Despite the squad snatching a victory from the jaws of meh last night, make no mistake about it: the season is over (again). Let’s return this current crop to the jerk store and move whatever mountains we have to in order to re-assemble this dream team of agreeable fellows who have donned the Northwest Green/trident/royal-and-gold at some point in time. Drag them out of retirement, fly them back from Korea, unshackle them from whatever desk they may sit at now. Just get them here, and then have them all stick around after every game for cornhole and beverages and fried finger foods. You know you want to listen to John Olerud spin you some yarns from deep within the confines of his helmet. We ain’t got playoffs, oh but Dr. Zaius, ain’t we got fun.
NOTE: You will note a certain lack of SUPERSTARS here. That is because the number-one goal of the AAMT is not to win games, but to assemble a collection of the most likeable players to ever find themselves in the unenviable position of being a Seattle Mariner. For example, even though we had the more likeable version of Alex Rodriguez, he still grew up to be, well, Alex Rodriguez. Fernando Rodney may be a lot of fun if you enjoy his particular brand of silliness (namaste, Fernando, the weirdo in me recognizes the weirdo in you), but he will not make this list as there are still people in recovery from having their senses of karmic balance unhinged by too many rides on the Fernando Rodney Express. If these gentlemen are superstars, they are the superstars of NICE.
First base: Oof. Starting off with a hard one. Clearly I have a strong bias towards LoMo, he of the trash-showers and PBR crushing. Other gentlemen who have manned first base for the Mariners: Justin Smoak, Corey Hart, sentient bag of potato chips Kendrys Morales. No, there’s only one choice for first base, and it is Mr. Mariner himself, Alvin Davis. Here’s a cute story from 2013 about Alvin Davis’s return to short-season Everett as a roving instructor in which he says he would have “washed laundry” in order to get back to the team. No need to wash it on the AAMT, Alvin; that’s what we have Russell Branyan for.
Second base: Obviously, Robinson Canó is fun to hang out with. I imagine being bathed in that megawatt smile for any amount of time restores the skin’s elasticity, replenishes electrolytes and detoxifies one’s internal organs. But let’s face it: ain’t none of us cool enough to hang with Robi Canó. I don’t even know how to get on a G6 (is it like a horse? Or a boat?). No, second base is staffed with everyone’s fun-sized favorite, the OG Crying Jordan, Joey Cora. He even has the all-important ability to laugh at himself, as this 1996 commercial showed:
“It hurts so much to lose.” Oh, Joey. You are truly one of us.
Third Base: With all apologies to one Sweet Prince, this position can only be fielded by one man. Come home, Beltré. (If you haven’t already seen it, this gif gallery of Great Moments in Adrián Beltré is great, although in need of some updating.)
Shortstop: This one is a close call with recently departed, asparagus-munching Brad Miller still near and dear to the hearts of many, but may I present: Brendan Ryan.
Oh, and a friend of this guy too:
Catcher: This one is easy. In addition to being one of the only Mariners to ever play the position with any sustained degree of success, Dan Wilson is, by all accounts, one of the nicest guys to ever don a Mariners uniform. He played the bulk of his career here and has continued to give back to the community ever since, and the Mariners and Seattle as a whole are better for it. Also, his commercials for the #NWHealthy campaign are some of my favorite TV spots right now. What a man, what a man, what a mighty good man.
Outfield: Sadly, the pickings are a little slim for the Mariners outfield spots, non-superstar division. Dave Henderson is the obvious choice for center field, and I assume some of you scientists out there can make this happen (when you’re done with that, I’ll need you to turn your attention to the announcer’s booth, as well). It might be a challenge to get Eric Thames out of Korea, where despite “sticking out like a sore thumb” he adopted the culture and language while becoming a bona fide superstar there, but maybe we can lure him back with promises of Edgar’s Cantina nachos. And, although I’ve resisted picking active players, there’s no way we can’t have Franklin Gutiérrez, human heart-eyes emoji, patrolling the outfield. Guti Forever.
Designated Hitter: Edgar. Clearly. He was a star, but more than that, he was a shining example of hard work and dedication and humility and kindness. He is still those things, and oh my stars I just remembered he’s our hitting coach
Bench: Munenori Kawasaki. Obviously. And he’s only on the bench so we can spend even more time with him. John Olerud can divide his time between being a bench player and a coach so he never has to take off his helmet, and we’ll even let him wear Cougar Crimson. Michael Saunders is maybe too bigtime for us now that he’s Captain Canada and all, but it’d be nice if he just stopped by and we all drank some Molson and threw some darts at a big picture of Jack Z. Offer is on the table any time, Condor.
Pitching Staff: Clearly, Tom Wilhelmsen and Charlie Furbush. The real reason Tom didn’t succeed in Texas is he was missing his other half. Charlie is the singer; Tom is the dancer. They’re yin and yang, if yin and yang were sponsored by New Balance. While we’re on the subject of guys who don’t take themselves too seriously, Erik Hanson once described his baseball career as “like the Clint Eastwood movie—the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.” Closer David Aardsma was a paragon of a Respectable Young Man during his time in Seattle, played Call of Duty under the tongue-in-cheek name Roger Dorn, and is a good writer to boot (sidenote: he’s also looking for a gig; why not kick the tires, Jerry?). But the centerpiece of the pitching staff has to be Jamie Moyer, who is possibly the world’s kindest human. He won basically every humanitarian award the game gives out (the Roberto Clemente, the Lou Gehrig, the Hutch, the Branch Rickey) and his Hall of Fame speech made me cry.
And I know I’ve been trying to keep away from active players, but clearly, Félix Hernández belongs on this list. We might not be cool enough to hang with Félix, either, but he would make you feel so comfortable you wouldn’t even notice that you’re suddenly eating fresh-caught tuna on a beach in the Maldives wearing sneakers that cost more than your rent. Félix is kind, he is loving, he is loyal, and he is ours. All hail the King. You’re un-believ-able.