again boyfriend Tyler, or the guy that mows the lawn for your house-ridden grandmother. He is by all accounts a very wonderful person, but he's always just kind of sitting in the background with a goofy smile, blending in with the furniture. You have to get him something, because he's going to be at the party--but you don't want to spend too much money, and you haven't really given the whole thing much thought.
And the best part is that he's nice enough to feign appreciation when you give him the same damn thing you gave him last year.
You don't want to play the beard thing up too much, because that "joke" needs to die a quick and painful death. But at the same time, Ack's facial hair has kind of turned into his calling card, for better or worse. So what we have here is a perfect gift, solving a number of problems:
1. Beard oil will make his hands slippery, and he could start hitting like 2013 again. Ixnay on that.
2. This could go a long way to solving our long standing problem with Ack-- Look at the man on the cover of this book. He has a silly red beard all the way down to his belly button, and he's holding a SINGLE BLADE RAZOR like it would do anything against that forest of chin hair! Haha! What a silly visual pun! Is he smiling yet? No? Nothing? Corners of the mouth? For fuck's sake, Dustin, at least act like you're a human being.
Austin Jackson - Vicks NyQuil cold and Flu Relief LiquiCaps, 72 Count (5) - $117.35
Nobody knows why Austin Jackson fell off a cliff after getting traded to the Mariners last summer, but consensus seems to be that he's going to be fine, only needing to rest up and return to camp ready to go in 2015. Well, with five 72-count packs of NyQuil LiquiCaps, he will be out just like Chris Farley in that old Hibernol SNL sketch to wake up months later, healthy, rested, and ready to put up 3 wins and send the Mariners to the playoffs. Foolproof.
This is tough, because Chris Taylor has legitimate potential to be a decent baseball player, and you don't really want to send any sort of message with his gift. Will he find success on the Mariners or be traded before the first game of the season? Will he take over for shortstop in place of a Miller platooned in the outfield? Nobody really knows, but the good thing is that Nick Franklin's gameboy came with a cartidge of Ken Griffey Jr.'s Slugfest, and that's a fucking awesome baseball game.
Nelson Cruz, Justin Ruggiano, J.A. Happ- Made in Washington Northwest Bounty Gift Basket - $149.99
Anyone who has ever gotten a new job during the last months of the year knows exactly what this is. This is the Welcome to the Company! gift basket saved for you during the holiday party that corporate pulled out of the closet for new employees. It's a pickle, really. In one sense, you want to give Nelson "Boomstick" Cruz something nice and unique, because you already kind of know him. In another, J.A. Happ still reminds you of Michael Saunders and all you want to do is go back and deposit your tears into another hot toddy. But you can't single anyone out, and they all need to feel welcome. So, uh...here. If they don't want their smoked sockeye salmon fillet I'll gladly take it off their hands.
Felix Hernandez - Trump Island, WA - $8,750,000
I don't know what surprises me the most about this, the fact that you can buy an island on the internet, or that an island costs a third of what Felix Hernandez will make during his entire 2015 season. Either way, he's been spending the winter in Eastern Europe with his family and his private jet, so the only thing left is to get his own--literal--kingdom.
Hisashi Iwakuma - Backup human hand from the Deep Web - $385
Now here you have it, folks. A private island of your very own costs $8 million dollars, but you can buy a human hand for about the same amount of money as PS4. Well, as long as it's still in the box anyway. Ethics aside, just think how handy it would have been to have a spare hand laying around when he was on the DL after hurting his finger last spring. In fact, to hell with it--Kuma is getting older, and maybe...just maybe...we can keep him forever, replacing his failing organs one by one in some sort of Frankensteinian science project.
You know the drill, something something Canada, something something Dadgut, something something DAMMIT, I can't do this. Look, James. Just text your friend Logan. All he wants is a minute of your time--just a "Hey! What's up!" Maybe a "Hope things are well, buddy!" For chrissakes. And I thought Canadians were supposed to be nicer than the rest of us. Until then, you get a stupid T-SHIRT.
Last year we got Taijuan a GPS tracker to keep up on trade rumors, but the gift was mostly for ourselves. Well this year, all the Taijuan rumors are over his discipline and behavior, which is really silly because he's 22 years old and a famous athlete. Still, he recently tweeted that he would let people come over if they bought him some Spitz Dill Pickle Sunflower Seeds, and since I really want to find out what the hell is going on with this probably media-fabricated situation, I'm making this happen. Selfish? Maybe. Productive? Very.
Fernando Rodney - Nikon 8397 ACULON Laser Rangefinder - $149.99
Look, I'm not as down on Rodney as some people are. He racked up the most single-season saves in franchise history last year, and is very well liked in the clubhouse. But we all remember The Game. Every last one of us. And to be honest, there is nothing I would like more than to forget it.
By attaching this laserfinder to his right arm biotech style, we can give the guy a few months to get used to the weight, and then say goodbye to all those command problems. The rollercoaster will stop. The Experience will be over--experienced. The Mariners will win the World Series. All thanks to Nikon.
My first thought is that this could be a very dangerous idea. Nobody wants Yoervis Medina coming into a high-leverage situation drunk, let alone sober. But then I started thinking about it, and I realized that the Mariners may have one of the best starting pitching crews in all of baseball, and one of their relievers used to be a goddamn bartender. What's the worst that could happen? Charlie Furbush could tell Lloyd he's interested in geography or something, and they could just keep this laying around for when Felix is dealing into the ninth. I don't see a single downside to this plan whatsoever.
Jesus Montero - An.....an.......i......ii...ic.......no I can't do it. He deserves better. Gift card to the movies or something. Fuck it, I'm done.