The Seattle Mariners are in New York resting up on a travel day before embarking on a three game series with the New York Yankees. Over the years I have developed a love-hate relationship with the Yankees. On the one hand I can recall the intense rivalry of the 95-01 era highlighted by the play-off victory in 95. I was so excited by that series that I met the Mariners at Boeing field at 5 am after they had just dropped the first two games in New York. There were only a handful of fans there at that time of the morning and yet after going to every game they played at the dome from mid-August on, I felt compelled to be there. Those were the glory years of Mariners Baseball and the upcoming series pales in comparison to those days of lore.
There is another part of me that has always been in awe of this franchise and their 27 World Championships. My grandfather Gordon “Dusty” Rhodes pitched for the Yankees from 1929-32 before being traded to the Red Sox in midseason missing out on going to the series with them that year. Dusty pictured above with his wife Leah (my grandmother) and Babe Ruth, though highly touted coming up had pretty much a mediocre career in the big leagues see stats: http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/r/rhodego01.shtml . I need to confess that in recent years I have sort of been having a long-distance affair with the Yankees, culminating in me actually rooting for them last year as they went on to win it all. I know some of you may be shocked but after so many years of disappointment with the Mariners I sort of went back to my roots, partially to honor my Grandfather and partially because the Yankees play the game the way it should be played.
The Yankees in almost every era with the exception of the 80’s and early 90’s have always been the team to beat. This year’s team represents perhaps the end of an era as Jeter, Posada, Riviera, Pettitte and A-Rod try to repeat and go all the way. Now to be clear nothing would make me happier than to see the Mariners play respectable ball and win this series, but on paper we just don’t measure-up to this franchise. They just have too much talent, history and poise on the field. Sure Cliff Lee and Felix Hernandez are throwing the first two games, but unlike the Mariners the Yankees have great pitching and hitting.
I was thinking today about all the various players and teams the Mariners have put on the field since the endless re-building period of the post Lou Piniella era. Unlike the Yankees we always seem to have 2-3 weak spots in our lineup that good teams like the Yankees don’t seem to have. The recent addition of Russell Branyon will help but we still are huge underdogs going into Yankee stadium tomorrow night. One of the perks of starting this expansion blog this year is getting to say what I really feel knowing that only a few hundred people may actually read any given post. For the most part I have tried to stay positive about the Mariners with the exception of a few jabs at upper-management and players and coaches that were deserving of a little heat. Trust me many of the other bloggers and journalists have been less civil towards the club. So now you all know that under the right set of circumstances I too am capable of cheating on my home team.http://jeffsmariners.com