Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
The Seattle Mariners are not making headway in the stormy seas of Major League Baseball. Truthfully, the team remains a work in progress, but the progress is less than inspiring. If you want inspiring, look across the street at what is going on in CenturyLink Field.
Or, just listen to the crowd noise. Emulate the Seattle Seahawks.
Many sports franchises have an ongoing slogan or yearly theme that is used for promotional purposes to pump up the fan base. If I may, here are a few concepts that seem to be ongoing themes for the Mariners.
“Pardon Our Dust.”
“Open During Construction.”
“Competitive Team: Opening 2015…or 2016…or maybe 2017.”
In other words, the Mariners are that building project that has no end in sight. When Jack Zduriencik came to Seattle in 2008, he brought a lot of optimism. Fans were excited. The M’s were going to rebuild a team the right way with pitching, solid defense and wise spending.
It seemed like a good plan.
The problem is the lineup, and this is where the Mariners should learn from the Seahawks. In other words, don’t be afraid to blow it up.
Patience is a wonderful virtue, and the world would probably be a better place if everyone were just a bit more patient with his or her fellow human. Unfortunately, the Mariners have arguably been a bit too patient with some of their hitters.
Obviously it is hard to compare football to baseball. The NFL is specifically designed to be a “what have you done for me lately” league. Baseball is much more about player development as it can take years before draft picks finally make it to the big club. In addition, the collective bargaining agreement is such that teams don’t just cut athletes like they do in the NFL.
Still, the philosophy employed by Pete Carroll and John Schneider should be noted. Sports cannot be about sentimentality, and patience can only extend so far. When Carroll and Schneider rebuilt the Seahawks, they did it by making some tough decisions and letting players go that probably could have stayed on the roster. They had a vision, and they implemented it quickly.
Granted, the Seahawks also have an advantage in the fact that they have a motivated owner that is willing to spend money. Do the Mariners even have an owner? Not really.
The difficult impact of this potential philosophy is that Jack Zduriencik’s time may be ticking away. It may not be in Jack Z’s best interest to dump a number of players and in a sense start over. The fans won’t stand for it, particularly since so many have already abandoned beautiful Safeco Field. If the Mariners don’t start winning in 2014, the franchise may be looking for a new general manager. Therefore, Zduriencik may stick with the bulk of this club, add some overpriced free agents and hope that this team finally starts rolling.
Again, this team is not really going anywhere fast. There are some “nice” players in the lineup, but nice doesn’t get it done in professional baseball. For too long this team has limped along in the vain hope that somehow they will progress.
It is time for some changes. It is time for a drastic makeover.