What Fans Would Like to See from Seattle Mariners in Season's Final Months
In case you haven't noticed, the Mariners are actually on fire of late having won six in a row and 13 of their last 14 games at Safeco Field.
I'll be the first to confess that I'm no soothsayer, but I also figure why not have a little fun with this and put together a list of what the fans would like to see from the Mariners before the end of this season.
So before Felix takes the mound again again, I put together a list of a few things I'd like to see in the final months...
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Before we get started, I decided to ask my wife if she had any suggestions as a long suffering Mariners fan.
Without hesitation she offered the following in no particular order...
-Ichiro comes back...and apologizes for asking to leave.
-To be able to name an actual Mariner beyond Felix Hernandez.
-A winning record.
-A shortstop that actually hits. (Historically the Mariners have thrived when they had a strong shortstop.)
-Dan Wilson and Randy Johnson reunite and actually play.
The first lesson from brainstorming that I remember is that while there are no bad ideas; nevertheless those that stretch the limits of time and space might need to be set aside.
However, there are a few here in theory that might actually have a small chance of happening.
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One of those theories is a winning record as the M's are suddenly within reach at five games below .500 with a record of 59-64.
For a team that looked hopelessly lost at the All-Star Break, this is nothing short of remarkable.
Lately the M's have not only been winning games, but they've been doing it by finding new and exciting ways, whether it be Felix throwing a perfect game last week or rallying from behind like Monday night against the Indians.
Sneaking into Wild-Card Contention
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Should we merely be content with winning when there is not one but two wildcard spots?
If we can dream, why not dream big...right?
Funny thing is this isn't as ridiculous as you might think if you look at the current standings.
Promote Danny Hultzen
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But wait...haven't you said all season that the M's should wait on Hultzen?
Yes, and while I still deep down believe that, it might be a different conversation come September if the M's continue this magic carpet ride past .500 and onwards towards a shot at one of the two wildcards.
With the exception of two bad outings toward the end of July, Hultzen has pitched well since his early struggles following his promotion to Triple A Tacoma.
If we're going for broke come September, having someone like Hultzen's help could make life interesting.
Of course this is ridiculous, but so was suggesting Felix throw a no-hitter.
Felix Wins the Cy Young
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Speaking of Felix, I'm still giddy over his perfect game last week.
It's just one of those things that helps restore one's faith in the universe, even if it is for one fleeting moment.
Perhaps one afternoon does not make a season, but it could very well make a strong enough impression across the United States to get Felix the support needed for the Cy Young Award.
Prior to last week, Felix in the minds of most baseball fans was done for 2012 given the trade deadline had passed. The hidden gem of the Pacific Northwest would finish up another season toiling away for one of the worst teams in baseball with nothing to show for his efforts other than a .500 record at best.
Not so fast...
Felix as of today through 25 starts has a record of 11-5 with a 2.60 ERA and 174 strikeouts in 180 innings. Assuming he gets another eight or nine starts before the end of the season, he'd probably need to keep doing what he's doing in order to get the nod by winning another five or six of those games.
Not easy, but I wouldn't count Felix out...especially after last week.
Boys to Men
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Last week when listing some reasonable goals for the Mariners final stretch, I mentioned how it might be feasible for the team's young core to finish strong.
Call me greedy, but I want more and I'd like to think that all of you would agree.
It's not enough to accept mediocre, just as it's wrong to expect ownership to spend a ton of money this offseason or move in the fences.
No, what the Mariners need is to have Justin Smoak, Dustin Ackley, Jesus Montero, Kyle Seager and even Michael Saunders not just hit a few homers or raise their averages a few points, but to scratch, claw and fight for every hit, stolen base, and diving play to prove that this is the group of youngsters we should be investing our hopes and dreams in for the next 5-10 years.
If they can provide hope of something greater, something meaningful, then perhaps the M's do end up keeping Felix as opposed to dealing with all of the rumors, perhaps we stop worrying about the fences and how Safeco is a "death-trap" for right handed power hitters and with that perhaps the organization does spend a little money freed up by Ichiro's departure to find an outfielder that can mash.
And perhaps...we finally stop making excuses and turn the page.
To me this is what matters most when looking at all of the points on this list.
Day in and day out the rest of the way I want to see dirty uniforms on guys committed to earning our admiration and respect, not just a paycheck in a city where expectations are so low that .500 is considered acceptable.
It's not acceptable and I'd like to think that you agree, but also love this team enough to believe that what we are seeing now is hopefully the first step towards something great instead of a mere mirage in the middle of the summer.
Time will tell, but in Felix we trust, as for now he's all we've got...