As I'm sure you all know by now, Richie Sexson charged the mound in last nights game, and has been suspended for six games.
That much is set in stone. What is still up in the air, is how this affects the Mariners.
While on the surface, it may look like losing the teams leading 'slugger' for six games would be a huge blow to a team desperately trying to stay relevant in the American League. This may not ultimately be the case.
Even with Richie Sexson's seven home runs, he is struggling mightily at the plate. So far this year he is hitting a paltry .220, which is right in line with his averages over the last several years.
This could possibly be the catalyst the team needs to spark a bit of a revival. Sexson charging the mound could become a metaphor for the whole team indicating that they will not go quietly, and that they are bringing the intensity everyday to the ball park.
If the team uses this suspension as a 'rock-bottom' point of the season, it could become a powerful motivational tool for the team to begin playing with a chip on its shoulder. They should be out to prove that they can still win even without their main slugger.
In addition, the suspension will give the team time to give super-prospect Jeff Clement some time at first base. If the team can find that Clement is an adequate fielder at first, he will become even more of an asset for the team for next year and into the future.
Clement's natural position is catcher, but the team resigned Kenji Johjima to a multi-year extension a little over a week ago. If Clement can show the ability to play first, it will allow the team to get both players on the field, and most likely lengthen Clements career (This due to the fact that catching everyday is brutal to the body).
What the team needs to do is ensure that they do not fall into a 'woe-is-me' type slump. While the Major League season is long, we are already at the quarter-pole and the Mariners have too much room ahead of them to make up to waste any games.
At the end of the day, what Sexson did was reprehensibly stupid. He broke an unwritten rule in baseball fighting by bringing 'weapons' with him to the mound. Also, he really wasn't even that close to getting hit. What has been overlooked greatly so far in this whole matter is that Texas pitcher Kason Gabbard, who had just come off the DL, injured himself in the whole ordeal and will probably have to miss time. This is a sad outcome to an event that probably never should have happened in the first place.
However, the fight did happen, and Sexson got reprimanded. From here on out the Mariners need to try to turn this negative into a positive. If they don't the long days of summer stand to become even longer.