The Big Unit
I'd just like to type a few thoughts on Randy "Big Unit" Johnson.
First, my opinion of him... I like him as a player. At one point, specifically 1998, I did not care for him in the least, but after that year my opinion has softened, and now I consider myself a fan of his again.
1995 - Johnson was the MAN. He could do no wrong. He pitched hurt, on short rest, anytime, and was still effective. In that one-game playoff with California he singlehandedly, (well, assisted by a clutch Sojo), put the Mariners in the postseason. He was just as godlike to me as The Kid or Edgar.
Fast forward three years to '98. I was living in a converted barn with four friends, partying, generally having a great time 25 hours a day, except when it came to my Mariners. They were bad. The worst part was that my favorite pitcher, Johnson, was seriously sucking it up, physically, on the field, and in the clubhouse. His back was about to give out, they said, and they didn't know how much longer he'd even be able to pitch in the league. Plus, the M's hadn't offered him the big extension he deserved, so he was childishly sulking, which did not help matters at all. The night of his trade to Houston I was pretty happy that the Mariners had gotten three players for one guy who was about to retire, for all I knew.
Well, he proceeded to tear up the NL, going something like 10-1 with a miniscule ERA for the last couple months of the sesason. At that point, I had no doubt that he had been jaking it with the M's, and he became my Public Enemy #1. Needless to say, the good years he had with the Mariners were shoved far into the back of my memory, banished like a kid's baby blanket into the back of a closet when he becomes a teenager.
However, just like that teenager, now married, pulls out that old blanket and remembers all the good times and secure feelings it provided him with in his youth, so did my good thoughts about Johnson return over the years. His dominance of the National League since he joined it has been a pleasure to watch. I remember with fondness all the hope he gave us early-'90s Mariners fans -- the constant possibility of a no-hitter, the double-digit strikeout games, the crowd's excitement with two strikes, the menacing presence on the mound and on the bench, the drum playing, and the mullet from hell. I am once again a fan.
Now he's forcing his way out of Arizona like he did Seattle, and I can't help but think "same old Randy". However, with a team as horrible as the D'Backs, I dont' blame him. At his age all he wants is another championship, and he's not going to get it there. Too bad he wants to be on the Yankees, but who else could afford him?
Now the Dodgers have pulled out of the 3-way deal. All I have to say is: good decision. They would have not gotten much of a good deal in the least, having to give up their top offensive threat and a serviceable pitcher for a questionable, overpriced pitcher. Now the Yanks are pissed.
Randy Levine: "For some reason, the Dodgers over the weekend started to backpedal. Why they would break their word is only something they can answer. It sure is disappointing, and we'll have to think long and hard before ever doing business with the Dodgers again."
Pardon me while I laugh at the Yankees: (hahahahahahahahahahaha!). DePodesta hasn't shown much in L.A., but at least he was smart enough to pull out of that foolish deal. And the Yankees, in their spoiled manner, are crying like the brats they are, threatening the Dodgers with (gasp!) not trading with them any more! Oh, no! You mean the Dodgers wouldn't be able to trade any more good players for overhyped "prospects" and overpriced castoffs? What will they do now?!
Man I hate the Yankees.