Maybe everybody’s making too much of this Seattle Mariner spring-time nightmare? Yes, the offense-less team has lost the first four of a nine-game home stand. True, even with the benefit of what could be the league’s best starting pitching, the M’s languish in last place in the worst division in major-league baseball. And yet the 11-15 club is only a couple of games out of the lead in the A.L. West, which may eventually be won by a franchise with a losing record.
It’s also worth noting that there isn’t much that can be done by the front office just now. Jack Zduriencik, until recently the consensus “genius GM,” has been conceding lately that trade deals won’t be forthcoming for weeks or months. Even then it isn’t likely that the M’s would beckon, say, Paul Konerko, who has more home runs than the Seattle team combined.
Is there an easier solution to the M’s woes? Perhaps. Moreover, it was demonstrated by the very Tampa Bay franchise presently tormenting the home-town ballclub.
In November of 2007 the Tampa franchise had accumulated a 10-season mark of 645-972, finishing in last place all but once. Management understandably had a few problems with this; big-time “solutions,” including a new stadium, weren’t happening.
One idea: get rid of a couple of players — and syllables. The primary owner, Stuart Sternberg, simply exorcised the team nickname. The Devil Rays were, ahem, rechristened “Rays.” Since then the franchise has gone 181-143, winning the division and playing in the ’08 World Series and placing third last year. Tampa’s 19-7 record through May 4 is the best in baseball.
So it’s pretty easy, really. All the Mariners need to do is drop a couple of cumbersome syllables. True, the nickname “Ners” wouldn’t win many promotional contests. On the other hand, “Ners” isn’t that much less enviable than Great Lake Loons, Modesto Nuts or the culturally inexplicable Utah Jazz.
But why not scrap the “Mariners” identity altogether? If Safeco Field really is regarded as The House That Griffey Built, why not the Seattle Kens?
All right, so the concept may go beyond the, uh, ken of many fans. One other solution, then: Zduriencik brings in Paul Konerko.
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