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The three things a political candidate must possess in order to win an election are media, money and momentum. It's the same thing with a baseball team...almost. Those three things are very important, but some good scouts and level-minded leaders are also necessary for success.
The Mariners have media. They have a great television contract with ROOT sports that broadcasts all over the Pacific Northwest as well as into Canada and to anyone with a baseball package through their TV service.
They have also attracted a substantial international following from a number of places, Japan, in particular. Bringing Ichiro over in 2001 was huge for marketing, and the team has continued to milk that connection for everything it is worth.
The team has money. Going back to Japan, the primary owner of the team is Hiroshi Yamauchi, the former president of Nintendo. They also aren't tied down in hardly any bad contracts (the primary exception being Chone Figgins).
The momentum is there since the general direction of movement in the organization right now is up (based off the fact that the young players are moving up and the team really has nowhere to go but up). As the cohesiveness increases and chemistry builds throughout the season, that momentum will continue to grow.
The Mariners scouting team is one of the best in the MLB, particularly the international scouts (who got Felix, Pineda, Ichiro). Jack Z has an eye for talent (incidentally, he drafted Prince Fielder while he was with the Brewers) that will translate into success for the ball club in the very near future.
As for leadership, it is currently one of the team's strongest qualities. Manager Eric Wedge has done a great job bringing the team together from the dugout and the locker room. He has earned the respect of the players which is a huge part of the player-manager relationship.
There are also veteran leaders on the team like Miguel Olivo, who has been a fantastic mentor for the young Mariners pitching staff. Since a lot of next year's lineup will likely be homegrown, the players will have already established relationships with each other so that they can immediately play as a unit in the bigs.
All of these are components of a winning team that are sometimes overlooked, but quite important, and the Mariners are strong in all of them.