Seattle Mariners Look Forward To Next Year


Last night I saw Moneyball.  All the reviews I’ve read seem to be split right down the middle.  You either love it or you hate it.  On one hand, it is a movie.  There are characters, there is a plot and there is conflict.  Whether or not you enjoy watching the development of the characters and plot is solely up to your own volition.  One of the major problems some critics had with this film was the plot.  For the casual fan, there was nothing to grab onto.  Baseball is full of jargon and formulas, and it can be easy for someone who is unfamiliar with that vernacular to get lost in it.  It’s simple, yet complicated.

On the other hand, it is a baseball movie.  There are players, there is a goal and there are the opposing clubs. The emergence of the Bill James school of thought is comparable to a deus ex machina event.  There are players that are real, events that really happened.  If you are familiar with all of the jargon of formulas, this movie will probably be a treat for you.  In the end, it comes down to the story.  The tribulations, the trials.  The unbelievable journey of the 2002 Oakland Athletics.  A good story makes a good movie.

It ended tonight.  Tonight, the Mariners faithful get to hop onto another team’s bandwagon.  There are many stories to follow this season.  This season will be remembered for many things, both good and bad.  We’ll remember the debut of Michael Pineda.  We’ll remember the seventeen-game losing streak.  We’ll remember taking two out of three against the Yankees at home.  We’ll remember losing two out of three against the Yankees on the road.

We’ll remember playing the a National League game at Safeco Field.  We’ll remember Felix walking off of the field hurt.

Twelve Major League debuts happened this year.  Fifty-nine starts were made by rookies this year.

Dustin Ackley showed us that he could be Dustin Ackley.  Chone Figgins showed us that he can’t be Chone Figgins again.

This isn’t going to be a recap of the entire season.  The season deserves more than one post.  As much as we dreaded watching this team on the field, there is hope.  It’s a growing process.  It’s a continuous process.  It’s a step forward, and it’s a step forward in the right direction.  This year turned out to be exactly what this year was supposed to be: we got to take a look at the Mariners youth.  This is a rebuilding process.

You either love it or you hate it.

This was the type of game that has plagued the Mariners for as long as I can remember.  They only scratched across two hits against Gio Gonzalez.  Out of the 27 outs that any major league team can make, 12 of the Mariners outs today came via the strikeout.  Even worse, the Mariners could only draw three walks.  One of the things that has to improve is plate discipline.  The Mariners won’t be able to win ball games if they can’t get on base.  This is something that has to be fixed going into next season.  I hope Ackley can fill that role. Dustin Ackley gets on base. His slash line ends at .273/.352/.422.  Zduriencik has found a way to get on base, and that way is Dustin Ackley.

On the other side of the coin, the Mariners bullpen held the Athletics scoreless from the third inning on.  Josh Lueke, Chance Ruffin, Steve Delabar, Tom Wilhelmsen and Shawn Kelley combined for 7.0 IP, 11 K and 1 BB.  Perspective is a funny thing.  Rewind a couple weeks ago, some might’ve considered the pitching staff one of the weaker parts of this ball club.  Fast forward to today, and look at the possibilities.  Kelley didn’t give up a run in any of the ten games in appeared in this year.  In the last ten games, Wilhelmsen has an ERA around 1.69 with 8 K and no walks.  Although the results skew from appearance to appearance, there are possibilities.

To be honest, I can’t wait.  I can’t wait until next year.  I can’t wait until next week!  We can start to dissect this season, look at the idiosyncrasies of the players, extrapolate the information given to us and derive our own conclusions.  This will be fun!

That’s the point of the title of this article: to come up with your own conclusion.  The Mariners 2011 season is what you make of it.  It had its ups.  It definitely had its downs.  It’s how we look back at this season that determines our mindset about the future.

If you missed out on the drama that was on TV tonight, you really missed out.  To set it up, Boston and Tampa Bay were tied in the Wild Card standings.  If both teams won or both teams lost, it would force a one game playoff.  Cut to Tropicana Field.  The players in the Rays dugout and pointing and screaming at the scoreboard.  The fans stand up and erupt with cheers.  Boston lost the last game of their season, and only minutes after that, the Rays walked off against the Yankees, and the Rays clinched the Wildcard berth.  Both games were in extra innings.  It was unbelievable.

This is what we are chasing as Seattle Mariners fans.  We are chasing championships.  It’s been ten years since the Mariners have made the playoffs, and the baseball fans around here are itching for a playoff berth.  That’s why people are so angry and cold about baseball.  The team has played poorly for so long the populous has grown numb.  It’s not just the hardware.  It’s not really the championships we are chasing. It’s something else.  Something more powerful than a championship will ever be.

We are chasing moments.  Moments that last forever.  Moments that stay with a city forever.  Moments that make complete strangers hug.  Moments that make a father and son hug.  Maybe for the first time.  Moments that unite a city.  Moments that will leave you speechless.  Moments that will make you lose your voice.  Moments that remind you that why we love the game.

We are chasing moments.  Baseball is a simple, yet complicated sport.

We are waiting for a good story.


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