Big what’s up to my man Snelling
“Size matters not. Look at me. Judge me by my size, do you?”
I didn’t find out they called up Snelling until after today’s game, and I’m almost glad, because it means I didn’t sit there all game hoping to see him only to be disappointed. Now I have something to watch for every game.
I broke my Snelling jersey out of the closet, where it’s been patiently waiting for the last couple of years, coming out only for USSM gatherings. He’s taken #32, same as last time, which makes me happy, because I don’t have to order a second one.
I don’t know what happens now — if Doyle’s going to get the Choo treatment, or if Winn’s about to be moved to make room for him to get regular playing time. I certainly hope he’s not just a replacement Dobbs-style bat, because he needs to get his playing time more than anyone else in the system.
But this is a big step.
In this year’s BP, I wrote
First, let me note that IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m a huge fan of Snelling, and there is nothing I want more in baseball than for him to become durable, healthy, and enjoy a brilliant career.
Snelling is like Nick Johnson if Nick Johnson was raised in Australia, lithe, shorter, with a little less power and walks.
And yetÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ my appreciation for Snelling has deepened. Because heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s friendly, funny, has an accent, and was into Yoda, his reputation was fluffy and light-weight, more a novelty story than an interesting and potentially good player. With continued health problems his storyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s been dismissed, but SnellingÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s still out there, fighting his way through rehab, avoiding sharp objects, with no one writing about him.
ThereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s no way to say whether SnellingÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s ever going to be healthy enough to progress, or if the lost development timeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s too great a deficit to overcome. But I want to see what happens next nearly as much as Snelling does. As you read this, heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s in rehab orÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ waitÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ no, heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s hurt himself again. Dammit.
That last part was weirdly prescient, as he went on the DL when the book came out (part of why I went into Doyle-mode).
Even that write-up, though, doesn’t cover it. Some prospects never become what they might because they’re lazy, or they don’t have the patience or pain endurance to come back from injuries. Snelling, this funny, cool, laid-back seeming guy, has been unstoppable. Fate keeps knocking him down and he gets up and returns to working towards getting back into the game.
As Mariner fans, we’re a little spoiled from having seen the almost effortless ascent of stars like Ken Griffey Jr. and Alex Rodriguez, guys with immense natural talent who were blessed with good health early in their careers. And as much as I enjoyed watching them, I admire Snelling more for his perseverence and his humility and self-confidence in the face of so many serious setbacks.
I don’t know what happens next, if Winn or Ibanez gets moved to open up some LF/DH playing time, or what the team has in mind. But if you’re a hard-core Mariner fan, someone who’s followed the ups and downs of the franchise and its players and take joy in the victories and triumphs of the good guys, this is a fine day.
Go get ’em, Chris.
And folks, if you want to spot me at a Mariners game, I’m one of two people at the park wearing a huge grin and a jersey with “Snelling” on the back.