Target Practice: Chone Figgins, in a Season of Disappointments, Is the Mariners' Biggest

I'll repeat: 5'8''. Goes by "Chone."
Target Practice is our daily aim at a hypocritical politician, worthless law or random nincompoop who deserves a bit of buckshot in the backside.

When the Mariners signed former Los Angeles Angels third basemen Chone Figgins to a four year, $36 million contract this winter, they were banking on the fact that he would continue to play baseball unlike what you would expect of a 5'8'' man named "Chone." Instead they got...a 5'8'' man named Chone.

His last year with the Angels, Figgins led the league in walks. He stole some bases. Hell, he even got some MVP votes.

While the expectations for Figgins weren't quite as high as those of the other Mariners big acquisition -- Cy Young winner Cliff Lee who, after a short stint on the DL, has done everything expected of him -- they were at least higher than you'd expect for, not dipping into that well again. But you get the point.

Instead of a productive second lead-off hitter, the kind of guy who should have spent his spring terrorizing the basepaths with Ichiro like some multicultural Karamazovs, Figgins has played so poorly you'd almost think he agreed to come to the Mariners as an Angels double-agent. So that he may suck on purpose, in order to deliver them another AL West title by subterfuge.

You can't fault Figgins for trying. He knows he's been abysmal, which is why he's done everything he can think of to break out of what has been a season-long slump, including desperately phoning his old hitting coach to reverse the negative mojo.

You also can't hate Figgins, despite the suckitude. He seems like everything but an entitled athlete. He broke down in tears during the press conference where he announced his deal with the Mariners. He even flew his parents in town to sit next to him while he signed.

Come to think of it, maybe that's who we should blame. After all, it is Mr. and Mrs. Figgins who are responsible for producing the 5'8'' guy named Chone who's suddenly forgotten how to hit.

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