Mariners newest loss: the fans?

Even Cliff Lee isn't much of a draw. And the Sounders just got more fans.
Even Cliff Lee isn't much of a draw. And the Sounders just got more fans.

Seattle Mariners players may have been feeling like other local baseball fans lately, biding time until football season could start again. How else to account for the M's posting football-like numbers Friday (May 22) after a quarter season of mostly soccer-level score production?

Saturday, however, after putting up a couple of touchdowns with a 15-8 win over San Diego the night before, the M's got back to a Seattle Sounders-caliber scoring output in losing 2-1 to the Padres.

Doing so, the M's outscored their soccer brethren by one. The Sounders FC lost 1-0 to San Jose a few hours before the baseball verdict. Maybe the M's and Sounders ought to take up golf, in which low score wins.

Meanwhile, the best local sports teams feature women. The Storm's record is 3-0 after a Saturday overtime win in Phoenix. The UW women's softball team continues to advance to what could be a defense of its 2009 national championship, the latest triumph a 1-0 finish against North Carolina in a Saturday post-season game.

The problems for the Mariners go beyond the obvious liability of a 16-27 record and the dubious position of being four games back in the American League West — that's four games back of third place.

More ominous is the spectacle of drawing just 28,670 to fan-friendly Safeco Field on a Saturday night. That's 6,000 fewer than the Sounders lured for the matinee next door at Qwest.

True: The M's are averaging just 1,100 fewer butts on seats than the '09 team drew through 22 home dates. But it's instructive that soccer and the Seahawks, despite on-field mediocrity (well, awful-ocrity in the case of the Hawks), draw at or near capacity while the M's lure 24-K and change Friday even with Cliff Lee on the mound. Lee is the most entertaining lefty the franchise has had since Randy Johnson was a Mariner.

Alas, he's been just about the only entertainment so far this season. The recent high-achiever on offense has been Mike Sweeney, six for nine combined during the Friday and Saturday games. I''s pretty impressive that the 36-year-old walk-on leads the team with five home-runs. Or, looking at it differently, it'ꀙs pretty pathetic that a part-time guy with a bad back leads any big-league club, much less doing so with just five dingers after 43 games.

Authorities among the sports-radio jabbering class have been speculating that Lee may be traded for help on offense. There was a time when most sane observers would have rejected any talk of dealing Lee.

But if his presence on field doesn't result in any walk-up traffic, what's to be gained by keeping him?

Rather than pondering the latter, a lot of local sports fans seem to have decided to go to where the real traffic is. Walk with your fingers to the website, aka "The Essential Seahawks Community." Near the top of the page you'll find an electronic clock ticking down to the start of Hawk training camp: 69 days, 15 hours, 19 minutes, 57 seconds, 56, 55 . . .

Wait, I think a few Seattle Mariners players may have just logged on there . . . 45, 44, 43 . . .


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