Back to the Future: Mariner Edition
If you’re at all familiar with 1989’s smash-hit Back to the Future II — i.e., the pinnacle of American filmmaking — you’re probably also familiar with the part of that movie in which an elderly Biff Tannen (the 2015 version) steals Doc Brown’s time-traveling DeLorean in order to deliver a copy of Grey’s Sports Almanac to a young Biff Tannen back in 1955.
The Almanac, as everybody who’s anybody knows, is the source for “all sports facts [and] in-depth coverage of all major sporting events from 1950 to the year 2000.” The value of such a thing in 2015 is purely nostalgic; in 1955, however, such information is worth cash money. The young Biff soon realizes as much and uses the Almanac to (1) amass great wealth via gambling success, (2) build a giant, evil casino empire, and (3) forever alter the course of Hill Valley’s future, from one of smiling faces and winding roads to a horrid, crime-ridden dystopia.
In other words, the usual.
Though the narrative thread from Back to the Future represents an extreme version of such a thing, it’s actually not uncommon to hear a person — anyone, really — wonder aloud what it might be like to visit a younger version of himself and provide counsel. Said counsel needn’t be for financial gain, either — perhaps it’s merely to say, “You should love your mother more” — but the idea is the same: if we knew then what we know now, well, things would be different.
As we enter the honorary (if not actual) second half of the season, it’s only natural to look back on what has been. The Mariners’ season has probably not gone exactly the way the organization would’ve preferred — and it certainly hasn’t gone the way that most Mariner fans would’ve preferred.
It begs the question: if certain people with ties to the Mariners could travel back via DeLorean to their pre-season selves, what advice would they give and how would it affect the future as we now know it?
A couple of attempts:
Time Traveler: Dave Cameron, Captain of the USS Mariner
Message from the Future: Future Cameron informs Past Cameron that Ken Griffey Jr. will amass 100 plate appearances before the end of May, that Milton Bradley will have an early-season freakout, that Chone Figgins and Jose Lopez will more or less forget how to hit a baseball, that Ian Snell will pitch exactly like Ian Snell, and that Sean White will be utilized more than is decent in a high-leverage capacity.
Effect: Confident in the overall health of the organization, Cameron keeps his cool; however, he makes a note to dose himself heavily with some manner of prescription benzodiazepine before sitting down to watch his Mariners.
Time Traveler: Jack Wilson, Mariner Shortstop
Message from the Future: After accidentally pushing the wrong button, Wilson finds that his time-traveling DeLorean arrives not at his, but at Josh Wilson‘s, house.
Effect: Jack tells Josh how the two of them will combine for only 0.5 WAR by the All-Star break. Also, they decide to become blood brothers.
Time Traveler: Cliff Lee, Happiest American Man
Message from the Future: Knowing that they’re basically the awesomest guys ever, Future Lee and Past Lee just kinda sit quietly together, each with a beer in hand, and consider the possibilities of a universe in which there are two Cliff Lees.
Effect: World peace or something like that.
Time Traveler: Mike Sweeney, Designated Hitter
Message from the Future: Future Mike tells Past Mike that he’ll slash .263/.327/.475 and will accrue 0.5 WAR though just 110 plate appearances — that he will, in short, bear a shocking resemblance to a league-average DH. Future Mike further advises Past Mike “not to pass out” upon hearing this news.
Effect: Past Mike passes out. Wouldn’t you?
Time Traveler: Ian Snell, Riddle Wrapped in a Mystery Inside an Enigma
Message from the Future: Future Ian Snell throws a rock through the window of Past Ian Snell’s home. Attached to the rock is a note that reads “Throw strikes, jerkface.”
Effect: Hardly any — except for the Past Police find and arrest Future Ian Snell, at which point the latter becomes permanently trapped in the past. (What? It could happen.)