It’s the most Mariners thing ever. They commit $240 million to Robinson Cano and still don’t have Seattle’s most popular second baseman. That designation clearly belongs to Seattle Seahawk—and Texas Rangers spring-training invitee—Russell Wilson.
Drafted in 2010 by the Colorado Rockies while still in college, Wilson played two minor league seasons—including 32 games for the Pasco-based Tri-City Dust Devils. Then, before the 2012 NFL draft, Wilson told the Rockies he was committing full-time to football. Said a disappointed Rockies’ exec: “We thought his future would be better in baseball.”
That should’ve been the end of Wilson’s baseball story. But Texas threw him a curve. They picked Wilson in December’s Rule V draft, a sort-of rummage sale for minor leaguers, in which anyone left off their own organization’s “protected list” can be purchased for what amounts to pocket change.
On March 3, a month and a day after winning Seattle a Super Bowl, Wilson will don Rangers’ red, white, and blue for a day of photo ops and pep talks. He’ll never play a competitive game for Texas, but he will reflect a little of his championship shine their way.
The Mariners must be kicking themselves for not taking Wilson with their own Rule V pick, 14 spots ahead of Texas’, which they didn’t even use. Putting Wilson in a Seattle uniform would’ve cost only $12,000, or 5/100,000 what they’ll pay Cano. They could’ve made it back in an hour on jersey sales. Instead Wilson’s a PR opp for their division rival. It’s a mark of Wilson’s popularity that no Mariners fan I’ve talked to seems to care.
Still, it brings up a question: What could Russell Wilson do to make Seattle fans not like him? Burn down a farmers market? Propose a ban on kombucha? Become a right-wing congressman? Steve Largent tried the latter, and he’s still one of the Seahawks’ most popular ex-players.
As the quarterback who led the Seahawks to a world championship, Russell Wilson is substantially responsible for one of the happiest days of my life. Honestly, he could break into my apartment and take a dump on my couch every day for a month, and I’d clean it up daily with no complaints. Probably while watching Super Bowl highlights.
The only wrong Wilson could do now would be to leave the Hawks and apply the same dedication to baseball that he has to football. I’d be devastated. I’m also sure he’d eventually turn himself into an All-Star. Heck, since MLB lets fans pick the All-Star team, he might be one this year if Texas put him on the ballot. He’d have my vote. Sorry, Robinson.