Off the top of my head, I’m going to say, “Now.” Now is too early to get excited about the Seattle Mariners.
We’re three games in! One full series! Granted, it was a series sweep, on the road, against the hated Angels, where we beat them 26-8 over the three games (likely 26-6 if Hector Noesi didn’t exist), but come on now! I know we’re starved for quality baseball, after languishing in the wastelands of perpetual mediocrity, but let’s not go nuts.
There are a lot of things we don’t know – a lot of things we CAN’T know – until we start playing some other teams. Like, for instance: are the Angels just REALLY REALLY bad? Josh Hamilton sure looks like a $125 million clusterfuck at the plate. Albert Pujols looks like the least-fearsome #3 hitter in the American League. Raul Ibanez is their mother-pooping designated hitter for crying out loud! That fountain of youth must have dried up at the All Star Break last year and is showing no signs of returning. And their pitching … YE GODS THEIR PITCHING! I’ve seen a better collection of arms at the World Leprosy Foundation’s annual “Give ‘Em A Hand” Conference.
That franchise is straight-up broken, son. And I couldn’t be happier that it’s happening sooner than we all anticipated. The way I see it, Albert Pujols was always going to turn into an albatross with that contract; but who could have seen him being this bad this soon? Ditto Hamilton. If everyone wants to sit there and tell the Seattle Mariners, “Robinson Cano by himself won’t magically turn you into a winning ballclub,” well, I’ve got some sour news for you, Jack: Mike Trout by himself won’t magically turn the Angels into a winning ballclub. Couldn’t have happened to a douchier-looking guy. Mike Trout may spend every waking moment outside of baseball volunteering at soup kitchens, but as for me, I’m always going to picture him going up to random guys at bars, saying, “I boned your girlfriend. It was a while back; she was just all right. But, hey, good for you, bro …”
Anyway, getting back, I think there are two different ways to read that title. It’s never too early to be excited, I suppose. But, it’s certainly too early to start booking your World Series tickets. Unless you were one of the few people out there projecting 90+ wins before the season started, I think you should probably pump your brakes and not get too insane over three games. Relish the start, for sure! After all, the Angels just played their opening three games at home and were trounced in all three; that’s hilarious! The Mariners could go right in the tank starting tonight in Oakland and we’ll still always have those first three games that proved to everyone how over-rated the Angels really are.
And, I’ll tell you why you should probably hold off on your enthusiasm; five words: Roenis Elias and Chris Young. These 3-0 Mariners we’re all falling over ourselves to praise could just as easily be 3-2 by the time Felix hits the mound on Saturday. At least with Ramirez and Paxton, we had a little idea of what they could potentially deal on any given night. I’ve never even HEARD of Elias until the last couple weeks of Spring Training, and I’m pretty sure I’ve only seen Chris Young pitch the one game in my life, and that was the final Spring Training outing last week. Granted, I can’t guarantee they’ll be terrible – I can’t guarantee they’ll be Brandon Maurer and Jeremy Bonderman – but I also can’t get too pie-in-the-sky until I actually see them do something worthwhile in a game that matters.
Plus, let’s face it, the Athletics’ lineup isn’t as pathetic and top-heavy as the Angels’. There may not be many superstars, but the A’s are straight-up steady. They’re going to work counts, grind out at-bats, and all that other good clichéd stuff you hear about. And, just when you think you’re going to get out of a jam … BAM! 3-run home run. Happens every time …
The great thing is: we’ve got a 4-game series. And one of those games features Felix, who absolutely DESTROYS the A’s (now, watch us go 3-1 with the only loss coming in that Felix game). If you ask me, I’d take a 2-2 series split right now, no questions asked, and consider this first road trip a rousing success. 5-2, coming back home to play the Angels again in a 2-game series? Oh yeah, I’d consider that a perfect way to start a season.
I’ll tell you what I’m feeling right now. Before the season, I was pretty down on this team, as I think I had every right to be. Right now, I’m guarded. I want to believe! I really do! But, I’m going to need to see the Mariners play at least one other team before I start making any bold proclamations. But, I’ll tell you what, if we get through this Oakland series with the Mariners going 3-1 or 4-0, with their offense looking just as mighty as it did in Anaheim and the young pitching continuing to deal … so help me, I may need to pee my pants.
Let’s do this! Let’s get me to pee my pants! ‘Merica!