Brendan Ryan: Thai Goes to the Runner

The Mariner shortstop explains his peculiar love of panang curry.

With the Seattle Mariners having lost more than half their games so far, it's no wonder the club wants its fans to look at something other than batting averages and slugging percentages when scanning the scoreboard. Hence, as a player steps up to the plate at Safeco, the center-field JumboTron displays his picture and a personal tidbit, so spectators learn which Mariners like Matt Damon or tomato soup.

Most of the food-themed facts flashed onscreen are fairly pedestrian: Not surprisingly, ballplayers are fond of chicken and steak. But Brendan Ryan's favorite food is seemingly out of left field: The 30-year old shortstop really, really likes panang curry.

Ryan was born in Los Angeles, but didn't grow up eating the milky curry. "I went to this Thai restaurant and had panang curry, and have never looked back," he says. "It was awesome. I mean, really awesome—and I get it every time now when I get Thai."

Panang curry is milder than most Thai curries, but Ryan claims he isn't shy about heat. "I like it pretty spicy," he says. "I order three out of five—you know they do the numbers—and then I get extra on the side, you know, that chili paste."

A trade with the St. Louis Cardinals brought Ryan to Seattle in 2010, and, though a dazzling fielder, he's struggled at the plate in his second Mariner season. "It's time for him to figure out what he needs to do to be successful," manager Eric Wedge recently told reporters after benching Ryan and his sleepy bat.

If the answer involves more curry, Ryan may need to find a local go-to takeout joint. He doesn't yet have a favorite Thai restaurant in Seattle. "We're still exploring," he says. "My fiancee and I were talking about that last week, that we need to get out and try more places."

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