What the Optimist Sees in the 2011 Seattle Mariners: Part 2

 

If you missed Part 1, here is a link. As promised, here is Part 2:

6. Ichiro

In my scramble to prepare for my fantasy baseball draft, Ichiro is a name that came up very often. He was one guy that I really wanted on my team, but knowing the other owners in my league, he was a guy that I would have to overpay to get. That view isn’t typical. Many people are down on Ichiro this year for one reason: age. What makes anyone think he’s going to slow down? He still hit over .300 last year and stole 42 bases. Ichiro has his own style and he knows what he’s doing. As he told the New York Times, “Chicks who dig home runs aren’t the ones who appeal to me. I think there’s sexiness in infield hits because they require technique. I’d rather impress the chicks with my technique than with my brute strength. Then, every now and then, just to show I can do that, too, I might flirt a little by hitting one out.”

7. Little Felix aka Michael Pineda

Pineda is currently the second best Mariners prospect behind second baseman Dustin Ackley. His size is what really gets people excited. He’s 6-foot-7 and 260 pounds. David Andriesen discussed pitcher’s height in his article here. Basically, he says there are “several reasons cited in support of tall pitchers:

* They raise the mound. In 1969, major League baseball, in an effort to increase offense, lowered the pitcher’s mound from 15 inches to 10 inches. Put a 6-8 pitcher up there, and the batter’s advantage is eliminated.

* The gear effect. Physics tells us that comparing a smaller arc and a wider arc, the wider arc generates more velocity from the same force.

* “Creating plane.” In the roughly level path of a bat swing, it’s easier to make square contact with a ball traveling with a flatter angle than one with a more pronounced angle.

* Closing the distance. The release point of a pitcher with longer arms is closer to the plate, cutting that 60 feet, six inches down. Given the split-second window in which a batter must decide whether to swing, even a few inches make a difference–both physically and psychologically. “With Randy Johnson, it feels like he’s releasing the ball ten feet from the plate,” Price said.”

Height matters and starting the 2011 season, Pineda will be the Mariners fifth starter. He deserves the spot. He has dominated during Spring Training. When I say dominated, I mean he had 17 innings pitched, a 2.12 ERA, four earned runs, six walks, 14 hits and 15 strikeouts. He’s ready for the regular season and Mariners fans better be ready for another exciting pitcher.

Get used to seeing this. He's the next Mariners star.

8. Mariners Commercials

The commercials never disappoint. Here are my three favorites:

Or check out the rest here.

9. Erik Bedard

When you can trade for a pitcher coming off a 13-5 season with a 3.16 ERA and had a career high 221 strikeouts, you have to do it. The Mariners did it. Looking back on the 2008 trade, the Orioles cashed in on the 5-for-1 trade. Notable names the Orioles got for Bedard are Adam Jones, Chris Tillman, and, through a second trade, Mark Reynolds. Reynolds and Jones will be on the opening day starting roster and Tillman is one of their top pitching prospects. Any Mariners fan can tell you that Bedard hasn’t panned out like they wanted. And that’s an understatement. In three years, Bedard pitched in only 30 games and had an 11-7 record. He didn’t pitch at all in 2010. Still, the Mariners resigned him to a one-year deal for the 2011 season. Why? Because what do they have to lose at this point. Bedard is finally healthy and they got practically nothing from him during the past three seasons. Expectations are low and the Mariners only need him to be a fourth starter. Anything more than that will be an additional bonus.

I'm not sure pictures exist of Bedard pitching in a Mariners uniform because I have yet to see it happen.

10. People giving away M’s tickets

Here’s the thing. I want to go to as many Mariners games as I can this year. However, that hobby starts to get a little expensive. I know a lot of fans don’t like to go to games until they start winning, so I’ll go for you!  If you or anyone you know has tickets available, let me know!

 

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