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Mariners' spring training: This year, hope springs authentic

A team that flailed at the plate last year has lots of hitting options this year. And then there's the pitching.

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That's a good team, if overloaded with first-base/DH types. But, after the hitting drought of recent seasons, having too many hitters competing for positions is a good thing.

If you've not been to spring training, I commend it to you. In these early spring days, optimism reigns in the fresh morning workouts and players are hustling to impress Wedge and his coaches.

The Seattle fans here are heavily weighted toward senior citizens and family groups. I watched two grandfathers playing catch with their grandsons Wednesday as they watched the Mariners working out in the background. Players are approachable and pleased to sign autographs. They often walk over to chat with fans they recognize. Not something that happens in the regular season.

I've got my own favorites here. I am rooting for Garland and Bonderman to keep their careers alive after injuries. Same for Bay, although I like Wells as well and would hate to see one cut if the other made the team. Ryan is a brilliant fielder at shortstop and a play-for-keeps competitor. Zunino is an old-school baseball player. Fans will love him when he gets to Safeco. He is a refuse-to-lose throwback.

In the past several seasons, I've hoped the Mariners could be competitive. This year I feel sure they will be.

Ted Van Dyk has been involved in, and written about, national policy and politics since 1961. His memoir of public life, Heroes, Hacks and Fools, was published by University of Washington Press. You can reach him in care of editor@crosscut.com.


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Comments:

Posted Fri, Mar 1, 3:09 p.m. Inappropriate

Two days in and no comment from Harris Meyer complaining about Mr Van Dyk and the quality of his journalism? I hope Mr Meyer hasn't died...

PJS

Posted Mon, Mar 4, 3:53 p.m. Inappropriate

Your glasses seem to be extremely rose-colored, Mr. Van Dyk. Must be that you're not accustomed to that Arizona sun or are being swayed by meaningless Cactus League records.

This is a team of big question marks (Smoak, Montero, Guttierrez), nice but hardly impactful young players (Ackley, Seger, Saunders), serviceable veterans (Morales, Morse) and nice guys at the end of their careers (Ibanez, Bay). Oh, and a slick-fielding shortstop who was well under the Mendoza line last season.

You have exactly one pitcher who is a sure thing. Having "no fewer than a half-dozen pitchers" competing for the rotation is not a good thing; it means you have more questions than answers.

There are some more promising players on the horizon, and that's exciting. If by "competitive" you mean .500, then perhaps so. But they'll do no better.

bigyaz

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