4/20/2014

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Sports

Eric Johnson: Here's to you, Mr. Robinson

Eric Johnson: Here's to you, Mr. Robinson
Robinson Cano (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)
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This is going to be difficult, Mariner fans, but you need to allow yourself to feel something you haven't felt for a long, long time: Joy.

Wallow in it! Lap it up! Roll around in it!

Just once, throw off the shackles of mediocrity that have beaten you down for a decade, and allow yourself to rejoice. Because maybe, just maybe, Robinson Cano will change everything.

Maybe, just maybe, he already has.

Say it together: "Hot damn! We got Robinson Cano!" The biggest free agent acquisition in Seattle history. A 5-time All-Star, a Gold Glove 2nd baseman, a career .300 hitter with power.

And, if the reports from multiple news agencies are correct, all he cost was $240 million!

"But it's too much money!" you're thinking.

"What about the future?" you ask.

I hear you, and I understand, believe me. But I counter with this: "It's your honeymoon, baby! Buy the filet instead of the flank steak! Be a big tipper! For once in your, live it up!"

This move is a massive dose of relevancy for a franchise that has been slipping out of the collective conscience of Seattle for years.

Attendance has been down. Performance has been abysmal. This move aims to begin altering history with one beautiful, reckless move.

It's "The Wizard of Oz" going from black and white to color. It's Springsteen on a "last chance power drive." It's DeNiro saying, "You talkin' to me?" It's a game-changer, an image shaker, a sea change on the baseball landscape.

It's the Seattle Mariners, (yes, the Mariners!) bowing their backs, and planting their flag and shouting out for the world to hear, "Here we are! You will NOT ignore us from here on out! Let's do this thing!"

The road to the bottom of the A.L. West is strewn with broken heroes and forgotten saviors. Robinson Cano isn't Richie Sexson. He isn't Jarrod Washburn. He's a guy who chose the Mariners over the Yankees.

He's never hurt, has the best arm of any 2nd baseman in the league, and always hits. He instantly becomes the guy you hurry back from the beer line to see hit. He's a jolt of adrenalin with a rapper for an agent and a sense of the moment.

Suddenly, the idea of free agents coming to Seattle and teaming up with King Felix AND Robinson Cano is an appealing prospect. The chances of other players choosing Seattle just got a whole lot better.

The Mariners have a bunch of money coming their way from a new TV deal, and hardly any players under contract past next year. They have options and cash. And apparently Jack Z. is drunk with possibility. Why not?

The money. It's the third biggest deal in baseball history. It's a mountain of money. It's $16,000 per inning. $37,000 per at-bat. He'll get $24 million per year for a decade. But in 2023, $24-million won't be worth what it is today. Hell, it may be a bargain by then!

A-Rod's deal with Texas is the poster child for bad deals. But did his $310-million whopper of a disaster kill the Rangers? Hardly. This is the big leagues.

Cano is only one man in the lineup. The Mariners are NOT instant contenders with his addition. He's just one player. But only the bleakest of naysayers would dispute that the future looks infinitely better than it did 24-hours go.

People are talking about the Mariners again. There is some swagger now. We can dream again.

And so forgive me as I wallow in it. Throw caution to the wind with me. Say it together: "Hot damn! We got Robinson Cano!"
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