The ship drove fast, loud roared the blast,
And southward aye we fled.
Blame it on the weather or the absence of Latin culture, but few Hispanic players have thrived in Seattle. Quinones, the sensational shortstop Balderson swiped from the Red Sox, periodically flees to his native land, Puerto Rico. Last season he returned home to mourn his father's death. He said he would be gone four days. He took 10. This year his wife's grandfather died, but Balderson refused to grant Quinones permission to go home for the funeral. "I don't care," said Quinones, "I'm going." This time he returned to the team four days later.
The Mariners' other prominent Latin, centerfielder Henry Cotto, says he likes Seattle, mainly because "I play there." He didn't play much in Chicago or New York, where he was a backup with the Cubs and Yankees. Given a chance to perform every day, Cotto was batting .350 through Sunday. He wields a bat better than he does a Q-tip: Cotto is perhaps the only player ever to go on the disabled list for puncturing his eardrum with a cotton swab.
With heavy thump, a lifeless lump,
They dropped down one by one.
Thirteen, 14, 15.... Mark Langston fanned 16 Blue Jays on May 10. He has led the league in strikeouts for three of the past four years. He was the 1984 American League Rookie Pitcher of the Year. Toronto slugger George Bell has called him one of the three best pitchers in baseball. Television star Joan Van Ark of Knots Landing has called him one of the 10 sexiest athletes in the country.
Despite all this, Langston is about as likely to be recognized in Seattle as he would be in Montevideo. "You can go anywhere you want in Seattle, and nobody will ever know who you are," says leftfielder Mickey Brantley. Langston showed up at a local restaurant last season to celebrate one of his victories. "Hi, I'm Mark Langston of the Mariners," he told the ma�tre d'. "I'm here to meet three of my teammates."
The ma�tre d' didn't bother to look up. "So what?" he snapped. "The line's at the back, pal."
Baffled by his inability to land even a single endorsement offer in Seattle, Langston recently enlisted the services of the Los Angeles public relations firm that handles Sylvester Stallone. Though he still hasn't had any bites in Seattle, at least Langston will get to be a guest vee-jay on MTV.
" Seattle is not a marketable market," says Reynolds, who wasn't able to persuade any of the shoe companies to give him an endorsement contract last year, even though he won the American League stolen-base crown with 60 swipes.
"You only won the title because Rickey Henderson had an off year," one shoe company representative candidly informed him.