Sep 18, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Seattle Mariners second baseman Dustin Ackley (13) makes a catch of a ball hit by Detroit Tigers left fielder Don Kelly (not pictured) in the fifth inning at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
If you’ve ever read something I’ve posted here on Sodo Mojo, you can probably guess to a pretty high degree of certainty who my favorite current Mariner is (hint: he’s the one gracefully snagging that baseball in center field while simultaneously sporting a beard every lumberjack ought to be proud of).
Still confused? Dustin Ackley is my favorite Mariner. This last offseason I even sent a couple of rookie cards down to Peoria for him to sign during Spring Training. He autographed them, but the super script read: to Charlie. I almost cried that day I was so happy. And who knows, maybe the envelope I sent those baseball cards in was used in the Mariners commercial about Dustin Ackley’s dedicated fans.
That’s the kind of excitement that can be generated by a fan’s favorite player. When I was little it was backup catcher Tommy Lampkin (it’s a long story), and more recently it’s been Ack. And for some reason one can never really, absolutely, justify why there favorite player is the best ever. Unless you’re fair weather and decide to make your favorite player one of the best ever. Which is lame.
But I digress. Today I tried to talk to various Mariners fans I know (with varying degrees of success) to get an idea of where loyalties lie in regards to the favoritism of the Mariners current roster.
On this 2013 roster there are a number of what I like to call ‘staple’ favorites. King Felix is the name I heard most often from the people I talked to. And for the casual Mariners fan, there is no reason not to love the Cy Young winner who continues to put up great numbers every year while time and time again defending and expressing his love for Seattle and for the Mariners. If Ackley wasn’t so handsome and so serious at the plate, Felix would likely be my favorite Mariner.
The second most common name seemed to be Kyle Seager, which is saying a lot in regards to his notoriety since the beginning of last season. Many dedicated M’s fans thought 2012 was too soon for Seager to play in the majors. Now, after almost 2 years in the Bigs, he is one of the most consistent and genuine players on the team. You see his jersey and his tee-shirt worn often around the great North West. But unfortunately, he is still a year or two away from MLB-wide recognition.
After those two usually comes Dustin Ackley, whose publicity and ‘high-ceiling’ has made him a sexy pick as a favorite since 2011. That is even despite the terrible time he had in 2012 and into the beginning of 2013. His face is still marketable, and so are his defensive skills, so it is no surprise he is still a fan favorite.
From this moment onwards is where it started to get interesting. When I was asking people about their player allegiances, I tried to make it as clear as possible that I was talking about current Mariners. Now most people had the wherewithal to NOT say Ken Griffey, Jr. or Jamie Moyer or God forbid A-Rod. But, some people still said Ichiro, even though he hasn’t been a Mariner for a year and a half now.
What’s more surprising is when you go to a Mariners home game and you still see more Ichiro shirts than Hisashi Iwakuma shirts. Matt touched on Iwakuma’s lack of attention earlier this week.
Continuing down the list I got some votes for the Condor (Michael Saunders), a few for Mike Zunino, and a couple split between our rookie infield pair of Brad Miller and Nick Franklin.
What surprised me though is that I only had one person name Smoak as a personal favorite. And I think that comes in large part because his faltering and lack of return as a trade-piece thus far has been meticulously publicized.
The one that got me the biggest smile, though, was when someone said “Lord Farquhar from Shrek”, referring to Danny Farquhar, the Mariners closer who came onto the scene midseason (and was a part of the trade that sent Ichiro to New York!)
In the end it doesn’t matter what other people think about your favorite Mariner. It doesn’t matter what they think of your favorite baseball players past, present, or future (if you are psychic or something like that).
Fandom is a funny thing that really can’t be explained. I think that’s a good thing– as long as people don’t rag on Ackley, cause otherwise I have no choice but to take them down.
Who is your favorite Mariner? Post who and why in the comments.