Saturday, August 13, 2005

The Gorokan Horror

After six years of nightmare and terror, saved only by a desperate conviction of the mythical source of certain impressions, I am unwilling to vouch for the truth of what the Mariners think they found in Eastern Australia on the second day of March, 1999. There is reason to hope that my experience was wholly or partially an hallucination--for which, indeed, abundant causes existed. And yet, its realism was so hideous that I sometimes find hope impossible.

Christopher Doyle Snelling was born on December 3, 1981 in north Miami, Florida, but he grew up in the lakeside fishing village of Gorokan, New South Wales, over 100 km north of the bustling Sydney. Gorokan sits on the western side of the Walleran Point Bridge spanning Budgewoi Lake. This bridge was erected between 1983-5 to link humble Gorokan to its larger neighbor, Toukley.

Little did the residents of Gorokan dream that only fourteen years after completing their bridge, the terrifying and macabre tale that has impressed itself indelibly onto my brain would have opened in their charming township.

There were indications, to be sure. Young Chris Snelling played high school baseball at Corpus Christi College in nearby Tuggerah until his graduation in the fateful year of 1999. He was good enough to attract the interest of a scout from across the vast Pacific, who sought young Mr. Snelling's signature on a contract with the header "Seattle Mariners." This seemed like such a good turn of events.

Woe to us when we fail to see danger signs in a timely fashion! Of course, if what I have learned is correct, then there was nothing that could be done, and nothing that can be done. In those lucid moments when I realize that horrible truth, I try to imagine that I am on another hallucinatory rant. In the end, it is hard to deny the power of the facts of the story.

While I wish to spare you, dear reader, from the horror that has claimed me, I must write it down. In short, the facts are these. Chris Snelling brought with him from Gorokan a great talent to hit a baseball with a bat; to run; to catch; and to throw. He brought all the qualities necessary to become a major league baseball player, nay, a star.

After being signed in March of 1999, he joined the Mariners organization and played for the short-season Everett AquaSox in 69 games. After hitting .306 as a 17-year old in the Northwest League, he was sent in 2000 to the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, where he hit .305 in 72 games. Thus it was that young Mr. Snelling earned a promotion in 2001 to the high-A California League San Bernardino Stampede. He played 114 games in Southern California, hitting .336 with 29 doubles. Each year his OPS had hovered near .900, always against older competition. Snelling looked likely to add to the success story that is the Mariners' overseas scouting department.

But he was plagued by a litany of injuries so incredible that it seemed he had been cursed. In 2002, Snelling was rewarded with another promotion, to the AA San Antonio Missions. By May, he appeared briefly with the big league club, before tearing his ACL on June 4th against Oakland.

Then Snelling had ACL surgery. In 2003, he managed to make it back during the season and to play well again at San Antonio, earning a midseason promotion to AAA Tacoma on July 25th. He performed adequately in that late-season promotion, and appeared not to injure himself.

In the spring of 2004, Snelling got the summons to Mariners Spring Training, but before he could get into a single game, he broke the hamate bone in his hand during batting practice. Snelling would miss the entire season rehabbing from the ensuing surgery, although he did appear briefly (10 games) in the Arizona Fall League.

In 2005, as some of you may know, Snelling injured his knee again in Spring Training, but recovered and played in AAA Tacoma for the first half of the season, hitting .370/.452/.553 to display that both his health and his baseball skills were intact. He was subsequently brought back up to the big league squad, and on August 5th he was handed the left field job for good after previous occupant Randy Winn was traded away. But in the 14th inning of our August 11th game, Snelling "tweaked" his knee, and the current report is that his ACL is torn, again.

Perhaps the more astute readers have already divined the horrible truth that I have learned. Even now I am reluctant to put these words down in print. But it must be said. Look at the dates: born December 3, signed March 2, injured June 4 (ACL), injured February 26 (wrist), injured February 25 (knee), injured August 11 (ACL). Clearly, there is a pattern that is beyond human science to comprehend.

The only viable conclusion is that Christopher Doyle Snelling did NOT come from Gorokan alone. Obviously, construction of the Walleran Point Bridge stirred up ancient evil, more ancient than even human habitation of this planet. Just as obviously, it attached itself in malevolent and imperceptible fashion to Snelling when he departed New South Wales, and has accompanied him to the United States. And now that unspeakable evil that we should be thankful that we cannot actually SEE has once again struck down Mr. Snelling, according to its own inscrutable logic. If only the madness raging through my brain would quiet down for a moment, I could penetrate the mystery. Ouch! My knee! My ankle!!



At 10:00 AM, Blogger Tad said...

Beautiful. I'm not sure how many people will recognize the style, but I love it.

At 10:02 AM, Blogger Tad said...

Could the evil be....Dave Meyers?????

At 9:26 AM, Blogger Brian said...

I was driving down I-5 this weekend, and thought I saw something in the Freeway median near Safeco. It was there on the ground next to Bobby Madritsch's tattoo'd right arm, severed at the shoulder.

It was, I have since found out, Chris Snelling's leg!

Oh, the humanity!!!


Post a Comment

<< Home