Robinson Cano is now a Mariner. I did NOT see that coming. And they paid a ridiculous 240 million dollars for him, which is absurd, especially given the long length of the deal and the fact Cano is already in his thirties.
However, that, along with the fact that the Mariners are apparently not going in hard to get David Price (amongst others), means there is perhaps no better time than now to be remembering how back in 2002 the Mariners saved humanity from a grand Sasquatch Invasion, which is easily one of the ten worst types of invasions to deal with. And they did it in TWO issues! Yeah, some teams would stop with just one issue, but the Mariners released TWO in 2002. That is true devotion to giving the fans what they…. want? And, what’s more, They were available outside of the stadium too, available at local McDonald’s! That way, you wouldn’t even have had to go to the park to get your hands on these comics!
Oh, and yes, it was done by Ultimate Sports Entertainment/Ultimate Sports Force, why do you ask?
Both comics were written by David B. Schwartz, who’s Twitter account calls him a “entertainment lawyer by day, comic book writer by night.” He’s recently been doing things for independent comic companies like Aspen, where he most recently wrote a title called Idolized, if my research is correct. Since he’s a lawyer, I’m going to be extra-careful not to say anything that might cause him to sue me. Thankfully, he does a pretty good job with these comics, given the circumstances that surround comics like this.
Doing the art for the first issue- and the covers of both issues- was Brian Kong. Kong has done a ton of stuff over the years, from comics to cards to recently illustrating a children’s book about how baseball teams got their names. In part two, the art was done by Dennis Calero, a prolific artist who co-created Cowboys and Aliens, which was later very-loosely adapted into a movie, as well as work with DC and Marvel. Like with Schwartz, they do okay given the circumstances.
Go below the jump and let’s get started on the stories themselves:
First off, Mariners Mojo #1:
On the cover, we see Bret Boone, Ichiro Suzuki, Edgar Martinez, Jamie Moyer, Ruben Sierra and Kazuhiro Sasaki doing standard superheroic poses with Safeco Field in the background. Standard stuff. Let’s go in the book.
Our tale opens in the bottom of the ninth, with the late, great, Dave Niehaus and RIck Rizzs on the call and the Mariners down by three and down to the last strike. But don’t worry, Ichiro is at the plate. He’s got this.
The ball is caught by a group of kids (as can be seen here), but our story really gets going when Safeco Field inexplicably tries to swallow him. Don’t worry kids, Ruben Sierra’s got this, but, alas, there is now a big hole where home plate should be.
Lou Piniella will NOT let this stand, and so he summons the high-tech headquarters that hides under Safeco Field. Oh, you didn’t know that? It’s totally true. And not only that, but it turns out that Mariners organization is actually a group of superheroes, see?
A quick note about the battle cry of the Mariners: “Sodo Mojo!!!” This is a reference to the then-current advertising motto for the Mariners, a reference to the location of Safeco Field, which is SOuth of DOwntown in Seattle. They say this several times, so I’m going to have a counter.
SODO MOJO!!! Counter: 1
Down in the hole below Safeco, the team is suddenly attacked by a horde of Sasquatch, or “Bigfoots” as the comic calls them. The battle doesn’t go well for the Mariners, as Sasaki’s “Fastball Special” is interrupted by a Sasquatch burp…
…and the others don’t fare much better, as soon they are all captives of Argus, the Biggest of the Bigfoots. He tells the “Smallfeet” that he is tired of Sasquatch-kind living in the shadows, and so now the time has come to attack. Which, given the fact that they have the Mariners in chains is pretty easy, as they go around Seattle doing roughly what you’d think would happen if Sasquatches had their way with Seattle. Things like…
Ordering at Starbucks!
Captaining a boat!
And recording music (presumably grunge or alt-rock or something) and King-Konging the Space Needle.
And, to be honest…. that doesn’t seem that bad. I don’t see any images of murdering anybody or kidnapping women or anything. It’s more in the property damage and public mischief categories, with perhaps some robbery here and there.
So, how can these horrible crimes be stopped? Well, good news! The kids who caught Ichiro’s homer earlier have snuck into the Sasquatch lair and befriended the Mariners’ guard (who apparently is a baby Bigfoot). Lou Piniella tells the team that now they have to make sure to work as a team, since working as a team they can do anything.. and you can probably see where this is going:
SODO MOJO!!! Counter: 2
So, the Mariners go to work, and it’s…. interesting. One group of Sasquatch, for example, they attack using a barber’s tools:
And another they throw frozen sausage at:
And finally, after Kaz Sasaki closes the game by pegging one final Bigfoot with a fastball, the day is saved….
And now, on to part two, here’s the cover:
We begin with Argus, the head-Bigfoot, saying that this time his plan will succeed:
And then we get this awesome spread of the Mariners team from last time, only Freddy Garcia, Jeff Cirillo and Mark McLemore have joined the squad now too, and, oh, the baby Bigfoot guard is hanging with them and the kids from the last issue too.
After Niehaus and Rizzs give us a brief review of what happened last issue, we hear that the whole saga is going into “extra innings”, because it looks like Mount Rainier is going to blow. So, Lou Piniella dials “116” on the bullpen phone (not coincidentally, that’s the number of games the 2001 Mariners won in their historic season) and soon the team is headed towards their secret headquarters…
Now, a quick note here about Mount Rainier. It is, indeed, an active volcano, and it could, in theory, erupt. However, there aren’t any indications that it’s going to do that anytime soon, although admittedly volcano science can be extremely inexact and it’s not like the mountains keep schedules. Still, if it did erupt, it’d be bad news for anybody living around there, although not necessarily Seattle itself. In fact, Jeff Sullivan back during his Lookout Landing days got an actual geoscience professor to ponder the question of how a volcanic eruption could effect the Mariners. More or less, Seattle itself would be fine, it’s main problems coming from volcanic ash screwing up air travel to the east and perhaps earthquakes. That said, the many towns and cities closer to Rainier would be in trouble, with a possibility of Tacoma getting run over by volcanic mudflows in worst-case scenarios. Over a hundred thousand people could be in grave danger.
So, yeah, Mt. Rainier exploding would be bad.
Oh, but back to the story. Turns out this was the Bigfoots’ plan B, which Argus hopes will ruin the Northwest’s beauty and cause all the humans to want to leave Seattle so the Sasquatches can take it over.
This is, of course, a crummy plan. As I just mentioned, Seattle would (probably) be fine if Rainier exploded. Not to mention that people live in plenty of butt-ugly places where nature has been beaten to death with extreme prejudice, so it’s not like having fewer trees and wildlife would cause a mass exodus from Seattle.
But, who cares, it’s a comic. The Mariners have to save the Pacific Northwest from catastrophe, to the MARINERCOPTER!
And, yes, the Marinercopter is a thing:
SODO MOJO!!! Counter: 3
They soon are inside the mountain by way of mine shaft (just go with it), and continue heroically on even when a “natural landslide” traps them in the volcano, which we later hear described as being “hotter than spring training in Arizona!”
Oh, and then they find Bigfoots using other Bigfoots as slaves:
Oh, we also see Ichiro catch thrown volcanic rocks too using robotic gloves, because he’s Ichiro. Seriously, saying “because he’s Ichiro” is sort of the baseball equivalent of “because he’s Batman”.
Oh, and then their mine-cart crashes right in front of Argus, who enters into a monologue about how the Mariners have been defeated, blah, blah, blah. Well, the Mariners are having none of that, so they fight:
Eventually, Baby Bigfoot grabs the horn of leadership from Argus and blows it, and then within the space of like three pages the humans and Sasquatch come to an agreement and peace reigns throughout the land, and Bigfoot-Americans become permanent residents of Seattle (Argus is shown on the very last page as being a vendor at Safeco). Seriously:
So, there you have it. Any thoughts or quips about this comic? Have any suggestions for future Bizarre Baseball Culture? Let me know.
NEXT TIME: OFF TO SEE THE WIZARD
Prologue: “Rockets on the Mound” (short story)
20. Shortstop Squad
21. Cosmic Slam
23. Mariners Mojo (you are here)