In Samuel Beckett’s play two bums named Vladimir and Estragon sit around and as the title suggests wait for Godot to show up. While they are waiting they talk about life and suicide, dreams and as conversations go it is one guy mostly talking. Then a rich guy and his slave show up and the rich guy eats in front of our two friends. Their names are Howard and Chuck.
In the play Chuck is Howard’s slave and stands there with this burden on his back. This is a bit of a reach as a metaphor, but stay with me.
Howard has a picnic and eats a chicken or two and drinks some wine. Howard throws the bones on the ground and Estragon wants to leap on them, but Vladimir holds him back and says we should ask, so he does as he does most of the talking.
Howard says its up to Chuck, they ask Chuck and Chuck starts crying. Vladimir tries to wipe his tears away, but Chuck kicks him. Vladimir asks Howard, what’s up with Chuck. Estragon grabs the bones and has at them. Howard says Chuck is sad because he’s going to sell him and Chuck does not want to be sold.
Howard finally says that Chuck will dance for you and deliver a monologue at your wish. The dance is very bad and Chuck can barely stay afoot. Vladimir says speak man, so Chuck starts to spew words but not in sentences. A non-stop skree of gibberish, bobble heads, Griffey Jr., Ackley, George Argyros, Bill Plummer, Mariners, losses are losses, Goebbels etc. Vladimir stops him. Howard says, “Well boys I am on my way and off they go and a boy shows up and says Godot is not coming today and the first act ends. Act two is worse, they play air soccer and Howard goes blind.
Godot never comes.
Last night Root TV, what a name, ran the seventeen year old game four of the ALCS game against the Yankees. Young skinny Griffey Jr. cavorting about, young Edgar and Buhner and Dan Wilson and Mike Blowers and old Vince Coleman and Luis Sojo and Felix Fermin. Edgar must be in his fifties now, still a wonderful man and what a marvelous hitter. While I saw that game when it happened and it represented paradise after eighteen years of terrible baseball, little did I know that for the most part nothing else would happen for eighteen more years. Yes and yes 1997 and 200o and 2001, but lots of wind and noise.
I had a nice discourse with a fellow that covered the 2013 draft and makes money doing it. I had done a bit of work before the 2013 draft and suggested with the exception of Nick Franklin and Taijuan Walker almost every Mariner first round pick can be described as a “reach”, someone they drafted too soon. Mostly due to signability and the sense they would make it to the majors quickly. Dustin Ackley, Danny Hultzen and Mike Zunino were college players with some flaws. Ackley’s shoulder had been hurt, rotator cuff. Hultzen’s velocity was not thought special but it really jumped up his junior year and Zunino while the player of the year last year, his scouting report was universally good. Not great. Hultzen it seems might have some mechanical issues that have shortened his first two years, due to injury. A high school catcher Steve Barron seems to have failed already drafted in first round in 2009. He said he wished he could disagree, but there is not much to hope for other than Walker and Franklin. For you old timers if you’re waiting for Johnny Bench to come up from Tacoma, think Gene Tenace instead. .241/.388/.429 and .817 OPS good but not great. Miller’s good, Romero’s good, even Poythress is good. Julio Morban might be really good. No greats.
Since 1993 and the drafting of Alex Rodriguez things have been skinny. Jose Cruz Jr. and Adam Jones made it to the bigs but were both traded away. Jason Varitek was traded before he made it to majors and was very good. Gil Meche and Brandon Morrow made it to mlb and were traded from here. Neither of them special.In the first few rounds Thursday and Friday they drafted power hitters. So in 2016 or so we can evaluate this activity and pass judgement on it. Some more thoughts tomorrow.
I hesitate to stretch the metaphor too much, but Howard is Howard. Godot can be many people. He can be Ken Griffey Jr. reborn or Mr. Yamauchi, neither of whom will come. Vladimir and Estragon are the press and the fans both. They are hopeful despite all, but the real play teaches you that the moment is the thing and the hope, well it rarely arrives as you think.