Found October 10, 2013 on NorthWest Sports Beat:
Another season, another let down One thing can be said about the consistency of the Seattle Mariners over the past decade, but I can’t morally write it in this article. I love this team with all my heart, and will never turn my back on them, but management is starting to sound like the boy who cried wolf with all of their empty promises. Honestly, I have faith in some of the youngsters, but I don’t see any championships coming any time soon in the pacific northwest. So with all the doom and gloom out of the way, let’s look back at the best moments of the past season. 10: Hot spring The Mariners had one of the best springs in recent memory, crushing the ball out of every park in Arizona. There was wonder if they could continue that type of power display in the dense air of Seattle, and they did in a way, but it was the other parts of their game that was their demise. Spring Training is a lot like the Preseason in the NFL; meaningless. And as we saw, we were soon back to real Seattle Mariner baseball by the third game of the season. 9: Not last This isn’t really anything to celebrate simply because the Houston Astros are terrible, but the M’s did manage to finish up a rung on the cellar ladder this year. This was expected to happen when we found out the new re-alignment would bring the Stros to the American League West at the start of the year. 8: New look infield The new look middle of the lineup turned some heads. (Photo: zimbio.com) With the mid-season call ups of Nick Franklin and Brad Miller, we were given a glimpse of the future of the M’s infield. With rookies comes growing pains, and we did see a ton of those, but the promise of these two outweighs the downs. These moves were made possible by not only injuries, but also from the poor play of Dustin Ackley and Brendan Ryan. But I think they were the right moves no matter how they came to be. 7: Catching carousel Just how many catchers started a game for the M’s this year anyway? The beginning of the year was supposed to be the fresh start for Jesus Montero as the full-time starting catcher. Man was that a mistake. The poor stats at the plate were one thing, but when you can’t figure out how to tag a runner, or even put your foot on the plate for a force out, it’s time to go back down and learn a new position. But, this too brought the promise of the future into the limelight. Mike Zunino got to make his debut for the M’s, and did a pretty good job for a man who is only one year removed from college. 6: Rauuuuuul The fountain of youth was found in the M’s clubhouse this year, but only by one man. Raul Ibanez made his triumphant return to the Emerald City, and when he finally leaves, he may go down as one of the all-time Mariner greats. Besides his herculean two-foot throw from left, Ibanez did have some mammoth homeruns. And found some company atop the elderly homerun leaders. 5: Kuma time We saw last year what the potential of Hisashi Iwakuma was when he finally got the chance to pitch, but did we think he would be as good as he actually was this year? With a very lethal 1-2 punch the M’s kept opposing batters on the heels for an almost guaranteed two games per week. 4: Arms race Hisashi Iwakuma was by far the biggest surprise of 2013. (Photo: Google) From the first month all the way up to the last week of the year, many different pitcher were involved in taking over and losing spots on Eric Wedges game plan. From Brandon Mauer and Hector Noesi exchanging starts in both the MLB and AAA levels, to Jeremy Bonderman and Aaron Harang getting too many chances. And then there was the big one, Tom Wilhelmsen losing his closer role to Danny Farquhar. Hopefully Farquhar can continue to keep this role, it’s been a long time since we’ve had a reliable closer for more than a season. 3: Record breaking bullpen But not really in a good way. Five Mariners pitchers had over 50 appearances this season. Starting pitching has got to be priority number one this offseason, a burnt out bullpen is a recipe for disaster no matter how you look at it. 2: Another new skipper Not to say I blame him, and not to say I’m unhappy with his decision, but the M’s are a tribe without a chief at the moment. What else is new right? Seriously, how can we build on any type of continuity when we have a new manager every 2.5 years? 1: We still have a baseball team to complain about I mentioned at the top of this piece that I love this team with all my heart. I find comfort in complaining about this team. It completes me. I would love it even more if we could compete for the pennant year after year, but supporting the same baseball team I have supported since I was 5 years old may just be the best feeling in the world. Win or lose, this is my team. So it comes time for my favorite saying regarding the Mariners: There’s always next year. Until then my friends. CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT THE MARINERS BLOG IN OUR CLUBHOUSE TODAY AT NWSB!
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