The Mariners season is over. It is officially football season in the Pacific Northwest. Good thing all the teams (Seahawks and Huskies or Cougars depending on your locale) have had promising starts to their season. So we can’t be depressed all fall about the Mariners, right?
This is a fun look at the two professional Seattle sports teams. Let’s compare and contrast the Seahawks and the Mariners. There’s a lot to like about both teams. Hopefully the Mariners come to have the recent success of their football comrades.
Front Office Stability
The Seahawks and Mariners are at different points in their organizational development. The Seahawks seem to have “it” down. Whatever “it” is, the Mariners are still trying to find it. Mariners GM, Jerry Dipoto seems to have a good head on his shoulders and is attempting to build towards what GM, John Schneider has with the ‘Hawks. Only time will tell.
The Seahawks have a good track record of signing players off the street and having it work out. Undrafted free agents seem to pan out more often than not. The Mariners seem to swing and miss a lot on signings (see Kendrys Morales, Adrian Beltre, Chone Figgins).
It’s no secret that people in Seattle have obsessed over the Seahawks more than the Mariners in recent years. It’s easy to do so since the Seahawks are still just a few seasons removed from their Super Bowl championship. They also have made the playoffs five of the last six years including two Super Bowl appearances. The Mariners have not made the postseason since 2001.
The Mariners seem to find ways to disappoint the Pacific Northwest time after time. This year has turned out to be no different (although no one can deny it has been a fun run). 2014 was another year of “what-ifs” and “almosts”, and eventually became, “not quite.” Last season was a complete disaster.
Everyone in Seattle loves the thought of being one of the “12s” inside of Century Link Field on Sundays. Fans are foaming at the mouth and cheering for their Seahawks. The average attendance of the “Clink” is around 69,000 when the “supposed” capacity is 67,000. That’s about 103% full. Needless to say, people of the great Pacific Northwest pack Century Link Field to the gills. It is without a doubt the loudest stadium in football.
The Mariners on the other hand struggle to sell out even key weekend games. Their average attendance this season was right around 28,000, 19th in the league. Safeco Field’s capacity is just shy of 48,000. To their credit, that average is the highest since 2008. There has been a buzz at Safeco that has not been there in many years. The atmosphere there is trending in a good direction, but there is still no comparison.
Core Veterans Carrying the Team
The Mariners have had a core of veteran players carry them through this season. Felix Hernandez has been with the team a long time. He and Kyle Seager have been Mariners for life. They also have Robinson Cano (7-time All-Star) and Nelson Cruz (87 HRs in two years in Seattle). That’s a lethal 4-player core that competes with any four players on any other roster. This season at the plate, Cano, Cruz and Seager are having Griffey, Buhner, Martinez-esque seasons. Felix , at times, has looked like his old self, but needs to make adjustments to be a main attraction again. This team lives and dies by the health and productivity of those four players.
The face of the Seahawks is now their quarterback, Russell Wilson. One could argue that even before Wilson burst onto the scene, there was already Richard Sherman. With Marshawn Lynch retired, the Seahawks seem to have a new identity that gravitates around their quarterback. The front office has signed the likes of Wilson, Sherman and Kam Chancellor to long-term deals. Michael Bennett, Earl Thomas and Doug Baldwin can also be thrown into the mix.
The Seahawks have arguably some of the best uniforms in the NFL. The metallic grey with the navy and neon green just looks good. Every Friday in Washington during Seahawks season is “Blue Friday” and all over the region, people don their own Seahawks threads to work or school.
Even their road whites and greys are what the kids these days call, “clean.” The uniforms are also a nod to the city of Seattle’s Native American history, more specifically, the totems around the Northwest. Any time a team portrays a city’s culture and heritage on the uniform, it is a cool thing.
Although a lot of Mariners fans miss the “trident” logo with the baby blue and yellow days, the new look is solid as well. They have had these new white, navy and “Northwest Green” uniforms since the mid-90’s. My personal favorite is the Friday night all-Northwest Green (is it blasphemy to call it teal?) jerseys. I also like the little sparkle inside the number and names. The navy alternate uniforms also look good. The Mariners are in a good place with their threads.
A Cherished History Mostly Unappreciated By Outsiders
Every Mariners fan knows where they were in that moment that saved baseball in Seattle during the 1995 American League Division Series against the Yankees. The walk-off double by Edgar Martinez with Ken Griffey Jr. scoring the series-clinching run. There have been several moments and years of glory that M’s faithful look back on and smile.
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The 2001 season of 116 wins. The days of Griffey and Randy Johnson. The 7 blissful seasons with a young, un-roided up Alex Rodriguez. The back-to-back ALCS trips in 2000 and 2001. Around the sports world, the Mariners history is somewhat unheralded.
The “Big Unit” went into the Hall of Fame wearing a Diamondbacks hat, not Seattle’s. Rodriguez chased money everywhere he went, which never was back to Seattle. Even Griffey passed many milestones while playing for the Reds, not the Mariners. But the fans hold dear to the treasured past of this franchise.
To some of the world, the Seahawks began its existence in 2013. Seahawks fans sometimes get a bad rap for being “bandwagon” or “fair-weathered.” What people don’t seem to know, is that the Seahawks have been in Seattle since 1976. They have had 15 playoff appearances including a total of three Super Bowl appearances, winning the 2014 contest.
They have had Hall of Famers like Steve Largent, Walter Jones and Cortez Kennedy. They have had other big-name players even before the likes of Lynch or Percy Harvin. They had the “Boz” Brian Bosworth (yes, we know how that turned out). They also enjoyed seeing guys like Warren Moon, Jim Zorn and Kenny Easley don a Seahawks helmet. The ‘Hawks went to 5 straight playoffs from 2003-2007 and are looking to tie that streak this year.
So take heart, Seattle fans! The Mariners will be back. March and April will be here before you know it. For now, enjoy the Seahawks ride and also the offseason that GM Jerry Dipoto has in store. There is a lot to like about our Mariners. It’s a good time to be a sports fan in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.