As we continue to wait for any indication of when our beloved Mariners will get to play a baseball game, March 20th was the day that kicked it all off just one year ago.
That’s right, just one year ago, we got up at 2 AM to watch our Seattle Mariners take on the Oakland A’s as they opened the season playing in Japan. The trip had special meaning since it would be the last time the legend Ichiro Suzuki would take the field in an MLB game. But the real fireworks involving Ichiro were still a day away. The real storyline of the day was that Major League Baseball was back and the rebuild was officially underway.
The Opening Day lineup that manager Scott Servais put out there really was something else. The infield consisted of Ryon Healy at third base, Tim Beckham at shortstop, Dee Gordon at second, and Jay Bruce at first base. Omar Narvaez was the catcher. Fast forward one year, and only Gordon remains in the organization.
The outfield consisted of Domingo Santana, Mitch Haniger, and Ichiro, while Edwin Encarnacion handled the DH duties. Of the 9 offensive players in the lineup 365 days ago, only 2 remain. Marco Gonzales took the ball against Mike Fiers.
Gonzales would set the tone for a solid season for himself, going 6 innings and giving up 3 earned runs. Tim Beckham was the offensive hero, going 3-3 with a home run, a walk, and 2 RBI. Interestingly, Hunter Strickland would lock down the save with a scoreless ninth, one of just 2 saves he would record with the Mariners.
Seattle took the win 9-7 as Ichiro exited the field after his second plate appearance. In retrospect, perhaps the most prominent part of this game was the complaining of many fans about the time and location of Opening Day. Now, just one year later, how much would you sacrifice to be talking about the 2020 Mariners opening their season today?
Life can come at you fast and sometimes a reminder to be grateful for what you have is a valuable lesson to be taught. Better days are ahead for us, so long as we keep moving forward. We can weather this storm and get back to a normal life. After all, we don’t have to wake up at 2 AM to make it happen.