After two Mariners players allegedly ratted out Ken Griffey Jr. for falling asleep during a game, designated hitter Mike Sweeney drew a line in the sand during a team meeting by challenging his loose-lipped teammates to a fight.
Grandpa Sweeney wants to throw down.
Forget for a second that Sweeney has no right to throw down this gauntlet. As a player with little history of winning, whose greatest offensive contributions come when he's not in the lineup, it's kind of like a water boy delivering the "win one for the Gipper" speech during halftime.
But what if the other Mariners had taken Sweeney up on the offer? What if, rather than laughing at the old guy who can't hit, the whole team instead climbed into a ring and duked it out, Royal Rumble-style, until only one of them was left? Who would be the last Mariner standing?
|With a name like that, who needs a nickname?|
Chone Figgins is speedy and can play multiple positions. And as Dennis Rodman famously wrote in his autobiography (paraphrasing here), "White guys are scared of black guys." But Figgins is still shorter than most 10th-graders. And his skill set won't transfer when he's, say, trying to throw Jose Lopez off the top rope.
Ichiro is gonna get some votes purely because of the Asian-guy-as-karate-master stereotype. But don't let that fool you. He still weighs about as much as a large-breed puppy. And his impressive bat control won't matter for crap in hand-to-hand combat.
The Contenders: At 240 pounds, lefty hurler Ryan Rowland-Smith has brawler potential. As does Kanekoa Texeira, who's not as heavy but earns bonus points for being a Pacific Islander which, if other sports are any indication, means he's tougher than anybody in the clubhouse.
Now, now, Milton. That's cheating.
Doug Fister also has potential. If only because he's 6'8'' and has "fist" in his surname.
The only problem with these candidates: they're all pitchers. Men who only break a sweat every fifth day and spend the rest of their time swaddled in so much athletic apparel they look like they're in full traction.
(And yes, I know Texeira is a reliever, so that means he pitches more than once a week. Just work with me here, alright?)
The Wildcard: As always, it's Milton Bradley. Baseball's Kanye could come out swinging with the kind of purposeful rage you haven't seen since you "accidentally" kneed your older brother in the nuts while play-fighting.
Or he could collapse in the fetal position underneath a turnbuckle and start crying about how "no one understands him." That's why he's The Wildcard.
The Winner: Want to talk about underwhelming? I'm about to hand the belt to a utility infielder.
"TOO-E! TOO-E! TOO-E!"
Matt Tuiasosopo has a lot going for him. For one, he's related to a lot of people who excelled at football--brother Marques quarterbacked the Huskies to a Pac-10 title and dad was an NFL lineman--where your average 2nd-and-short features more physical contact than the most suspendingest bench-clearing "brawl."
For another, Tui is a hometown kid with a chantable nickname. And in true pro wrestling fashion, it makes sense for the winner to be the guy who everyone in the crowd is rooting for.
Of course, Sweeney's challenge has come and gone without so much as an eye-poke. But we can still dream.