The Mariners won their second game against the Padres yesterday in another “meaningless” game that I very much enjoyed listening to. They are currently playing on the Brewers’ spring training turf in Marysvale, in yet another meaningless game that I am very much enjoying listening to (though I missed the first half hour because I got sucked into a Star Trek podcast, and I need to say that if you are not listening to Star Trek: Outpost, you should really correct that, it is amazing). So while they’re doing that, I have a few more photos to share with you this week, to try and help remind you (and maybe me, too) that yes, spring is coming, and summer is coming, and baseball is coming. Soon.
In honor of our starter today, here is a photo I shot from the left field bleachers during a game last year. I love shooting from up there above the bullpens, as it provides a vantage point that people don’t often see, and I’m able to get pitching timing down pretty easily because I’m so close. If memory serves, this was a game against the Orioles, who I also have a lot of photos of, but decided to concentrate on Mariners until the season starts.
Wednesday’s hero, checking a hangnail or looking at the ground or whatever else they do out there in the grass while waiting for the action to start or continue, etc. I think that along with Zunino, I am really pulling for this guy, too, to stay healthy and continue his momentum from late last year. I am hoping for at least one game where he is put in center, because it would be awesome. You know I’m right.
The boys at the bar. Judging by photo angle and the guys present, I am going to say this was late in a game, when I had found my usher friend and “upgraded” my seats to not only get a few better pictures, but also be able to leave the field in a little more timely a manner. Since my seats are usually in left field and I live in West Seattle, getting out of the stadium can be a bit of a hassle sometimes. And hey, my seating host connection is always happy to oblige, so who am I to argue?
In other news…
Nathan at Lookout Landing submitted his take on the Robinson Cano/Andy VanSlyke non-drama that occurred last year after the season was over. I wasn’t going to say anything about this; I didn’t pay much attention to it when it happened, and I never bothered to listen to VanSlyke’s interview. VanSlyke is out, and Cano is still here, and a lot of grown, adult men in baseball seem to want to air their grievances to anyone who will listen, sometimes in public, sometimes very loudly. I just chalk it up to Stuff I Don’t Care About, and leave it be.
But Nathan brings up a really good point, about the lack of communication, and therefore cohesion in the Mariners’ clubhouse last year. They weren’t a terrible team (not great, but not awful, and yes, I am using 2008 and 2010 as my control subjects here), but there was clearly something wrong, if a veteran batter was being criticized by a coach for sharing information about batting with a younger player. The first thought that comes to mind is that VanSlyke didn’t want Cano interrupting whatever coaching that Brad Miller might have been getting at the time, or, worse yet, that VanSlyke maybe didn’t think that Brad Miller was worth wasting the advice on, which speaks to a higher level of dysfunction that I find terribly concerning. Clearly, I am only speaking to what I know, and what I know ain’t much; but I do know that when co-workers are sniping at each other in regards to someone giving another person advice on how to do their job better, something’s not right.
The best thing about this, I realized, is that unless something goes terribly, horribly wrong this year, this sort of thing is not going to be present in the Mariners 2016 club. Already, Scott Servais and Jerry Dipoto have been diving into helping the players get to know each other in a way we have never really seen before. Daily meetings, with game plans being discussed and players standing up to introduce themselves or talk about where they come from, are now the norm, and given the interviews I’ve heard so far, it seems to be going down very well with everyone. With so many strangers suddenly converging on the foundation members of the team, it is clear that Servais and Dipoto saw a need to familiarize everyone with each other as soon as possible, and I have to think that is only going to make things much easier come Opening Day; and that is a good framework to build some wins on.
Back to work, back to Marysvale. Have a good weekend, everyone!