Today we continue the five part series WRNL Adopt a Team. As you will recall, yesterday KnowDan covered the Houston Astros to kick things off. As we move on to day two of the series, we'll make our case for a team that plays in the same division as the Astros, and resides in the Pacific Northwest. Remember to check back on Friday of this week to vote for the team you wish for us to follow for the summer.
Now, on to a team that may not be familiar to some, but soon will be.
The Team: Seattle Mariners
I grew up in Iowa, but was not impressed with what some of the "local" teams had to offer growing up. Kansas City, Chicago, and Minneapolis just didn't have what I was looking for in a baseball team. I was always a huge Ken Griffey Junior fan growing up, who wasn't?! The guy was incredibly talented, had one of the sweetest swings ever, and while I could go on and on for longer than what is probably comfortable for most, it's safe to say I gravitated to the team he played for, the Seattle Mariners. I have been a fan ever since. How can you not love the teal jerseys?!
Being a fan has been rather difficult recently. Since the heyday of Griffey Jr. and company, the Mariners haven't had much success in the regular season, and currently sit with the second longest playoff drought in the majors at 13 years. This team managed to set the record in 2001 for most regular season wins in history, yet still managed to lose in the ALCS and not even get a shot at the World Series! They also haven't been even close since, have been rebuilding for the better part of a decade, and until this year, success seemed like a distant dream. (a familiar narrative for Cyclone Nation.)
As you can see below, this team is trending upward, and there's no better time than now to jump on the bandwagon.
Grantland 2015 AL West Preview : If you're not into advanced stats, then this preview may as well be written in Mandarin to you. Stat heads keep reading. Personally, I love it. One of the more comprehensive previews I found.
CBSSports.com MLB Season Preview : The staff here certainly has love for the Mariners. It also appears they like some of their players to take home some hardware when it's all said and done.
ESPN MLB Preview : It looks like the folks here are also picking the Mariners to make a deep run. Seems as though everything is coming up Millhouse for the Mariner's!
Why The Mariners
Cyclone fans can relate to this team, as it feels like we've waited years for the "the time is now" moment that seemingly never arrives. I'm here to tell you, the time IS now, and if you wait until next year to hop on the Mariners train, you may be too late. This year's team, built around a superstar pitcher in Felix Hernandez and perennial All-Star second baseman Robinson Cano, is joined by a solid young core, and is ready to make "the leap." Kyle Seager, their recently signed slugger and Gold Glove winner is poised for a potential breakout MVP campaign.
Last year's team featured the best bullpen in all of baseball, and returns nearly every key cog from a team that fell one game short of making the playoffs. They signed the only player in the majors last year to hit 40 home runs in Nelson Cruz to a free agent deal. They're debuting sweet home alternates this season, and did I mention, you get to see this guy pitch every 5th day?
Why Not the Mariners
Although most would point to it being rainy all the time in Seattle (common misconception), it is mostly cloudy around 200 days out of the year. Sounds like Ames, IA, or perhaps that's just how we fans feel....
Some casual fans of baseball sometimes forget this team exists, or will frown at you when you say it's your favorite team. As in, why, what the hell is the matter with you?
Also sometimes confused for the Marlins, which leads to constant clarification. Even though the Marlins play on the opposite end of the country, have completely opposite jersey colors, and have actually won World Series titles. But ya know, fish and stuff....
A Hint for Tomorrow
That wraps up the second day of our WRNL Adopt a Team "previews." Be sure to come back on Friday to vote in our poll for which team we'll spend the summer agonizing over.