Hope, as they say, springs eternal. For Seattle Mariner fans over the last decade or so, spring has been the time of year when we could revel in the fact that we weren’t 12 or 13 games out of first and out of the race by June.  In mid March our dreams of a ’95 like run down the stretch to the AL West pennant and playoff baseball have not yet been shattered by reality. (I can’t believe that I am saying this, but for those of you too young to recall, the 1995 Mariners, the team that had Ken Griffey Jr., Edgar Martinez, Randy Johnson and Jay Buhner, made a thrilling mad dash to the AL West pennant coming from 13 games back at the beginning of August to defeat the Angels in a 1 game playoff and then the Yankees in a first round playoff series. That ‘95 team and season saved baseball in Seattle.) But, don’t look now Mariner fans, if the team’s early Cactus League results mean anything, this could be the season we start to shed the last decade’s worth of failed hope.

Ken Griffey Jr.

Ken Griffey Jr.

Yes…to this reporter it looks as if the Mariners definitely have something brewing down in Peoria. As of yesterday’s games they have won 8 straight and the highlight has been, unwontedly, the offense. For a team with the worst plate skills in baseball over the last 3 seasons this is definitely a good sign. Through 9 spring games thus far the Mariners have bashed 20 home runs while making nothing of opposing pitching in the process. They are scoring runs in bunches and are winning games. They currently have something like 16 players hitting .300 or better so far this spring (11 are better than .400). Justin Smoak, Jason Bay and Franklin Gutierrez particularly have all looked good and Bay is showing signs of returning to the form that made him a National League All Star several season ago. He seems to have a good idea at the plate, isn’t swinging at bad pitches and leads the team in walks, on base percentage and “on base plus slugging” percentage through these first 9 games. Overall it has been an impressive start to the spring for the Seattle Mariners.

Justin Smoak

Justin Smoak

Of course the pessimist in me points out that Major League history is littered with teams that had great springs that then went hollow when the regular season started. Such facts reinforce that something about the mind that wallows in the negative and tugs at our hope to bring it down. Contrasting this, however, is the fact that every now and then the miraculous manifests, like it did for the Mariners in ’95. For me as a Mariner fan, those are the moments I choose to put my attention on. Those are the moments that give me hope.

And hope, after all, does spring eternal…doesn’t it?   Go M’s!


Copyright © 2013
By Mark Arnold
All Rights Reserved

 

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