You may have noticed the previous post was not written by me. It was written by the usually well-dressed and always-friendly Daniel Carroll, who I hope will contribute more in weeks and months to come (ahem), and with whom I may be embarking on a future project next year – but for now you get nothing on that, I still need to do a lot of research. I am still catching up on my inbox full of Mariners news from the end of the season, so I figured I’d share some links everyone has already seen and air my big dumb opinions on them while watching the Seahawks play the NY Jets.
So Lloyd McClendon is our manager for 2014, if something doesn’t explode mid-season. As Jerry Brewer points out in that article, McClendon is a newly-former hitting coach, and that angle of things hadn’t even struck me with his hire a short while ago. But I already like McClendon, even though I have never heard him speak or read much about him, and my only knowledge of his existence prior to this was veiled, through the Detroit Tigers’ excellent (then sad, yes, I was pulling for them) post-season. I like McClendon because he is willfully walking into a situation he is already aware the public sees as pretty messed up. He’s walking into a severe lack of job security, a fanbase that is, I would say, fairly rejuvenated after the Cano move, but still maybe a bit gunshy; or maybe it’s just me? Whatever the case, I like McClendon because he is one man going up against a situation much bigger than he is, and he is coming into it with the right attitude. His admittance that he is here because of Felix Hernandez is, frankly, endearing. I hope it works.
Some former Mariners have been shuffled around so far this offseason. Jason Vargas now has a nice four-year contract with the Kansas City Royals. I am still maybe more bitter than I should be about his departure. I had my doubts about Vargas when he first started with Seattle, but he managed to fly right and became a joy to watch in very little time. And then he went away. And now he’s with a rival. For a while. And it’s not a rival we play a lot, and it’s not really a rival that I feel particularly threatened by or dislike much. Everyone’s mileage with the Royals may differ, clearly, but it’s sort of like Vargas just…disappeared. I do hope I get to see him sometime this upcoming year, whether it be on TV or at home. I miss Jason Vargas. This kind of sucks.
The picture that accompanies this article makes me pretty sad too. Look at that smiley face! Don’t you miss that face?!? I was there at Safeco for Doug Fister’s very first major league effort, closing out the 9th inning in a ridiculous loss to the Rays; it was during a LL/USSM event in the upper deck in 2009. Fister came out of the bullpen, all arms and legs, and did alright, if memory serves. He had family and friends there with signs, and everyone in our group was eager to see what he could do. From there, he just got better and better, and when he went to the Tigers in exchange for Caspar Wells, Charlie Furbush and Francisco Martinez (that all worked out super well for us, right?), I was not happy to see him go, but adding him to a roster of pitchers that included Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer made me start lightly following the Tigers as a 5th team. Now he’s with the Washington Nationals, which is going to make it much more difficult for me to keep up on him because it’s the Washington Nationals and I just don’t care. I am waffling a bit on whether or not I want to actually go to a Nationals game when I am out east next April. I feel like I should because I will be in the area, but part of me also really wants to go to two Orioles games so I can get as much taken in of Camden Yards as possible. I have a few months to make up my mind, I guess.
Meanwhile, in other Tigers news, of course Prince Fielder was traded to the Texas Rangers for Ian Kinsler. This breaks my heart. My friend Jennifer, a die-hard college football fan, went to visit some friends in the Detroit area in 2012, and immediately fell in love with Fielder, to the point where she now owns a Tigers jersey bearing his name, and was getting into light verbal altercations with other fans around us earlier this year at an extra inning game against the Tigers (all in good fun, of course). I was hoping to have another close friend to go to games with, but now that her favorite player has been traded to a team she doesn’t like, I don’t know what is in store for the future of Jennifer and her enjoyment of the game. I mean, it’s gotten kind of difficult for me to root for Ichiro now, even though I will still enjoy watching him play, but I am fortunate enough to have already invested several years in the game itself. The thing that kills me is that she didn’t get a lot of time with Fielder in Detroit; it was as if someone gave her a nice large screen TV and then said “But you can only watch it at your ex-boyfriend’s house.” Baseball is so very unfair sometimes.
This week during the Winter Meetings, the Mariners acquired Corey Hart and Logan Morrison. Those of you who follow my Twitter account or know me personally know how I feel about this already. I am not going to get political here unless things call for it, but suffice to say that bringing in someone like Morrison, who has made many fairly offensive statements on his Twitter account to a city like Seattle could prove to be a risky move for the Mariners. The Ms have been pretty good about handling such things in the past (with maybe the exception of the Josh Lueke debacle, which was a difficult river to paddle down anyway) and maybe Morrison has been given a talking-to about language and public perception. Only time will tell. I’m certainly willing to let this play out, and hope perhaps Morrison learns to think before he types about where he now, and the impact his words could have on people in this city, and the way his words might cause people to view the Seattle Mariners organization. And for now, that is all I’m going to say about that.
And that brings me all caught up with my inbox! Just in time for the holiday, and the beginning of the year, which I hope will bring some surprises to this space. Really looking forward to FanFest in January, the next month is going to be excruciatingly slow, before I can get back into Safeco Field and have some tacos at Edgar’s, watch the kids run around the bases, and sit and listen to the boys on the dugout. I think I have officially gone from the disappointment of 2013 to excitement for 2014. It’s about time.