SECTION 331

Like a Million Baseball Fans Cried Out, and Were Suddenly Silenced

Upton and Away, FanFest

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I have been posting maybe too much to Twitter about recent baseball goings-on; it’s easier, and unlike blogging I can do it quickly at work, on the bus, or while I’m walking. Unfortunately this may be one of the reasons I’m not writing as much anymore, because I’ve already got my opinion out in the ether in a bite-sized chunk. Some things need to be talked about in larger-than-bite-sized pieces, though, and Justin Upton’s refusal to come to Seattle might be one of those things. I think it is. Shall we?

In the big scheme of things, Upton is a Diamondback and thus I am predisposed to like him (outside of the fact that he’s a good baseball player) since he is on my 3rd-ranking team. But his desire not to be part of Seattle’s history seems to have caused a bit of a ruckus in the fanbase. You won’t find a ruckus here. While it would be nice to have Upton in Seattle for a while, I just don’t want another player who doesn’t want to be here, and especially another player who is asking for a lot of money, as seems to be the general consensus (though I personally have not seen any numbers just yet, and cannot quickly find anything online at the moment). We were also on Upton’s no-trade list, along with the Yankees, Boston, and either the Cubs or Blue Jays, depending on who you talk to. USA Today writer Bob Nightengale acknowledges that talks were a waste of time, since we were indeed on the no-trade list, but there are fans who are speculating that the public news was a gesture by Jack Zduriencik to let fans know that he was at least giving it a go. This seems like a silly theory to me.

Why bother talking to a guy who doesn’t want to come to your city unless you are earnestly serious about trying to get him? This doesn’t seem like a Zduriencik-y thing to do. Yeah, everyone talks to everyone else, but if anything 2008 A.B.B. (after Bill Bavasi) has taught me, it’s that Zduriencik is not one to showboat, no matter how badly we all want him to be or think he is. Throwing this out to the public “just because” simply doesn’t seem like something a guy who, by his own admission won’t comment on rumors, would do. I have to think they were serious about this; otherwise, there is literally no point. Even with the no-trade, maybe Z thought a dollar amount might sway Upton? Perhaps the package of players we were offering was thought to grease the wheels a bit; the word “invoked” was used in several instances, indicating (to me, at least)  that Upton maybe could have come here, but invoked his no-trade to avoid it. Really, who knows what Jack Zduriencik is thinking at any given time; that has been, for me, part of the fun of having him as a GM.  It also looks now like the deal would have sent Nick Franklin, Stephen Pryor, Charlie Furbush and Taijuan Walker to Arizona – and I know some of y’all don’t want to lose Walker.  This move would have also gutted the 2013 Tacoma Rainiers, and could have possibly broken Mike Curto’s heart.  You don’t want to break Mike Curto’s heart, do you, Mariners fans? Granted, these guys may still go away some other time for some other offensive option, but I don’t know that Justin Upton is the guy we want for that; and he definitely doesn’t want us. This seems to have worked out well for everyone involved, really.

I just today reserved my tickets for the special pre-FanFest Season Ticket Holder FanFest on the 26th of this month. I will be taking a friend (because I can), and taking advantage of  some sort of breakfast thing in the Terrace Club (at 9am, this will be the earliest I’ve ever been in a ball park), a special lounge in the Diamond Club area somewhere, and whatever else this entitles me to. I also got the 26th off work, so I am totally free and clear for this little adventure, and, as of today, super excited for it.  I don’t remember them doing this last year, or maybe I missed it, but it’s a great thing for those of us who continue, year after year, to shell out money for one of the smallest of the game plans. Say what you like about the quality of the product on the field; I will gladly take any bones thrown to me for the amount of cash I squeeze out of my bank account every year for baseball. Obviously of course I would love to see some good games, and I most certainly hope to this year, but barring that, I will take any advantages thrown my way, if it enhances a day or evening (or morning!) at the ballpark. I suppose to some people that might make me a “bad” fan. To those people, I merely shrug; you enjoy the game your way, I’ll enjoy it mine.

We have a good lineup this year for FanFest, which totally helps. The list of folks that will be showing up is as follows:  Brendan Ryan, Casper Wells, Michael Saunders, Kyle Seager, Tom Wilhelmsen, Jesus Montero, and of course Eric Wedge. Minor leaguers Mike Zunino, Nick Franklin, James Paxton, and Stefen Romero will be in attendance, and of course Jay Buhner and Dan Wilson (both of whom, I’m beginning to think, must have apartments somewhere under or in the building because they are always there!)  And in case you missed it from the Mariners’ Twitter account, Franklin Gutierrez was just confirmed yesterday afternoon. So this is a great lineup, in my not-so-humble opinion. I am looking forward to this maybe more than I have in a few seasons. Spring Training is right around the corner, pitchers and catchers report in somewhere around 30-or-40-something days or so, and it’s even a nice sunny day in Seattle today. I can almost smell the grass…

First, however, we have the NFL playoffs and SuperBowl to contend with. Tomorrow marks my Green Bay Packers playing against the San Francisco 49’ers, and Sunday will be the Seahawks vs Atlanta. I cannot watch the Seahawks game – I have a large project to take care of that involves finally getting Tom his Christmas present –  but I will be thinking about all my Hawks fan friends, and might have my friend Justin text me game updates during the day. Tomorrow night, though, I will be planted on the couch with some beer and hopefully something good for dinner, to watch some football. Go, Pack, GO!

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