I think it’s just time to admit to myself that my writing here is never going to be as prolific as it once was. The job I moved to back in November demands a lot of me, and when I’m not there, I’m trying to unwind and not think or do much; but I still want to maintain this site, so writing may be sporadic, but it’ll still be here. I think, too, not being able to go to FanFest this year took some of the wind out of my sails, but tonight marks the first time this month I’ve been able to sit down and watch anything to do with Spring Training, so what better time than now to sit here on the couch and spout my Big Dumb Opinions?
First up: Ichiro’s return. I cried at my desk during the bits of a press conference MLB.com would allow me to watch on my phone. I hoped it would happen in 2012 when he left mid-season, but years with the Yankees and Marlins and then getting bits and pieces of information about his declining hit numbers, I just figured at the least they might do a one-day signing ceremonial thing or we’d see him again when they finally retire number 51. I was in shock all day Tuesday when I first got the news. It was comforting, to see him again, and emotional to see him with Jerry Dipoto during the presser yesterday, hoisting his jersey. Like when you haven’t seen a friend in years and you see each other and immediately start cracking jokes and picking up the conversation as if you were never apart. I know that time marches over us all, and he won’t be the same Ichiro he was when he was here for so long, but it doesn’t matter to me. Ichiro is basically my Ken Griffey Jr, my Edgar Martinez; when he retires I plan to start saving up for a trip to Cooperstown, and I plan to get the best travel package available. I also plan to wear some big sunglasses because I will be crying during his induction speech. I am also aware that there is a very bold division between those of us who love this situation and those that really don’t. It’s everyone’s prerogative to love or hate any given move their team makes, and I harbor no ill will against anyone who is not on board with this; but I am very on board. You could do much worse with a replacement for Ben Gamel. And the home opener is going to be absolutely electric.
Dee Gordon is rumored to have made the switch from infielder to outfielder like a knife through hot butter. I know Gordon was sort of lukewarm with being sent here and being converted from his original position at short or second, but I’m hoping that the addition of Ichiro will lighen his mood about being sent to our isolated little corner here in Seattle, and it sounds like he will make a speedy addition to our baserunning crew as well as having a good throwing arm. My main disappointment with not having FanFest was that I was hoping they’d get Gordon to show up and take some questions at Dugout Dialogue; but I’ll have to wait for post-game interviews, and by that time I will likely have a feel for who he is as a player anyway. All I can say is that I’m looking forward to it.
For those who might not know, Braden Bishop, our minor leaguer CF, has started a sort of fire among some Mariners fans and minor league players from other teams. Bishop’s mother apparently is battling early onset Alzheimer’s disease, so he started a charity called 4Mom. Players are choosing a dollar amount they will donate to the charity per hit or per strikeout. A small group of fans has started a player adoption for Spring Training (and perhaps beyond) and plan to also donate accordingly. I grabbed up Mike Zunino, and am good for a dollar a hit. So far I understand I owe at least a buck for a home run last week, but Lookout Landing’s Kate Preusser is keeping a spreadsheet, and I know that at least a bunch of people from the Maple Grove will be donating, and have claimed other plaeyrs. I may keep it up through the season. I don’t see any reason not to, and I am hoping for good things for Zunino this year.
Speaking of the Maple Grove…yes, we will be back this year. Due to Felix’s arm injury from that line drive last week, we are anticipating that James Paxton will probably get Opening Day duties, and we do plan to be there out in left field. Hillary is already designing Eh cards, Daniel is already working on signs (and signs for the Jays series, as well, of course), and we have a block of tickets somewhere – I am unsure where, but it will probably be announced a few days prior to the home opener, and there will be quite a few surprised people who are already sat in that section who will find themselves part of the Grove. It may be sufficient to say that I am really looking forward to the start of the season. It is about time for baseball to be back.