If I were just now jumping on the Seattle Mariners bandwagon – assuming I’d never been a fan of the team or any baseball team before this point – I would be able to look at what’s going on here and be extremely excited. A GM who looks like he knows what he’s doing, having taken our farm system from the wasteland he inherited to one of the best in all of baseball. A manager who’s a straight-shooter, who knows how to get the best out of his players. A young core of talented, cheap players at the Major League level and near the Major League level, all of whom have the possibility for greatness. There’s a lot to like!
There’s a lot to like. In three years, the Mariners will be able to renegotiate their TV deal. At which time, the young talent should hopefully have blossomed into superstars. Maybe at that point we’re just a major free agent signing or two away from contending for a World Series. Huh? How about it! Doesn’t that sound awesome? Being in on the ground floor, to root on a team from the depths of despair to the heights of everlasting glory? How about THAT?
Yeah, that would be nice. I would like that very much. And, if I were just sitting down to become a Mariners fan right this instant, I could sit here and tell you, “It won’t be so bad. Pretty soon, this team is going to be great.”
But, the thing is, I’ve been a Mariners fan since pretty much everyone else in the Pacific Northwest became a Mariners fan, 1995. We jumped on at the height of Refuse To Lose excitement, we rode that wave into the playoffs, and we got to witness 6-8 good years of competitive baseball. Then, starting with 2004, it all went to shit and it’s remained in shit ever since.
Yeah, there’s hope. There’s ALWAYS hope. But, three years? I’ve got to wait three MORE years? I’ve already put in seven terrible seasons, and now I’ve got to wait upwards of three MORE?
That’s the mindset of most Mariners fans out there right now. It’s not enough to have hope. Wish in one hand and shit in the other, you know? So, when I read articles like this one, with a headline: “Mariners Going Forward With What They Have Got”, it’s a little depressing! This is a team that won the third-fewest games last season. And, pretty much, all we did was trade a hotshot pitching prospect for a hotshot hitting prospect. That’s it! Everything else is almost exactly the same as what we finished with last season.
And make no mistake, what we finished with last season wasn’t all that spectacular. Our starting pitching took a REAL hit by losing Fister and Bedard to trade. Tack onto that losing Pineda and what are we talking about here? Felix and pray for 4 days of rain? With a batting lineup that hinges ENTIRELY on young players developing into steady pros.
I wish I could sit here and think fondly about 2015, when all of these caterpillars MIGHT turn into butterflies, but haven’t I already suffered enough?
I really wish I was a brand new Seattle Mariners fan. Then, the words Bill Bavasi would have no meaning to me. I wouldn’t know who Richie Sexson or Jarrod Washburn were. And I’d get to grow up idolizing guys like Felix Hernandez and Dustin Ackley (instead of the guys I used to idolize, who are long gone from the MLB landscape).
On the plus side, it’s only going to be three years until something great might happen. On the downside, it’s been 10+ years since the LAST great thing happened. With that kind of history, with that kind of heartbreak, it’s hard to believe that ANYTHING good will EVER happen.
But, I’ll tell you what, there better be a fucking point to all of this! No fanbase deserves to go through what we’ve gone through without there being a light at the end of the tunnel. If it isn’t with this core group of prospects, I don’t know how much longer I can hang on. The futility of rooting for a team that’s never going to win a God damn thing is too monumentally tragic to even think about.
I’m like a seven year old kid, and the Mariners winning a World Series championship is like Santa Claus. I’m at the point where I have a pretty good idea that he doesn’t exist, but I’m willing to give it one more go-around just to be on the safe side. But, at some point, I’m going to grow out of believing in this bullshit and find something better to do with my years than constantly obsess over some stupid shit that isn’t real.
Help me believe, Mariners. Help me keep that youthful innocence. I don’t want to be a jaded teenager, but I fear you’ll give me no other choice.