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The Muppets Take Safeco

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Chris and I have seen the Muppets too many times. But are Chaos or Order Muppets running the show down at Safeco?

It's time to get things started (it really is)
It's time to get things started (it really is)

Yesterday, it was reported that erstwhile Mariner Fernando Rodney occasionally and "abruptly" breaks out a Kermit the Frog voice. Well, jeez. This takes "they always get better when they leave" to some sort of metaphysical next level. Why didn’t anybody tell us he could do that? Not that adding "Jim Henson cosplayer" to "part-time bigfoot" and "imaginary archer" would make Rodney any more endearing; by now, you liked him or you didn’t. However, this revelation--along with the groundbreaking work done on Chaos vs. Order Muppets over at Slate by Dahlia Lithwick--got Chris and I to wondering over on Twitter: which Mariners map to which Muppets?

Crazy Harry - Tony Zych

A classic Chaos Muppet, Zych and Harry share more than just a certain wild-eyed ferocity. Both are dedicated to their craft: Zych looks to throw a first-pitch strike with the same obsessive intensity with which Harry wonders, "did somebody say explosion?" Hopefully this year will bring us many instances of Tony causing as much pyrotechnic mayhem as his Muppet counterpart.

As for the rest of the bullpen, they’re clearly Order Muppets and Doozers: tiny, hard-working and generally interchangeable.  Oh, except maybe this guy:

Rowlf the Dog - Charlie Furbush

Like Rowlf, our Charles Roderick is a Chaos Muppet, a big ol’ mutt with luscious reddish-brown locks, an easygoing manner, and a sense of humor that’s dry as a bowl of kibble. And in case you haven’t seen this, like Rowlf, Charlie also has some serious musical chops. Speaking of which...

Electric Mayhem

Dr. Teeth - Robinson Cano

Janice - Nelson Cruz

Zoot - Franklin Gutierrez

Floyd Pepper - Ketel Marte

Animal - Felix Hernandez

Lips - Jesus Sucre

Okay, so ignore some stuff from that second picture. Like the fact that Endy Chavez is in it. Or Rodney, giving something that is ostensibly a peace sign but winds up looking vaguely obscene. Or whatever is going on with Ketel’s hair there (he gets it figured out, that’s what’s important). Instead, focus on the sweet kicks, the easy smiles, the general aura of tropical sunshine that seems to hover just overhead here. Much like Electric Mayhem was the coolest clique on the Muppets, this chaos-heavy crew accounts for 99.9% of the Mariners’ collective swag. Dr. Teeth and Cano share a similar affinity for bling and just generally being cooler than you; "Guti"sounds like "Zoot"; Ketel probably owns a jacket similar to the one Floyd Pepper is wearing; Janice and Nelson both wonder why everyone else can’t be as awesome as them but hold no grudges about it; and Lips/Jesus Sucre is just glad to be included (which he's not, technically, in that photo. But he's there in spirit, is Jesus). Oh, and as for Felix/Animal?

Rizzo the Rat - Chris Taylor

This feels mean, but it’s undeniable that there’s something... murine about Chris Taylor’s face. Look, there’s nothing wrong with being Rizzo. Rizzo is a role-player, often forgotten but always around. Also, he scats while another rat skates around on some hot pats of butter and that’s fun. And he eats pizza! Pizza’s cool, right? And he has a prominent role in what is undeniably the best Muppet film of all, the Muppet Christmas Carol, in which he gets all the good jokes, because he is also Funny and has a Good Personality. So chin up, pal. There are worse things in life than being a rat.

Gonzo - Fernando Rodney

Even though he is no longer with the team, Rodney inspired this whole darn post, so it seems remiss to not mention him. Despite being able to do a convincing Kermit the Frog voice that I must hear before I die, Kermit is an Order Muppet, and Rodney is clearly a Chaos Muppet. More to the point, Rodney is Gonzo: Muppets wiki describes Gonzo as "a character who performs terrible acts but considers them artistic," which is probably how Rodney lists his 2015 campaign on his CV. No one knows exactly what Gonzo is; he has been listed as a "whatever," "alien," and "weirdo." Add "sasquatch" to the mix and you have two brothers from another...wherever they came from.

Dominar Rygel XVI, Farscape: Chone Figgins

He was highly regarded in the land he came from. Or at least, that’s what we’d been told. Diminutive, constantly fighting to survive, yet completely willing to throw his companions under the bus the moment it looks like something might be his fault.

Oh hey, that all applied to Rygel too.

Bean Bunny - Boog Powell

Bean and Boog are both young and small with funny first names and funny middle names (Boog’s is Mack, Bean’s is Norman). Bean Bunny is often looked down upon, resented for his youth and cuteness and told he is too small to do things well. He was even left out of the Muppet Show reboot. But he’ll show ‘em all, one day, oh yes he will. To compensate for what others perceive as his shortcomings, Bean has a rich fantasy life and imagines himself as a dragon, a tree, a king, a spaceship commander, and even Rambo (Beanbo): "Now cute has learned to kill." Knock ‘em dead, Bean.

Lew Zealand: Jesus Montero

We might have been stuck for Jesus Montero, except for the quick-thinking of Sweezo:

Big Bird: Mike Zunino

Big Bird doesn’t have it all figured out, and he’s transparent about that. Big Bird is just trying to get a little better every day, okay? Big Bird knows how to ride a unicycle, but he doesn’t know all his letters yet, although he’s working on C and Z. Also, Big Bird taught us about death. Some people (mean people, Internet people) call Big Bird a turkey, but he is not. He is a lark, and he will someday fly.

The Very Special Guest Star: Almost Every Left Fielder Ever

Rattle off some of the guest stars on The Muppet Show. Ok, ok, that’s enough. Now pick one of them, any one. Now try to think of more than one sketch they were in. (Yes, "Luke Skywalker" on "Pigs in Space," followed by Mark Hamill gargling counts. I also thought of it. Think of something else.) Finally, think of guest stars on the Muppet Show who were there for more than one episode. Hard, yes? Some of them were fun to watch, some of them were "…who?", no one really stayed, and ultimately we watched week after week in spite of the guest stars, not because of them.

That’s pretty much the Mariner left fielder experience.

Dr. Bunson Honeydew: Jack Z.

From intrepid reader and all-around great guy Shane Hall:

And what is Honeydew without his Beaker?

Jim Henson - Dave Niehaus


Yeah, the new gang sounds okay, and some really good work has been done in the intervening years… but it will still never sound quite the same without him.

The current team seems to have a pretty good balance of Chaos Muppets and Order Muppets, which Lithwick claims is key to a successful relationship. Feel like there's anyone we missed who could throw off this balance? Leave a note in the comments! Manamana!