I go away, watch a couple of crappy movies on Netflix Instant Watch, sneeze my hairy balls off and blow my way through two rolls of toilet paper ejecting snot from my cranium, and LOOK what happens! He’s back! Russell The Muscle! We got him! You can’t have him! The savior of our season, the hitter of solo home runs, HE of constant back-related woe. Mr. Branyan. That’s what we call him. When we’re not calling him The Muscle. It’s just Mr. Branyan. So, I’m getting a lot of incredulity here about this move. I imagine a lot of bloggers shaking their heads, wondering just WHAT in the HELL Jackie Z is thinking. They’ll be the first to admit that we didn’t give up a whole lot – probably – in the two minor leaguers going Cleveland’s way. Here, how about this: we just brought in someone – in his mid-30s – who’s better than anyone else on the team at what he does. What does he do? What the chicks dig, my friends. And what do they dig? That’s right, the long ball, motherfuckers. We got him! We got that guy! He’s like Casey Kotchman only with a penis. A big piece of wood ready to smack the shit out of some mistake pitches, know what I mean? Considering our only alternative is either Mike Sweeney – who’s like a redundant, injury-waiting-to-happen version of Edgar Martinez in the field – or Josh Wilson of all people at first base (because if a manager knows anything, it’s that you do NOT take Josh Wilson’s bat out of your lineup!), I’d consider this a massive improvement. But, here’s the bottom line: this isn’t about the future. It’s just not. It’s about this year. And I know – EVERYBODY knows – that there isn’t a chance in batshit hell that we’re making the playoffs this season. But, you know what? The team still has to play the games. They still have to run off the second half of the season. They still have to sell … tickets. No, a losing season isn’t going to be good for anyone in that regard, but there’s a difference between being a 100-loss team and, say, an 85-loss team. I think it’s been shown quite a bit that the majority of fans in Seattle are pretty fairweather. They go to Safeco for the good times, the Mariner Moose, the fucking Dippin’ Dots and the like. It’s something to do on a Sunday afternoon, or a Friday night, or whatever. Now, if we keep losing at the rate we’re going – while factoring an even bigger slide towards the end when we’re playing all our Tacoma boys – we’ll hit that 100-loss plateau and not only will it hurt ticket sales this year, but it’ll do that much more damage for next year’s sales. However, if we somehow turn it around, maybe even inch our way towards .500 after an absolutely DREADFUL May and most of June, then not only does that HELP ticket sales this year, but it sure as shit gives this fanbase hope for next year. What am I getting at with all this? Russell Branyan IS our savior. He’s Neo in those Matrix movies. He’s The One. Without him, we stink, we can’t hit for power, we’re soon to lose one of the best pitchers we’ve ever had in a necessary trade, and we’re forced into forcing our greatest player of all time into retiring. WITH The Muscle, we’re a .500 team that’s GOING ALL THE WAY NEXT YEAR WHO’S WITH ME????? Yeah! Let’s DO THIS! Come on!