Mariners Go Back To The Future?
By Dan Hughes
Jun 6, 2013; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Mariners former designated hitter Edgar Martinez throws out the ceremonial first pitch prior to the game against the New York Yankees at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
Did you know that we are just about two years away from the year that Marty McFly went ahead to the future in Back to the Future II? Where are the flying cars and the hoverboards?
It’s truly amazing to watch that movie (which hit theaters in 1989) and see how many things we have now that are technologically advanced then those depicted in the film. But we still don’t have flying cars.
I bring this up because there are many theories surrounding how the Mariners should fix their team and get back to the postseason. I have been offering up my five-part plan in a series titled “GM For A Day” in which I have revealed Part One and Part Two so far.
Others have suggested bringing in Joey Cora as manager, bringing back Lou Pinella or any number of other moves that involve former Mariners players, either because they can actually help or to increase ticket sales.
So I thought, let’s take it a step further and look at what the season would look like if we brought back many of the more influential players from 1995-2003 (their last 90+ win season). First, let’s introduce the cast of characters for our little story.
Manager: Mike Blowers– As Shannon Drayer pointed out the other day on her blog;
"How many times have we heard Blowers call a play before it happens? He sees the game before it happens. It is called baseball smarts and he has it to the nth degree."
So let’s give him a shot. It’s worked for other former players, so why not him?
Hitting coach: Edgar Martinez– Who else? One of the greatest hitters of our generation. If you were a young ballplayer coming up in the Mariners organization, wouldn’t you want to learn from ‘Gar?
Pitching coach: Randy Johnson– This was tough for me. You could argue for Jaime Moyer. I personally think Dan Wilson would make an amazing pitching coach, but since I have installed him as my Director of Player Development in my GM series, I can’t put him here. So, I would suggest the most intimidating starting pitcher the Mariners organization has ever known.
3rd base and 1st base coaches: Harold Reynolds and Ken Griffey Jr.- I would have Harold be the 1st base coach, to help read pitchers and get the running game going. I would put Junior at 3rd, to read the play and judge the arms of outfielders determining whether or not to send runners to score.
Strength and conditioning coach: Jay Buhner– If Bone said do ten more reps in the gym, would you say no to him?
Now, let’s take a look how the season would go, keeping in mind, this is a total work of fiction.
March 31, 2014- The Seattle Mariners win Opening Day in Anaheim against the Angels 3-0. Felix Hernandez pitches seven shutout innings
September 9, 2013; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Tim Lincecum (55) delivers a pitch against the Colorado Rockies during the first inning at AT
and the bullpen holds as pitching coach Randy Johnson threatens every reliever with bodily harm for every blown save in 2014.
April 8- The Mariners win the home opener at Safeco as Tim Lincecum makes his first start in his home state as a member of his hometown team. Jacoby Ellsbury and Justin Smoak each homer in the win. Hitting coach Edgar Martinez says after the game, “I told them to go for the gaps. I wanted them to hit doubles. We have a lot of work to do.”
May 8- After returning from a long road trip, the Mariners fall to 20-15 after an extra-inning loss to the Royals. The winning run could’ve scored for the Mariners in the bottom of the 9th, but 3rd-base coach Ken Griffey Jr. was caught napping and failed to send Dustin Ackley to score from second on a long single. After the game, Griffey avoided reporters and called the team hours later to resign his position, saying he was on his way home to Florida.
May 31- The one bright spot for the M’s this season has been the fact that no one has landed on the DL thus far. A tribute to new conditioning coach Jay Buhner, who also threatened to shave anyone’s head if they got hurt.
June 28- Game 81. Halfway through the season and the Mariners are 43-39. They sit ten games behind Oakland for the AL West lead.
July 15- The Mariners send Felix Hernandez, Dustin Ackley and Hisashi Iwakuma to Minnesota for the All-Star Game. The rest of the team is left to ponder their 49-46 record and how they are going to make up a 12-game hole behind Oakland (eight behind Anaheim for 2nd).
July 28- Feeling the pressure of yet another looming losing season, GM Jack Zduriencik trades newly-acquired Jacoby Ellsbury and Tim Lincecum, along with two minor leaguers to the New York Yankees for Alex Rodriguez and Ichiro Suzuki.
July 29- Seeing the trades as a sign of giving up the 2014 season, manager Mike Blowers decides to take matters into his own hands and holds a staff-only meeting to discuss the remaining two months of the season.
July 30- Blowers designates himself as a player/manager and demands Zduriencik place him and all of the members on his staff on the 25-man roster. The lineup for that game in Cleveland looks like this:
1- RF Ichiro
2- 3B Blowers
3- LF Jay Buhner
4- DH Edgar Martinez
5- SS Alex Rodriguez
6- 2B Harold Reynolds
7- C Dan Wilson
8- 1B Justin Smoak
9- CF Dustin Ackley
SP- Randy Johnson
The Mariners win the game 11-1 to improve to 56-52.
Aug 31- Game 136. The Mariners finish the month of August with the best record in baseball at 21-6. They now have a record of 77-58 and are only four games back of Oakland for the AL West. Edgar is batting .415, A-Rod has 12 homers in August and Randy Johnson posts an ERA of 0.24 for the month.
Sept 28- Game 162. The Mariners continue their hot play into September, but are cooled off a bit by an 11-game road trip away from the raucous Safeco fans. They finish the season against the Angels with a 5-0 win to finish the season at 95-67, tied with the Athletics for the AL West lead. A one-game playoff will be played in Oakland.
Sept 29- The Mariners trail the A’s in the top of the 9th, 3-2. Ichiro led off the inning with a hit and stole 2nd. He came around and scored on a bloop single by Mike Blowers. Blowers was lifted for Joey Cora as a pinch-runner. Cora steals second and moves to third on a wild-pitch. After Buhner strikes out, Edgar hits a liner to left that Yoenis Cespedes picks up and fires towards home. Cora just beats the play at the plate and is mobbed at home as the M’s take the lead.
In the bottom of the 9th, Norm Charlton comes in from the bullpen on a bullpen cart. He strikes out the side on nine pitches and the Mariners have won the west.
Oct. 4- The Mariners have been swept out of the American League Division Series by the Yankees. Tim Lincecum pitches a no hitter in Game One, Jacoby Ellsbury bats .675 for the series and none of the games are close.
Flash back to now. Well, there you go. That’s what would happen if the Glory Boys of the 90’s came back to steer the ship in 2014. It may end with an early exit from the playoffs. But wouldn’t you take that over what will more than likely happen in 2014?
I know I would. Now take it home Macklemore: