The Mariners are not a storied franchise. Outside of about a decade, they’ve been consistently terrible. If one wishes to hold a pessimistic view, one might say that it took five Hall of Famers to make any kind of difference, and it still wasn’t enough to take them to the World Series.
None of this is news to Mariner fans. Losing is difficult to miss. The last decade has been disheartening and pathetic, the only bright spots two winning but mediocre season and the brilliance of Ichiro and Felix Hernandez. Not a lot more can be said of the last ten seasons of Mariner baseball. There are moments, of course, like the combined no-hitter and every Brendan Ryan double play, and personal favorites like Bucky Jacobson or Adrian Beltre and his idiosyncracies. There is certainly no winning, though.
There still isn’t much winning, but all of a sudden the Mariners are interesting, for the first time since about 2003. The young talent is finally showing results, not just potential, and the team looks like it might be close to the proverbial corner. Whether they can turn it, and how far toward success it will actually lead them, remains to be seen, but there is as much reason for hope as Mariner fans have seen in a long time.
It feels like a crossroads, so I want to take time to look both back and forward. The past decade has been well-chronicled, but I think it’s worth looking to see how the Mariners reached this point, both the good and the bad. It’s easy to forget everything that’s happened, and what some of the circumstances were that led to decisions and changes. I think it also helps fans get a bearing on what might be reasonable to expect from the current squad, from players to management.
The future is tied to what this team is now and where it still needs to go. The last few years should have taught us to never assume we know how young players will progress, but we’re hopefully gaining a little clarity on what has been a murk of a roster.
So, all that to say that I’ll have three posts coming in the next week or so. One on the past decade, one on the present, and one on the future. I’d love to get some conversation going in the comments. Hopefully all the fans out there are still holding onto enough hope to see the promise of this team and to enjoy the good moments. And hopefully the team keeps winning at least until I finish this series!
Go Mariners! Believe big!