You’re a Mariners fan. A Seattle Mariners fan. You’ve been hosed in trades. You’ve watched the darlings of your minor league system flourish in faraway Major League cities. You want vengeance. You want a trade so lopsided it is five Jenga moves past the point of toppling.
Admit it, you wanted to trade Tyler O’Neill for Clayton Kershaw straight up. If that failed, you’d settle for Max Scherzer or Chris Sale. You’re not unreasonable. When Kyle Lewis was pulled from a game in the fourth inning, you had visions of Justin Verlander dancing in your head (which probably makes a little more sense, since he is available in a trade. But you know what, if I’m a GM all my players are on the block at all times. I’m not a GM.).
Whether the GM during your formative years was Woody Woodward or Bill Bavasi or Jack Zduriencik, you see every trade announcement painted with the future stain of OUR prospect playing in the postseason wearing a different uniform.
Trade deadline deals aren’t just about where your team is that particular July. They are statements about what your team wants to be and where it wants to go. It’s a performance review chock full of action items.
These team decisions can feel like the important life decisions you make: whether to take or leave a job, relocating to a new city, getting married, getting divorced, deciding whether to have kids.
You must be calm and rational when making those decisions, but they’re still punctuated with moments of panic and outburst as your brain tries to wrap itself around a monumental decision where the outcome cannot possibly be known until it’s done.
Baseball isn’t important in the life or death sense. The life decisions you make are more important than the trade decisions your baseball team makes. But baseball is a big part of life for most of you who read this site. Your team, the Seattle Mariners, is like your family. They are part of your life. You want them to go in the right direction, but unlike the choice to move to the suburbs, you have no control over the decisions they make.
So you react emotionally when a decision is made. The trade deadline gives us a chance to pour out our emotions. Emotions are not always rational, well thought out paragons of reasonable argument. They can be knee-jerky and messy, and sometimes before we can process them properly they break free of their leash.
I’m sorry David Phelps you’re fine I just had FEELINGS okay]
They get expressed in this raw and unfiltered way on the internet, because that’s what we do now. We see breaking news and brace ourselves for the words that will flow through furious fingertips into cyberspace.
We overvalue our own prospects because they are our prospects. We insult our farm system and cling to the good pieces because we have to have hope that our team will go in the right direction. We grieve in our various ways over losing one of those good pieces because we feel like it’s all we have.
We’re scared for the future. We’re scared this team won’t get better. We’re scared after all these years, we might really have to start from scratch and rebuild for many long years.
Our crazy outbursts online are a product of our fears. In order to face them, and rationalize them, and make them listen to reason, they have to be unleashed.
I love the Twitter onslaught that happens during trades, because we love this stupid team and we’ve been grieving for lost seasons in our own individual ways. But when news breaks, we’re all in this together. When we’re yelling and swearing and calling each other names; when we can’t let our finger off the caps lock key; when we can’t believe the hot takes rolling down our social medial timelines; and in the Lookout Landing comment section.
We are all in this together. We are all sharing the same fear of the unknown, the same hope, the same love for this team.
So, everyone, overreact! Unleash your takes that are so hot the sun turns away in surprise! Wonder without irony why Jerry couldn’t flip a AAA prospect for an established ace!
We fight because we care. We lash out because we care.
When the day comes that we hug each other gleefully underneath a glorious championship champagne shower, we will be that much closer for it.
And when the trade deadline hits the next year, we’ll squabble again like the unreasonable, emotional family of Mariners fans we are.