If Seattle had a sports-themed amusement park, the roller coaster ride would probably be called the “Moose-a-lini,” “Marinator,” or “M’s-Sir-Mount-able.”
For some, a roller coaster is a frightening event. Others enjoy the thrill of getting jolted and twisted through the ups and downs and upside-downs.
Depending on the constitution of the average baseball fan in Seattle, the first decade of baseball in the new millennium may have been either orgasmic or revolting, as there were more highs and lows for the Mariners than the scariest coaster at Six Flags.
That initial climb the coaster uses to gain momentum started in the mid-‘90s and carried the Mariners to scream-filled playoff appearances in 2000 and 2001, vaulting over the apex of wins in the history of the American League along the way.
The “M-inator” was cruising along until 2003, winning 90-plus games each of the first four years of the decade.
Then, as carnie-rides often do, the bottom dropped out and the free-fall started, as 99 losses piled up in 2004.
Watch out! Here comes the double loop-to-loop as the ride finishes: 93 losses in ’05; 84 losses in ’06; 88 wins in ’07; 101 losses in ’08; and 85 wins in ’09.
The M’s also had no shortage of thrill seekers. The turnstiles were smoking while they herded new players in and out of the “roster-coaster” lineup. Still, more adrenaline junkies relentlessly stood in line to take part in the 2009 makeover of the most unpredictable team in baseball.
Looking back at the last 10 years, there has been a revolving door of average, great, and not so great players to earn an income in the Pacific Northwest. After Ken Griffey Jr., Jay Buhner, and Edgar Martinez all played every year of the 1990s, not a single player put on a Mariner uniform for the entire decade between 2000 and 2009.
However, many played several years at a level that left Mariner fans smiling, laughing, and screaming with joy as they headed for the exits.
The following 25-man roster represents the best the Mariners had to offer during the first 10 years of the century. It will not include all the players, but rather the best team that could be put together position by position.
For instance, Jay Buhner played right field. So does Ichiro. Only one gets the roster spot. Sorry Jay—it was yours in the ‘90s, and this is the team of the ‘00s.
The best yearly statistics of the 25 players are listed individually on the final page. Can any team in baseball put together a better decade roster than what the Mariners could?