Originally written on NorthWest Sports Beat  |  Last updated 1/26/13
Northwest C-R-A-P It is no secret that the Mariners need a lot of crap to pull together a respectful season.  Actually, crap is the one thing that they don’t need at all.  The Mariners have been a crappy ball club for the past decade. Some of the only quality stuff they have put out there are their commercials.  And last year, even that was debatable. It was encouraging early in the offseason to hear the Mariners being touted as the favorites in the pursuits for high profile difference makers like Josh Hamilton, Nick Swisher and Justin Upton. However with only a few more weeks left until the Mariners hit Peoria, all that have arrived are a bunch of veteran risks. For the first time I think that General Manager Jack Z had the backing of the ownership group to spend some legitimate money to pull in someone that could indeed make the difference that they needed.  But nothing happened. I don’t think it’s his fault. Free agents don’t want to play for Seattle. Do you know why? 1. Seattle is stuck in the past. While every club praises their best performances of the years, the Mariners gravitate to those moments as if they happened yesterday.  The truth is that the magic season of 1995 was 12 years ago and the Mariners haven’t been a legitimate threat since they won 116 games in 2001. Most of the players coming into the major leagues now aren’t even old enough to remember a time Seattle was good.  They don’t want to be a part of a painful past.  They want to be a part of a legend. Seattle is shrouded in the clouds of rain and doubt. That is something Seattle doesn’t even look close to offering. 2. Seattle is kinda bleh. Even though Seattle is a beautiful city, it is shrouded in the clouds of rain and doubt.  This is both literal and metaphoric.  The local weather is a challenge and so is the ownership group.  The majority owner has never even seen his team play. (Even when they traveled to the other side of the world and played in his native Japan.)  Who wants to be a part of an organization that is gray and dreary all the time?  Case in point. Almost every veteran that has come through here watches his numbers plummet.  This could be the ballpark dimensions, but I think most players see it for what it is beyond that. Instability in leadership that affects the mental game. 3. Seattle doesn’t pay The Mariners lose out on chances to sign the difference makers because they can’t compete with the other teams offering up the moon for mediocre players.  The Angels are the worst at this at the moment.  Unfortunately, the Mariners are living in their shadow, and will continue to be a plaything for the rest of the division if they don’t do something soon. All thats left for Jack Z? Players that know the team and don’t have all these preconceived notions what the Seattle club really is.  Those that have played here before genuinely feel attached to the fans and the organization.  Mike Cameron loved Seattle so much he signed a one day contract to ensure he could retire as a Mariner. But here is the thing. If all Jack has to really work with are those players in the league that give a crap then that means he would only be left with the shells of former good athletes such as: Ken Griffey Jr (2009) Russell Branyan (2010) Miquel Olivo (2011) George Sherill (2012) Raul Ibanez (2013) Does that crap sound familiar? No wonder free agents don’t want to come here.  No one wants to smell like crap. CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT THE SEATTLE MARINERS CLUBHOUSE AT NWSB!
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  • This summer I toured SafeCo Field. All the memorabilia and past-players honored are dominated by Yankees, It was a depressing display. Seattle baseball (Hell! all Seattle sports are a tough sell); 1 30+ year old NBA chanpionship; 1 NCAA football tie (weak); girls cross country (Good!), 80 yr old rowing,
    seattle Storm (good), a couple Rose Bowls (Yeah!) But come om Seattle we need some big wins
  • I'm happy somebody finally put in writing about what I've been saying for a long time of the Mariners. I've been watching the M's ever since their inception back in 1976. And 80 percent of those years were all "rebuilding" years. What strikes me is that majority of the big wigs in the M's front office people are bussiness people and not baseball people. They know how to put on a show, and expectations for the fans that they have no intentions of honoring. The unfortunate fact is the fans in Seattle buy into it and at the end of every season get disapointed. It's very unfortunate that the fans here don't demand better from their baseball team.

    So, another year of sunshine being blown our way. Hearing the perfect game last season from Felix. They're talk about Dave Niehaus for a bit, and not to mention the 116 game. And of course those stupid bobble heads. They worn that out seven years ago. It's pretty bad when fans of certain M's player, pass and present, thinks the only way they can play for a championship contending team is to be traded to one. Felix Hernandez currently comes to mine. He an many others who is currently on this team is too good to be in this dog and pony show. And I hate to put dogs and ponys in the same catagory as the M's.
  • There's no reasons in this article, just the same old bitching and crying we've heard a million times around the Pacific Northwest. The M's, Jack Z. and Eric Wedge are doing the rebuild correctly, and it takes time. You can't buy a winner, you have to build it. Look at all the money the Angels spent last year to finish THIRD. I wish folks would quit pissing about free agents that don't want to come here and embrace the guys that do want to play here. We've got 5-6 guys right now that should hit 20+ HR's in 2013 and a pretty decent pitching staff too. We'll be contending this year.
  • I kind of agree with this, except that:
    1)I seriously doubt that the weather plays a part in the vast majority of players decisions of where they will sign. The majority of the season is played while the weather in Seattle is beautiful
    2)The marketing dept. only has a little to work with. While I agree that it is pathetic, I don't think that free agents see it as a negative. Heck, that just means that Seattle is ripe for making a baseball star the center of the baseball world in Seattle. More of an attraction than a strike.
    3)That leaves ownership/management. They are the only constant left. Seattle has good fans, a great ball park, a media that plays softball with its professional sports teams, and a very attractive city in terms of living. What they do not have is ownership and executives that are committed to winning. It is my belief that they use a formula to figure the amount that they "must" spend to keep from going too far into the red. Until they are sold to a very rich fan of baseball who is committed to winning and will gut the front office and replace them all with like minded executives or there is a major change in baseball and a hard cap similar to the NFL is implemented then the Mariners will be losers.
    There may be a lucky season or two every twenty five to thirty years, but the norm will remain the cellar. Which is not good news for the faithful Mariner fan, but is the reality of the situation.
  • GREAT, I repeat GREAT post- Have been calling for Armstrong's and Lincoln's head since 2003 but most FANS I know siad I was crazy. I believe you are nuts on and we will never see aGREAT team here until they are GONE!
  • how many times do they have to "rebuild" ? they trade players away and the player becomes better, and then they want them back, but we don't have much of a choice of local teams, and I have been watching them since the started. a lot of the newer fans think they will magically become great.
  • When was this column written 1995 was 18 years ago not 12. We all expect the M'a to suck so they meet our expectations. Who are the 6 that should hit 20+ hr this year, that comment is so far off the line omly a true M fan could have said it. The M's need to get with the program and buy some good proven players. You don't build anymore, you buy!
  • The six are Morse, Segar, Montero, Morales, Saunders, Smoak. If they do what they're capable of they should all have 20+ HRs. And YES, a true M's fan, not some guy that will be jumping on the bandwagon, like you, when it proves out I'm right.
  • Well there's alot of bandwagon fans when it comes to the Mariners. Don't get me wrong bosoco I hope the M's do well, but when 8 out of the last 9 seasons has been division basement dweller. A fan, or bandwagon fan, can't help it but to be just a little cynical. A fan, not by whatever your definision of a "true fan" is, to me is somebody who demand more from their team rather than someone just doing the "rah, rah, go Mariners." We have no problem if you are right, which seems very important to you. We have a problem when you are wrong!
  • I don't consider myself a "rah rah" guy but I'm definitely not a cynical "every move they make is a crap move" guy either. I think what they're doing NOW is what's important and what they're doing is building a proper, long lasting contender. Folks can't keep bringing up years previous, particularly those that idiot Bill Bavasi was in charge of. It's about NOW. Cry all you want about the past, it'll do you no good. Open your eyes and really LOOK at the team this year. Of course, all this chatter is based on the guys doing and playing as they should. If they regress (Saunders) or with some, don't take the next step they need to (Smoak, Montero) then we've got problems. I just don't think that's how it will go. I think a bunch of folks will start to pay attention (in a good way) to the M's THIS year!
  • I myself never said, “every move they make is a crap move." I have said in the past that some of their moves turned out to be crap. As for you claiming some of us that "can't keep bringing up years previous," I use those words myself, but it was directed toward at the M's front office. The Mariner org bring it up all the time speaking about the 95 season, the 116 game seasons, Felix's perfect game, and others which were great accomplishments mind you. Yes, it seems to go both ways doesn’t it? Cause with all things in the universe there is balance by some people has also been reminding everybody of the crap this organization has been feeding the fans. I can say I’m on board when you say it’s now that’s what’s important, but like many fans who’s has lost faith not with the players, but with those front office geniuses that anything short of a winning season will not do. You’ve notice I said a winning season, a better than .500 season, not a World Series season, not a championship contending season, though that would be nice, but an 82 win or better season. So you can blow all your optimistic sunshine up any direction you want, but until that happen it’s going to be nonstop crap feeding from what you called “bandwagon fans” to remind the Mariner org that "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." It’s not about opening our eyes and crying about it, it’s about perception.
  • Money speaks the loudest, but with no State Income Tax, players establishing a Washington residence could boost their actual earnings by up to 20%.

    Contemporary athletes are more attuned to their sport's history than you might think.

    If you consider the relative parity of teams in the NBA and NFL, maybe it is time for baseball to consider a salary control system to make the league more equitable.

    Almost every player to pass through Seattle has appreciated the environment, the fans, and the amenities.

    Ironically, one would expect the Mariner ownership to open up the checkbook along the lines of the Portland Trail Blazers's owner Paul Allen.

    Best regards,

    Andy in Vancouver.
  • Totally agree with the article. Seattle needs to change its ways. Start with Lincoln and Armstrong. They have been there to long and nothing seems to change.They need to go and get an infusion of youth. It starts at the top. Take a page from Oaklands book. If veterns don't want to come then were going to have to do it thru the draft. Ackley ahead of Trout?????
  • The Mariners will NEVER sign a top-shelf free agent - EVER. Take Prince Fielder for example (actually, it could be any big-name free agent). If you have the chance to play for the Yankees, Dodgers, Angels, Tigers, Cards, Red Sox, and Mariners, and if the money is even equal, who would come to Seattle?? It is a miserably-run organization, the travel is more than most any other club, it has no history or tradition, and it really IS gray and dreary and cold most of the year. It is a hitter's graveyard. Quite simply, in the free agent market, the Mariners cannot compete, period. The one's that are signed in Seattle are either on their way up, their way out, or have "issues" (Milton Bradley, Chone Figgins). THus, their only option is to build from within their own organization. That can work, but when free agency comes up, the Mariners will continue to be the farm club for the bin-name teams. One more thing: the Seattle fans are perfectly satisfied with mediocrity. As long as the Mariner Moose entertains the kids, as long as they continue to have the "hat trick" and the "hydro races" on their new big screen, the fans will be happy. They generally do not know the game of baseball, nor do they care, as long as they have fun at the stadium. Pathetic!!
  • According to the three ball players I know, the Seattle front office and management (head coach particularly), don't inpire anybody to really get excited about signing. They told me that quite honestly, nobody really likes these guys and thus, when compared to the Angels/Rangers/RedSox etc, there's no compelling reason to sign other than the city quality of life. Quality of life is great and that's why so many older M's stay here, however, if you don't have a family as a compelling reason to come, our M's lose out because the leadership are doinks and you have an absentee owner. People join other people when the money is comperable. Like it or not, people wanted to play for Lou and Bavasi at least had regard among old-school ball execs. When is the last time the owner made an effort to meet a prospective ball player? Compare that with the Dodger ownership. We lose EVERY TIME!
  • If I were a rich athlete looked up to by all I wouldnt want to be in seattle either. The weather is bad, the bar scene is horrible and the women are unattractive snobs(as a whole). Sorry but I guarantee those are major factors. Maybe if we were a juggernaut of a team a guy could be convinced to come here for a chance at a ring. But without a guaranteed shot at the playoffs forget it. They will have more fun in any other city that isnt seattle... The only way for us to sign a marquee free agent is to build a winning team using the farm system first. If we are not a winner already a guy will choose a city that has the girls the weather and the nightlife over Seattle everytime.

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