Happy belated Thanksgiving to all of you! To honor the wonderful day (that passed a few days ago), I would like to metaphorically raise my glass to five wonderful events from this last year of Mariner baseball.
The Parting of “Friends”
Note that “friends” is in quotation marks. I did not shed a single tear between the release of Chone Figgins or the trades of Ichiro and Brandon League. Figgins was an absolute disaster with the Mariners, and I feel relieved to know that I will never have to look at him wear a Seattle Mariner uniform again.
Ichiro did a lot of good things for the Mariner organization and the city of Seattle during his stint here, but it was time for him to go. He was no longer contributing to the team’s success and he seemed to cast a negative spell over the locker room. Following Ichiro’s departure, the team excelled which proved that parting with him was the right decision.
Although his stats were not terrible, Brandon League gave every Mariner fan a heart attack every time he stepped on the mound. There was no such thing as a save without suspense for League, and most were glad to see him sent to Los Angeles were he can no longer scare us. The fact that we got a few decent prospects in return was just the icing on the cake.
I am very thankful that each of those players are no longer Seattle Mariners.
The Making of History
On August fifteenth, King Felix threw the 23rd perfect game in baseball history. All of us got to witness history and one of the finest moments in Mariner history. His performance that afternoon was absolutely masterful and the fan reaction was very exciting as well. For Felix’ following start, Safeco Field filled with fans, and the King’s court was spread throughout the whole stadium. I hadn’t seen that much energy in Safeco in almost a decade. The fan base needed the boost that the perfect game gave, and I’m sure all of us are thankful that Felix achieved perfection that day.
The Coming of New Players
This year’s MLB Draft was very productive for the Mariners. The third overall pick, Mike Zunino, had a phenomenal first year in the minor leagues. His .538 wOBA and 234 wRC+ in short season Everett confirmed his status as a prospect and he is now ranked the 44th best prospect in baseball and 3rd best catching prospect. There were several other good selections made in the draft. Names like Joe DeCarlo, Tyler Pike, Patrick Kivlehan, Chris Taylor, and Timothy Lopes have already started to gain attention just months after being drafted by Seattle.
The Stadium Alterations
The fences are moving in! This has been an idea tossed around by Mariner fans for years. While there are pros and cons to the change, the Seattle offense which has been at the bottom of the league for years, will certainly get some help from the shorter fences, but the pitching staff will struggle more. However, considering the strong future of the pitching staff, I feel confident that we will continue to have a solid staff and still get more run production from the batters. The smaller field also allows Seattle to pursue and attract top free agent bats. This was a very good all-around move for the organization.
Tired of being in the division cellar? At least for now, the Marines will no longer be the worst team in the AL West with the Astros around. Having the 107-loss Astros in the west will also mean that Seattle will have more games against the poor Houston team and far less against the three good teams in the division.
Overall, there has been a lot to be thankful for over the past year, and I hope that we will have many more things to express our gratefulness for in a year from now.