This year’s Mariners-Angels series has illustrated three different approaches to revenge.
The first approach comes from Phil Nevin, Mike Trout, Andrew Wantz, and Anthony Rendon.
Approximately 10,000 years ago (6/26/2022), Erik Swanson threw an inside pitch that got away from him. This caused several inexplicable events: Mike Trout threw a temper tantrum and so the next day, Phil Nevin decided to “use an opener,” which really meant bringing in Andrew Wantz to start the game off by intentionally throwing at Julio Rodríguez, Jesse Winker, and seemingly anyone else until umpire John Bacon summoned the fortitude to start ejecting people. Anthony Rendon then chirpped at Winker loudly enough to get Winker over to the Angels dugout, at which point Rendon threw a punch at Winker, and things spiraled out of control. (If you’ve only tuned in recently, here’s some further reading.) Intentionally throwing baseballs at people is not cool, but it’s certainly a way to get revenge.
The second approach comes from Luis Rengifo and Mike Ford in today’s game.
Approximately 10,005 years ago (8/7/2017), the Mariners traded Rengifo and Anthony Misiewicz to Tampa Bay in exchange for Ryan Garton and Mike Marjama. Mike Marjama is a really good dude, but I’d understand if Rengifo took this trade as an insult. To his immense credit, rather than choosing violence, he’s instead decided to get his vengeance on the field. For the second time this series, he hit two homers today.
Those home runs put the game at 3-1 in the third inning, and the score wouldn’t budge much after that. Like a later season of the Great British Bake Off, the middle innings were so uneventful and lacking in tension, you’d be forgiven for just falling asleep. In the seventh inning though, with Marco Gonzales having gotten on a little roll, retiring nine of his last ten, including four by strikeout, Mike Ford came up.
Approximately 10,004 years ago (3/24/2018), the Mariners sent Mike Ford back to the Yankees after declining to make good on picking him in the Rule 5 Draft. Rather than put Ford on the 25-man roster, the Mariners opted to roll with Ryon Healy and Daniel Vogelbach. Healy and Vogey both became fun guys to have on the team, but I’d understand if Ford took this as an insult.
Seattle ended up getting Ford back two separate times this year but ditched him both times, first sending him to San Francisco for cash in May and then putting him on waivers in June. Like Rengifo and unlike Nevin, Ford decided to get his vengeance on the field. He collected two hits today, including getting on base ahead of Livan Soto’s first MLB home run, which brought the score to 5-1 in the seventh inning. That ended Marco’s day, with Scott Servais turning to Chris Flexen to finish things out.
On the other side of the ball, the Mariners offense had two flavors today: Moore or less. In his first game back from the Injured List, Dylan Moore grabbed two doubles, two walks, and a stolen base, and he also ably manned center field for just the tenth time in his career, where he made six put outs. That kind of performance would get DMo today’s Sun Hat Award regardless, but it’s an extremely easy call when the rest of today’s hitters had me going full Don Draper.
And so the Walt Disney Studios won today’s war. While I think this is a demonstration that Rengifo and Ford have the better approach to revenge than Nevin, Trout, Wantz, and Rendon, today’s game wasn’t very consequential. That’s because over the summer, the Mariners showed us a third approach to revenge, one that is guided by scripture:
I wanna tell you not to get lost in these petty things
Will defeat themselves before you get the chance to swing
The Mariners were pretty mad about the brawl, but didn’t do much about it because they had to wait more than a month to see Anaheim again. This is what happened to the teams’ playoff odds during that stretch.
Turns out just leaving Anaheim alone was the best revenge of all.