THE RETURN OF THE TRIDENT: THE TRUE LEGEND OF A MADE-UP CURSE

The Seattle Mariners’ 2017 necromancy of the inverted trident logo has opened a Pandora’s Box of pain and terror.

The bad omen was redesigned but not all-together scrapped like it should have been by former owner, George Argyros when he took over ownership of the ball club in 1981. Argyros was aware, due to his well-known participation in the occult and public history of conjuring demonic incantations to close business deals, that the down-turned scepter of Poseidon was a bad luck charm and would someday have to be cast to the flames.

Upon acquiring the team, Argyros’ statement, “Patience is for losers,” was famously misattributed by sports journalists and fans as a promise to shape up the misfit team into a World Series contender; when in fact it was simply an early declaration to rid the team of the trident as quickly as possible. However, in secret, this was no longer his intentions. The trident had a hold on him.

Yet, he still had good reason to believe that the logo was the source of the Mariners’ poor performance. From 1977-1980 the Mariners only broke a .400 winning PCT once in ‘79. In ’81, when the trident was redesigned, the team finish the season at .404, slightly lower than the ’79 season. In spite of this, Mariners outfielder, Tom Paciorek’s WAR leaped from 0.5 in 1980 to 4.3 and in Argyros’ mind, there was no doubt that Paciorek’s All-Star year was thanks to him. He’d deceived himself into keeping the trident as long as the symbol remained in accompaniment with the North Star—an ill-conceived attempt to please Poseidon, the Grecian God of the Sea.

 

(Queue Kate Blanchett narration and Howard Shore’s original score, History of the One Ring.)

Yet, in secret Argyros coveted the trident, besotted by its strange and powerful powers. He grew miserly, tight-fisted and downright ugly. He battled with the city over the Kingdome’s lease price and threatened to move the team. “I want to field the cheapest .500 team in baseball,” he’d say while licking the plaque off his teeth and picking the dirt from under his long fingernails.

Those were dark years and the team waited six long seasons until 1987 when the trident deserted Argyros upon the arrival of a young prince. The prince’s promise of a new dawn invigorated Mariners fans and led them to oust the ailing Argyros from the Kingdome of Seattle. Two years later—ten long years after the disappearance of the trident—the Mariners finally broke even to settle at .512 on the season.

Much like Indiana Jones’ Ark of the Covenant and Middle Earth’s One Ring, the story and awful power of the Trident logo dwindled from a scary bedtime story, to legend, to myth. The sands of time covered the unfortunate artifact, and with it, the truth of its demonic powers slipped into obscurity.

Its whereabouts were kept a secret from those who wanted it solely for its dark powers. It was stored in a vault deep within the bowels of the Nintendo Headquarters in Kyoto, Japan. There it rested, safe from those that lack self-control and common sense and instead into the hands of a mega international corporation.

 

From 1991 on, there were temporary moments of joy. The young prince became The Kid. Edgar, the people’s DH. The ’95 slide, which improbably sealed our victory over the Overlords of the East. Randy’s 1 million Ks and Ichiro’s 2 million hits. Great players did great things and people felt great about their greatness, and still do. However, the triumphs of man only further obscured the truth that their talents were not forged from their loins alone, but were gifts bequeathed onto them by the absents of the trident.

Uniforms came and went. Generations (in cat years) of fans became further removed from the ill-begotten sign, and only slightly remembered the “funny little star cap” and the “Big funny looking yellow S hat.” The branding overhaul of the team in 1993 bore the compass logo, in hindsight an ironic icon to choose for a fan base lost at sea and forgetful of their original port of embarkation. In the hazy obscurity of doobies, Quaaludes and Disco that was the late ‘70s, there rested (no doubt on a hideously upholstered couch) the upside-down trident biding its time to be released.

Nintendo, worn and tired from bearing the burden of the trident for so many years, began negotiations to sell the team back into Seattle ownership. They arrived with a gift.

 

In the Winter of 2016, the Trident was found on the desk of the most unsuspecting and inconspicuous of designers who, usually shy and complacent, was desperate to come up with a good design idea at the next board meeting. They worked furiously through the night and the next day pitched the idea to revamp the ill-omened symbol as the new logo for the Mariners Spring training uniforms. It was a success. “People love old shit,” General Manager, Jerry Dipoto said. “Let’s do it.” He couldn’t keep his eyes off the trident’s image cast upon the projector screen behind the foolish designer.

Then something began to happen after the World Baseball Classic. Drew Smyly complained of a “soggy arm.” Zych, out with a hurt shoulder. O’Malley, shoulder. Chishek, hip. Simmons, elbow. Whalen, bicep. This alone was a gas fire in a cotton plant (?), but when the regular season began, things got even worse.

Felix, shoulder. Haniger, oblique. Scribner, elbow. Paxton, forearm. Marshall, hamstring. Kuma, shoulder. Segura, hamstring. Weber, bicep. Cano, quad. It was as if David Bell had stolen the Brady Bunch Tiki God statuette while on vacation in Hawaii and slipped it onto Servais’ desk disguised as a Jerry Dipoto bobblehead doll. But, this was not the work of some doll; it was the return of the trident.

The Mariners floundered without stable and consistent starting pitching and ended the season 78-84. So it goes.

 

Now, in the Spring of 2018, the trend remains the same, and its intensifying. Currently, the Mariners have nine players on the injury list, six or seven of them starters. This isn’t counting those like Mitch Haniger, Guillermo Heredia, David Phelps, Art Warren and Nick Vincent who’ve just recently returned from injury.

The trident is back and is pissed about being locked up in Japan for 20-years.

As things now stand, something needs to happen. Some have asked for the Mariner’s to build a giant statue of Poseidon outside the gates of Safeco Field. Others have started a campaign, “Repeal the Teal” in reference to reversing the team’s rebranding in ’93. The rest, like me, think it’s time to hunt for trident and lock up the logo and throw away the key. Us mere mortals are no match for its dark powers and are desperate to break the curse and see the Mariners in the post-season.

 

Post edit: Ichiro leaves the game today (03/14) in the bottom of the 1st with a strained calf.

Post-post edit: Jean Segura leaves the game today (3/14) with tightness in his hamstring. Panic and anxiety ensue.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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