Reasons to Keep Watching

For the first ten years of their existence, opportunities to watch the Seattle Mariners on television were few and far between.  Today we are spoiled with the explosion of cable TV coverage of major league baseball, or any sport for that matter, and the emergence of sports talk radio, it’s all the sports all the time.

Until your team is a loser and then the coverage gets thin.

Yesterday I spent a lot of time in my car and I listened to ESPN 710.  Three different shows from 8:45-12:30 and here is what Mike Salk and Danny O’Neill, Justin Meyers and G. Scott, Dave Grosby, Bob Stelton and Tom Wassell talked up on their show:

  1. After Friday night’s pre-season opener, have the Seahawks hit the panic button on their offensive line woes?
  2. At day 19 of Kam Chancellor’s holdout, are you concerned?
  3. Who should the Seahawks get to be the back up quarterback during Tavaris Jackson’s recovery from Friday’s injury?

Oh, by the way the Mariners bullpen blew another game.

That’s it.  Three plus hours of talking about the same Seahawks issues across three shows.  The Mariners have simply faded into the wallpaper.

I’m not sure I blame them.  This team has disappointed, almost from the moment the season began.  At this point of the season, with the M’s safely out of any likely kind of contention, there are reasons to continue watching and paying attention.  They all have much more to do with next year than this year.

Ketel Marte-Ketel Marte is talented, a consistent defender at shortstop or second baseman that Brad Miller is not.  He’s also, in a small sample size, been a pretty decent hitter.  Though lacking Miller’s power potential, he is a much better judge of the strike zone, and has a .377 OBP to go with his .283 average.  Though he has no home runs, Marte hit four doubles in his 60 major league at bats.  He could be the person who solidifies the position in 2016.

Taijuan Walker-Walker has shown moments of brilliance, and often matches the expectations Mariners execs had when they drafted him in the first round in 2010.  Walker has 135 K’s in his 141.0 innings pitched this year.  At times he’s looked unhittable, and at other times he’s lost command, as the 23 home runs allowed demonstrate. Walker is the future and I’m anxious to see how he finishes the year.

Nelson Cruz-Cruz has had quite a year, probably a career best year.  It’s hard to imagine him repeating this at age 37.  But I’m excited to see how far he can take it.  On a decent team, we might be talking MVP . . . but we aren’t, are we?

The Jack Zdurencik Watch-Jack should be gone.  But I fully expect for the M’s to wait until the year is over.  Except for the newly released and recently signed Dave Dombrowski, all the execs with experience will be under contract until the end of the season.  In my view, there is nothing the man can do to save his job.  Seven seasons of losing, more bad trades than good ones, failure to develop the high draft choices this team has had, and an additional failure to build a team suited to its home park all scream “Jack must go!!!)

The Lloyd McClendon Watch-Abraham Lincoln once said about Gen. William Rosecrans that he “seemed confused and stunned like a duck hit on the head,” after his disastrous defeat at the battle of Chickamauga. I think some of that applies to Lloyd.  Going into this season, this was a team that seemed to deal with its hitting issues, had a strong rotation and a lights out bullpen. Instead the three pieces have not worked well together, and at times all of them have failed concurrently.  I’m sure I’d be banging my head against a wall at this point, but Lloyd has very much seemed incapable to deal with all the failure around him, especially because there are no answers to call on in a trade or from the minors.  Hard to imagine how McClendon is not a casualty at the end of the season.  I’ve heard lots of folks fuss at Lloyd for his continued use of Fernando Rodney, for his in-game tactics, but honestly, it’s just a lot easier when your team shows its talent and doesn’t play like shit.

There’s lots of other reasons to watch, like there’s a game almost every day, baseball is better than football any day, and this team seems to find new and different ways to lose at least once a week.  But, despite that, it’s really all about 2016 at this point, and there are some players worth watching.

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