My focus is on April 8th lately, and how I plan to spend that day (with a friend, raiding food trucks on Occidental before the gates open), so I have been lightly forgetting every once in a while that April 1st is only a few days away. It’s almost nice that I’ve been so busy, because every few days it’s like a new surprise – Mariners Open House is in a few days! I am very much looking forward to next Monday night, and not only watching the baseball season start on the new HD screen at Safeco, but getting a preview of the new walls, Edgar’s Cantina, and settling in to 2013 baseball in general from the comfort of the Terrace Club (sorry, everyone; they gave the season ticket holders the option, I took it. Layer up down on the main concourse and stay warm!)
Over the past week, we have “lost” Jon Garland to the Rockies and apparently his own ego, as he took off from Peoria last Friday because he didn’t want to wait any longer to find out whether he would wind up on the major league roster. I totally get wanting to have an answer this close to the regular season about what you’re going to be doing, and I understand that Garland has no committments to us or family in the area. He owes us nothing. But it would have been nice if he had stayed just a little bit longer; given our other options he might have actually had a shot at the rotation. Then again, it doesn’t seem like we really gave him much of a shot, so this is just as much on the organization as it is on him for bailing on us; I think I’m just annoyed because ideally I would have liked him to stay. Fortunately for him, the Colorado Rockies snapped him up almost instantly. It’s a shame, given that his decision literally seemed to be made within 24 hours, but he’s obviously a guy who knows what he wants, and at 33 with shoulder issues, you want to go where you know you’re wanted or needed. I think that the early 30s is my most hated age for baseball players; either you’re still great, or you’re getting worse by the year, and nobody wants to truly commit to keeping you if it’s the latter; so players just start drifting wherever it is they can get paid. There is no loyalty on either side, and there is no team identity, and it gets kind of depressing to me as a fan watching guys go from team to team as they near the end of their career. Say what you want about Derek Jeter, I admire the fact that he’s spent his whole career with one team. It’s a rarity these days. I was never attached to Garland, but I wasn’t given much of a choice, either. Too bad. I wish him well.
The good news is that it looks more and more like Brandon Maurer is going to make our rotation, which makes me want to do a little dance. I think Maurer is perfect for the Mariners. He seems very easygoing and mellow, like a little beardy Jason Vargas. He is one of the players I am most looking forward to seeing this year. And in spite of a general feeling of uncertainty about pretty much everything this year (am I alone in feeling like this spring, with our loss of bloggers and weird roster is kind of tumultuous?), I do really want to see what a team that did so well in Spring Training looks like when the pressure is turned on. I’m going into this season with a lot of mixed emotions.
Endy Chavez is back, and I guess that might be what seals Casper Wells’ fate. I’m not sure how I feel about that; I have no fan relationship with Jason Bay, and I’m not sure if I want to or not. Maybe a few years ago this would have been more of an appropriate move, but right now I am selfishly wanting to keep Wells. I think I am starting to get the pre-season jitters, where I am only seeing the bad points of everyone on the field, or thinking the worst is going to happen. That sounds very pessimistic, I know. The bright side is that Chavez seems totally resigned to and completely OK with the minor league contract. I feel like the Mariners and Chavez have unfinished business, and now that we are Yuni Betancourt-free, maybe we can pick up where we left off in 2009. His projections aren’t great (a quick look at his advanced statss makes it appear that he’ s going to be sitting somewhere between his 2011 Rangers appearances and 2012 Orioles appearances or thereabouts), but they could be a lot worse, given that he’s spent a lot of the past few seasons in rehab and on minor league rosters. I guess only the season will tell. If I had to guess I would not expect him in Seattle much, but all it’s going to take is an awful outfield injury, and I always feel like we are only seconds away from that. There I go again. Will try to get the pessimism in check until the season actually starts. Geez! I think my current outlook probably has more to do with the fact that the weather has been messing with me so much lately; it was so nice yesterday, and I could almost smell the outfield grass. Today? Back to Seattle Winter Part 2. More baseball weather, please!
So now I look forward to the next two weekends; two opening days that are surrounded by other games. I plan to pack up my things and take the laptop and camera to Safeco next Monday, and document as much as possible. So if you’re not able to make it, you can see it here. The Ms have really done a lovely thing for the fans by opening up the stadium and giving us the run of the place for the evening. If you are unaware of this just yet, first get out from under your rock, and then check this link out for more information. This is a great opportunity for us all, and I cannot wait for the day to get here. I think the only person looking forward to Opening Day more than me might be Raul Ibanez.