Seattle Mariners fans should feel what, about Ichiro Suzuki being traded?
Now I know that he asked to be traded, but this dude was still the adopted hometown hero. You would think there would be some type of outrage toward the Mariners front office, especially since he was traded to a team who they were playing that night at home. However living in Seattle, I don’t get that feeling from the fan base. I walked the clean streets of Seattle after the trade expecting to find some kind of outrage. Maybe some sort of energy efficient fire burning outside of Safeco Field, but that doesn’t seem to be the sentiment. Now I didn’t really get a chance to take the temperature of the fan base, because I’m not sure where the fan base is. I guess it’s the 500 people that actually show up to the games. At the same time if a fan base consists of 500 people, is that fan base?
It’s my assertion that the Mariners front office has destroyed the Mariner fan. They were able to do this with the power of Ichiro Suzuki. Suzuki gave them the ability to sell baseball to the Asian community in Seattle and overseas, regardless of wins and loses. Consequently they were able to make money without having to put a winning product on the field. So while it was great to watch a Hall of Famer go H.A.M. and slap singles. Ichiro became a crutch for an organization that is only concerned with lining their pockets.
Once upon a time the Mariners were a great team. In 2001, they tied the record for the most regular season wins of all time. Management could have easily kept that going by investing in talented players. Attracting free agents to Seattle would have been no problem. Who doesn’t want to play in city as great as Seattle? You have loyal fans, a safe place for a family, and outside chance that to steal donuts with Golden Tate. Sure they may have lost players like Alex Rodriguez who were just ready to leave, but they could have acquired players like Prince Fielder. That type of free agent who wants to get paid and play ball. They could have been the American League version of the San Francisco Giants. Instead they decided to continually cut payroll and sell off talent for dudes that can’t play (please see Justin Smoak). And they were able to do that because they were leaning on Ichiro.
Now that Ichiro is gone I expect the Mariners organization to do one of two things. Either they will be forced by the lack of support by a frustrated fan base to build a quality team, or they will be the Kansas City Royals. I believe that they should invest in free agents and be committed to winning. It would be so easy to be great in Seattle. You have one of the top 3 stadiums in the League and nothing else to compete against. You can say the Seahawks are competition, but if the Mariners are in the playoffs hunt. The 12th man will trickle over to Safeco. There’s no rush to see 3 yards and a cloud of dust. They could brand Seattle as a baseball city, and become the number one team. Or they can continue to torture their fan base.
As a Cleveland sports fan. I am an expert in diagnosing a tortured fan base, and the Mariner fans definitely qualify. I know people will point to the fact that they don’t show up to games, but who wants to pay to see a Triple-A baseball team (unless the Yankees are in town…too soon?). When your power hitter in Justin Smoak, is hitting below .200 and striking out more than a chubby chick at a frat party. What’s the point in going to watching? If you want to pay to have pain inflicted on you, sign up for a circumcision study.
To be taken advantage of while having the allusion that you are building something can fun. However when the crutch is finally gone, and you realize that there is only one major league player in the lineup, there has to be some kind of anger; Perhaps an energy efficient fire outside of Safeco Field. Then again if ownership doesn’t care, why should the fan. Just bid farewell to Ichiro the same way you did Randy Johnson and Ken Griffey Jr. and continue to not support terrible ownership by showing up to games. Maybe then they will invest in a viable team instead of slap hitting crutch.
Kortney Shane Williams
Editor-in-Chief of Comedic Prose
Follow Kortney Williams on Twitter @kortneyshane