Seattle Mariners: The Two Fan Mindsets for 2019
Well Mariners fans, football is over until the fall. Hard to believe that a month-and-a-half from now, baseball returns. Time to change mindsets. Instead of 60 minutes per Sunday of the fast-paced and grueling pigskin, prep yourself for 162 games of suspense.
Every pitch has its own independent outcome and at any time a hitter can strikeout, homer, or any of the above. When you go to a Mariners game, you don’t know if you’ll witness a no-hitter, a 20-run affair, or a walk-off win. The endless possibility of outcomes gives baseball it’s a charm.
So how should us Mariner fans feel heading into 2019? Two potential fan mindsets come to mind. With all the turnover we have witnessed this offseason, how will you approach it? Let’s look at the first approach:
This mindset is not recommended for true Mariner fans. Your first instinct will be to follow the team less or in slang terms, “check out.” We’re one of two teams left to never win a pennant, we have the longest active playoff drought in all of the pro sports, and most of last year’s roster is dearly departed elsewhere. What’s the point in sticking around?
When certain names were traded away, you find yourself sick to your stomach with what could have been. The 2018 squad was so close to returning to October. The team was full of experienced sluggers and veterans. You find yourself asking why the heck did Jerry Dipoto dismantle that team and not wait for this team out? You look at this rebuild as management giving up and you wonder if, as a fan, you should give up.
If you even hear the Mariners mentioned, you think “I’m not in the mood for another rebuild. The games won’t mean anything. We won’t feel the fun of contending. I won’t even recognize the team.”
You’re so sad about who the team has traded away that you say “Who cares about Jay Bruce, Tim Beckham, and Mallex Smith? I want the old guys back!” Due to your fan grief, you aren’t willing to accept the team and you tell your friends you won’t follow. You aren’t willing to give the new Mariner faces a chance and you view them all as second-rate players.
You’ve ultimately given up on the Mariners due to being unsure of which direction they’re headed. Despite how fun and interactive Mariner games are, you swear you aren’t going to T-Mobile Park at all this season. But doesn’t that all sound a bit fair weather?
Though the 2018 team contended for most of the season and gave us the thrill of a playoff race, Mariner fans need to do a difficult thing. Instead of whining about the fire sale, except that this is a new team. Accept that Jerry Dipoto valued long-term prospects over under-achieving veterans.
Take stock in the young studs we acquired. Take stock in the fact that the 2019 team probably won’t be as good as the 2018’s. Take stock in the fact that with a younger and less experienced team comes patience as a fan. Take stock in the fact that you’ll likely watch your team play spoiler instead of for a playoff berth.
Take stock in the fact that we’ll be in a race for third or fourth place instead of a first or wild card. Take stock in that you won’t see as many one-run wins go our way they did last season.
As hard as it is to say and with so many dark seasons behind us, stay tuned in to the Mariners! It’s okay to depressed and frustrated while staying loyal. That’s what being a fan is all about, it’s not linear but an adventure! Go to T-Mobile Park and support your team. You may not recognize most of the guys but they’re who you have to give them a chance.