Originally posted on NorthWest Sports Beat  |  Last updated 1/29/13
Smell The Spring The Seattle Mariners opened up Safeco field over the weekend to 18,000 loyal fans. An ever-shifting club like the Mariners desperately needs fans to re-engage if they want to kick-start the season. Walking into Safeco this past weekend helped to show everything the franchise is doing to accomplish just that. Even through the 2013 season doesn’t feel all that promising, just feeling the energy and enthusiasm in the park from the youngest of fans helped to just make people smile. Seattle fans need to smile more, and Seattle players desperately need to see those smiles as well. All that being said, here are five things to smile about that were illuminated at FanFest: 1. Things are happening For so long it has seemed that the Mariners have been stuck in the past. Safeco Field was built in the golden era of Seattle baseball, sandwiched in between the miracle seasons of 1995 and 2001. For the longest time it seemed like the Mariners had gone from “refuse to lose” to “refuse to win” with short-sited trades of top draft picks for players aging out and a constant stream of “rebuilding” messages. Now the Mariners are addressing the present needs (agree with them or not) by moving in the outfield walls. At FanFest, you couldn’t help but notice the major construction came from moving in those wall. It was an acknowledgement of a new direction for the club. A new future. Michael Morse and Jack Zduriencik participated in the Mariners 2013 FanFest. (Photo: Ben VanHousten/Mariners) 2. The Mariners have some quality guys on the roster A lot of pro athletic teams have guys that don’t play well with others. FanFest really illuminated one of the Mariners’ strengths in recruiting players that can be good role models on and off the field. Part of this may just be caused from the Mariners young staff, but even the Seattle greats like Jay Buhner and Dan Wilson help things lean in that direction. Now it would be nice if they were a little bit better ON the field as well as off, but if you can get to know these players as real people,than some of the bad attitudes of fans stop and we can just enjoy the baseball games together. 3. Happy fans are important to the Mariners One of the things that really impressed me about FanFest was how much great stuff there was to do for a low price. There was a zip line across the outfield, fly ball competitions, photo ops, giveaways, lots of interactions with players, autograph sessions and even touring of the Mariners’ clubhouse. On top of that was seeing the Mariners’ addition of the new top-of-the-line scoreboard in center field and the new open-air restaurant field level in left field. The fan experience is going to be better than ever in 2013. 4. Honest dialogue Many players came and sat on top of the dugout just to chat with the fans. I admired their accessibility as well as their willingness to own up to their weaknesses and talk about what they were doing to get stronger. Some clubs would try to hide that. The Mariners embraced it. I can stay a fan of a team that is honest. 5. There is hope I don’t understand most of what the Mariners are doing this off season, to be honest, but I do see that there are a bunch of guys on that team that truly believe they have what it takes to be something special. Only time will tell, but at Fanfest you don’t see stats and you don’t judge the numbers—you see the game through the eyes of a child and remember that this game is all about the magic of the unpredictable. There is hope in that unpredictability because you never know when something special might happen. Hopefully it is in 2013. CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT THE SEATTLE MARINERS CLUBHOUSE AT NWSB!
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Did Lakers commit tampering violation with Magic’s tweets?

Larry Bird, Pacers don’t sound committed to Frank Vogel

Justin Verlander, Kate Upton are engaged

Josh Norman: Odell Beckham Jr. ‘trying to steal my bologna’

JJ Hardy reportedly out 6-8 weeks with fractured left foot

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Title game hero Kris Jenkins returning to Villanova

University of Illinois is finally ready to find a new mascot

Luke Walton: D’Angelo Russell ‘can be a perennial All-Star’

Myles Jack: Fall out of first round was ‘humiliating’

Report: Dodgers’ Josh Ravin facing 80-game PED suspension

Sanchez views Broncos drafting QB as vote of confidence

Some questions about Space Jam 2 that need answers

Durant talks about getting name-drop on Drake's album

Hulk Hogan suing Gawker for leaking tape of racist rant

Randy Johnson to have street at Chase Field named after him

Five bizarre moments in Round 2 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs

Barry Trotz is disappointed with Brooks Orpik suspension

Lou Lamoriello hopes the Leafs never get the first pick again

Questions for the second-round NBA playoffs series

Softball team loses title due to premature celebration

After avoiding losing, the Raptors can focus on winning

How the Sharks have 'weathered the storm' against the Predators

Seahawks GM says no one will wear Lynch's No. 24

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Five bizarre moments in Round 2 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs

How the Sharks have 'weathered the storm' against the Predators

Okay, who stole the Kansas City Royals player off that billboard?

Eight players to watch in Round 2 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs

A Round-By-Round Look At the NFL Draft

10 biggest takeaways from the NBA playoffs thus far

QUIZ: Name every No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft since 1985

NHL postseason Round 2 quick hits: Sharks vs. Predators

NHL postseason Round 2 quick hits: Blues vs. Stars

NHL postseason Round 2 quick hits: Capitals vs. Penguins

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker