Ladies and gentlemen, the Seattle Mariners are no longer the worst team in the AL West!
The Houston Astros have joined the AL West and Mariners fans are rejoicing as Astros fans mourn the loss of the double-switch.
This article may sound like a "The Astros suck" article, which it isn't, but you can't argue that the Astros are the best team in baseball.
While the move won't be in effect until the 2013 season, both teams don't seem to be going anywhere fast so I'm going to use statistics from this past season in this slide when comparing the teams.
Let's be honest, they're not going to be much better in 2013 unless they both pull a Tampa Bay Rays and go from worst to first.
This move was made to balance out the leagues as well as the divisions. The NL Central no longer has six teams and the AL West no longer have four.
The move was also meant to support an intrastate rivalry between the Astros and the Texas Rangers.
However the team benefiting the most is the Seattle Mariners and here are the reasons why.
It's no secret that the Seattle Mariners are the worst offensive team in baseball. That's pretty much a borderline fact seeing how they finished dead last in just about every offensive category.
The Mariners have been at the receiving end of jokes because of this but the Houston Astros might change that.
Last year the Astros fared a little bit better when it came to offense than the Mariners did. However, the Astros weren't exactly the New York Yankees, either.
The Astros traded away Hunter Pence and Michael Bourn, two of their best players (not even just in the offensive category). They have Carlos Lee trying to hold up their version of a lineup.
If the Mariners still don't have a winning record, at least they have a chance of not being the worst offensive team in the AL and possibly the majors.
All right, so the Seattle Mariners weren't the worst pitching team in the league this past season.
But I'm pretty sure no one, outside of super baseball enthusiasts, could name their starting rotation after Felix Hernandez.
King Felix was pretty much the reason why the Mariners weren't so bad pitching wise (outside of Doug Fister who was traded and rookie phenom Michael Pineda).
However, the Houston Astros have a worse pitching staff that the Mariners do. They're led by Brett Myers and ... I'm not sure who else. Is Wandy Rodriguez still on that team?
Anyway, worse pitching means the Mariners finally have a team they can beat up on, that is, if the Mariners ever get some real offense.
One of the reasons the move was made was because it gave the Texas Rangers another team in their time zone. The rest of the AL West play on Pacific Coast time.
Time zones make a bit of a difference as when an eastern team goes west to play, they're losing time and possibly have to fight through jet lag.
The Houston Astros now have to face this issue as they leave the NL Central and join the AL West.
The time zone difference could potentially hurt the Astros which means it could potentially help the Seattle Mariners.
Hey, the Mariners need any help they can get when it comes to winning.
This is the obvious one here as the previous three slides have been hinting at this.
The Seattle Mariners have a team in their division that could be worst offensively, is worst pitching-wise, and has to fight a time zone difference and jet lag. Add those up and you have a victory for the Mariners.
The Mariners haven't had back to back seasons with winning records since 2002 and 2003. Since then, they've been struggling to reach the .500 mark, let alone have a winning record.
They've only had positive records twice since 2003 which was in 2007 and 2009.
The Houston Astros joining the AL West means that the Mariners will have a team that they'll face often and should be able to beat.
More wins means more fans. That's just how it works.
Even the Tampa Bay Rays have to admit they have more fans now than when they were the AL East doormat despite their still poor attendance records.
When the Houston Astros are in town, the fans know that's a team the Mariners should beat. Therefore, they'd be more likely to go to the stadium to watch the game.
After all, who wants to go to a game where they pretty much know that their team will lose? Face it, Mariner fans will be more likely to go to a Astros-Mariners game than a Texas Rangers-Mariners game.
As long as the team keeps winning, the fans will be interested.
Going off the increased fan attendance, more wins also mean better TV ratings as the Mariners win more games. Even if fans don't want to go to the stadium, they'll at least follow a team that wins via the TV.
A team can always use better TV ratings.
Everyone invested in the team, including owners, GMs, managers, coaches, scouts, players, various front office personnel, even the play-by-play guy, wants their team to be watched.
If it's not at the ballpark, then at least it'll be at home with the help of a television.
Higher TV ratings means more revenue which owners always love.
I touched on this briefly on the last slide but only through the TV side of things.
Winning teams are more likely to sell more merchandise, tickets, concessions, and various other things than losing teams are.
With the Houston Astros moving to the AL West, the Seattle Mariners stand a good chance of winning more games.
The more games the win, the more their revenue will go up.
There's a whole economic process to this with a bunch of details that I don't even quite follow, but basically the more money a team makes, the more they have to spend.
That means, the more the Mariners make, they more they can spend on players which means they'll be able to afford high-price, big-name players.
Being able to afford them means they can improve the team which means more wins which in turn means more money to spend. The cycle goes on.
Baseball has also expanded the playoffs to include 10 teams. With the Houston Astros changing divisions and leagues, the Seattle Mariners have a better shot of being one of those 10 teams.
For now, that extra team looks to be one of the three beasts from the AL East, but you never know what could happen in the future.
The Astros aren't playoff bound and neither are the Mariners, but at least the Mariners have a better chance.
Mariner fans have wanted postseason baseball back in Seattle for some time now. The Astros' move could be the first step in this direction.
Now this is a ways down the road, but with the Houston Astros' move, the Seattle Mariners could be one step closer to bringing a winning team, and a winning tradition, to the city of Seattle.
Seattle has had some sports pains in the past. The Seattle Supersonics were taken from the city and relocated in Oklahoma City.
That leaves just the Seattle Seahawks and the Mariners as Seattle's major sports team.
Neither one of them has enjoyed success in some time. Should the Mariners be able to turn things around with the Astros joining the division, that could easily change.
Seattle is a good sports city with a loyal fan base. They deserve a team that wins.
For too long the Seattle Mariners have been at the butt end of baseball jokes.
For too long the Mariners have been the AL's doormat as teams took games against them for granted.
For too long the Mariners have been in the AL's cellar.
The time for the Mariners to rise is soon. The Houston Astros are in a worse shape than the Mariners.
They traded away their two most watchable players this past trade deadline for prospects who are far from being major league ready. At least the Mariners still have Ichiro Suzuki and Felix Hernandez.
The AL has found a new team to beat up on. At last, the Mariners will no longer have to bear that beating.