Baseball in 2014 was over for me when the Orioles got booted unceremoniously from the playoffs in a four-game sweep by the Kansas City Royals, a team I can neither really bring myself to care about or dislike; but now I can’t bring myself to like them, either, Jason Vargas or not, because they have robbed me of enjoying the World Series. So now they will fall solidly under the mantle of teams that I still don’t feel I should be paying much attention to, but regard with a higher degree of distaste than I had at this time last year. I knew the Mariners were never going to make it, but the Orioles had a chance. All I can do now is be thankful to all the teams I follow in the AL this year (Tigers included) for a really good baseball season. From Opening Day here in Seattle, to finally getting to travel east to see the Phillies and O’s in their natural habitat, to the gonna-have-a-heart-attack end of the Mariners’ summer, and then the playoffs with the Orioles facing the Tigers (who I had fully planned to support, had the outcome of that series been different), baseball has been very good to me.
There was a tiny dust-up on Twitter a little over a week ago regarding this Ryan Divish article on Michael Saunders and an issue I hope begins and ends with the article itself. Surely, I don’t have access to anything behind the scenes, and I don’t have any idea what Saunders does to prepare himself for a game. But I do know that none of this is any of my business, unless Saunders has other issues that make him a clubhouse poison, and so far I haven’t seen any evidence of that, and I don’t think anyone else has, either. Physical conditioning and training should be a matter between the player, coaches, and the team. It is not something that needs to be brought out into the public eye (one could make the argument for reports on injury rehabilitation, of course, but this was handled badly). The organization may be alright with throwing Saunders under the bus within earshot of the public, but this is just as damning to the organization itself; isn’t part of a ball club’s job and the work of its employees to keep the players fit and well so they can play? Saunders spending more time in the weight room is mentioned as a possible reason for him being so injury-prone during the season. So…make him go in the weight room; don’t tell the press he’s not doing it, do your job and have your professional property do his job to prepare himself for the games you’re paying him to play. I really don’t like when things like this come out. It makes the club look like it doesn’t have itself together, and it takes the sheen off what was otherwise a fantastic string of 162 games. I don’t think that public shaming is really the way to handle a lack of activity in the weight room (if that is indeed what they believe the problem to be). Take care of this in-house.
On to happier news…the Mariners came out over .500 this year, and I am making good on my promise to get a Mariners-related tattoo. They have to win bigger to get an actual team logo (I need a good reason to become a billboard, thank you very much), so I have designed something that goes with my general aesthetic, and my appointment to have it done is on November 7th. Pictures will of course be posted when it is finished, though I have posted the draft of the design on Twitter (not enough time during lunch to look it up today, sadly). So in a few weeks, the deed will be done!
So the World Series start tomorrow at Kauffman Stadium, with the Giants paying the Royals a visit for the first two games (go, Giants, go!), and I start to pick up the pieces of the year and wonder what the 2015 tour has in store for us. Not a lot of Mariners news has been coming into my inbox from The Times, and I haven’t had enough time in my day to check all the blogs to see if there is much going on that hasn’t been pushed through the news filter, so I may be woefully behind on what counts as news for the Ms these days, outside of Taijuan Walker’s starts in the Arizona Fall League, before he went home just the other day. Two starts sees him very agreeable, and apparently that was all the organization wanted from him before giving him a well-deserved break. I really hope that he is not – as has been tossed around on local radio – going to be a trade chip. I feel like we have a prize here, and we need to hold onto it; but I also know that we still need to bolster our offense, still, and Jack Z and company might run into a deal they can’t refuse. I just hope it’s better than the plan they envisioned with Kendrys Morales. Please, let’s not take that train again. We are getting better, though. It feels like there is finally a little bit of hope for the Seattle Mariners.