We are still not quite out of football season on sports radio, and I don’t have TV back just yet (we cancelled our cable to save money, and won’t be getting it back until later in March/early April), so I am still at a loss to really gather feelings on the upcoming season, and I feel like I should be way more excited than I am. Or maybe I really am excited, but I can’t communicate that just yet because I am a visual person and until I actually see some real life, current, non-rerun baseball I won’t even believe it’s happening. But yesterday was the first full squad workout, and I am seeing some pictures and short video show up on my Twitter and Instagram feeds (yes, I still have an Instagram account, and so do the Mariners), so maybe when next week rolls around, I’ll be all over this. Maybe. Nelson Cruz is clearly ready for the season to start, so maybe I should get it together and start being a bit more excited here. It is nearly March, after all.
Rickie Weeks lopped his dreadlocks off (it must feel amazing, I remember cutting mine, too) and come to camp ready to share my corner of the ballpark in left field with Dustin Ackley. It is planned that he will platoon (I’m using that word even if Lloyd McClendon won’t) with Ackley depending on righty/lefty pitcher needs, and I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do. Ackley’s migration to the outfield has worked really well for him, so hopefully Weeks can follow suit and still maintain his massive OPS. Since the days of Raul Ibanez, left field has felt nice and secure defensively with the players we have put out there, and if the team is confident in Weeks, I will be, too.
Robinson Cano is far more optimistic than I personally am willing to be about this season just yet. I do like the way the team is looking so far, and I am definitely looking forward to see who makes it where out of Spring Training, and yes, I remember last year’s success very, very well, but it just seems too good to be true right now, and I don’t want to go nuts. You know what I do like about Cano’s statements, though, regardless of whether or not I can buy into it wholesale this very minute? That attitude! And Robbie Cano has played for winners before; I trust him to at least know what a good team might look like, and he seems to be a fan of the changes and additions made over the offseason. I can seriously hardly wait for the noise in the stadium when these guys are announced at the home opener.
Hisashi Iwakuma is also feeling better too, and took a bullpen the other day, some video of which the Mariners posted on their Instagram site. He looks good in that short clip, pitching pretty effortlessly in the Arizona sun. I hope he doesn’t have any setbacks this year, and stays down in the zone, as Mike Zunino mentioned in the above link. I love Kuma’s pitching style, he is just a treat to watch and I am glad he is ours. Also at that link, Tom Wilhelmsen just got back from Florida, where he lost his arbitration hearing, but isn’t letting that sour him at all. Wilhelmsen is endearing that way; he’s laid back and kind of just rolls with the punches. I worry sometimes that he might not stick around forever, and I know that can happen, but I just love the fact that he comes off as more of a cartoon character than Serious Athlete. Serious Athletes are a dime a dozen, and Serious Athletes are boring; it takes someone special to be a guy who can throw a 95MPH fastball, pal around with fans with abandon, and then mix everyone a drink afterwards. Have I mentioned lately that I love our bullpen? Because I really love our bullpen, everyone!
I have to get back to work, but hope to be able to write again tomorrow. March is almost here. Spring Training proper is almost here. Baseball is almost here!