The first week of the 2013 Seattle Mariners season can essentially be summed up in two words: Mike Morse.
Morse has been a breath of fresh air for a team in need of just that, recording a hit in every single game thus far, leading both the M’s and the majors with five home runs (Atlanta’s Justin Upton currently has five home runs, as well), and bringing an infectious personality to a ballclub that has very much lacked infectious personalities over the past few years.
Morse’s hot start to the season has produced a number of intriguing statistics — anomalous and otherwise — that deserve to be highlighted. Math nerds get your abacuses (abaci?) ready.
The other night I was sitting on my ass watching TV when a Gorton’s fish stick ad aired. I imagine Gorton’s would rather we all refer to them by their official title — Gorton’s Seafood — but let’s face it, what they’re known for is fish sticks. Frozen, rectangular conglomerations of mysterious fish parts. That’s all Gorton’s really is.
At the end of the commercial, a woman with a pleasant voice sang the Gorton’s slogan — “Trust the Gorton’s fisherman…” — and a thought crossed my mind. I’ve heard this jingle my entire life and never once have I actually put any faith in the Gorton’s fisherman. Does anyone trust the Gorton’s fisherman? Because I don’t.
The 2013 baseball season is underway and you don’t know how you should feel about our beloved Seattle Mariners. Fear not, M’s fans. I’m not here to tell you how you should feel (that’s no one’s place), but I can give you 11 reasons why you might be able to shed some cynicism and believe in this year’s team.
Without further delay…
11. Chone Figgins is gone.
Lest you think three years of vitriol directed towards the Mariners’ sometimes-third baseman was unwarranted, consider this:
In between Sunday afternoons spent watching Nickelodeon Guts and Family Double Dare and all the other kid shows that permeated every kid’s existence in the kid-friendly, kid-centric Nineties, I was a baseball fan. My summers were punctuated by bruises and scuffed knees and mosquito bites that only seemed to multiply each time I scratched them. I had a glove with Ken Griffey Jr.’s name burned into the pocket, a wardrobe full of blue and yellow Mariners apparel, snapback caps with an “S” on the crown, and this belief, however foolish, that I would one day grow up to be them.
Throughout the duration of every season, I would type up, print out, and maintain a list of each player on the Mariners’ active roster. Jersey number, name, and position. If Dann Howitt got called up from Triple-A, then by god you’d find me in front of a Macintosh Classic typing Howitt’s information into Microsoft Works. And if I went to a game to discover that Howitt’s jersey number had inexplicably been switched from 23 to 44, upon arriving home that edit would be made, saved, printed, and kept. I could give you the details on every single player, from No. 1 (Greg Briley and Brian Turang) all the way to No. 96 (Mak Suzuki).
What the hell is going on? People are fighting like there’s reason to fight or something. Everyone has an opinion on the Mariners’ trade of catcher John Jaso for outfielder/first baseman Mike Morse. Some people think it’s a great deal, some people think it’s a horrible deal, but regardless, everyone seems to be either agonizing or rejoicing.
First of all, this is stupid. The Mariners were Godawful last year and neither of the players we’re debating — neither Morse nor Jaso — are world-beaters. We’re talking about JOHN JASO and MIKE MORSE! This is not Ty Cobb and Babe Ruth, people! We should not be having aneurysms over two slightly-above-average major leaguers. It’s foolish in every sense of the word. No matter how many advanced statistics you can ejaculate onto the world wide web, I’m not convinced that either of these players is or was going to be the fulcrum for the Mariners’ 2013 season. We weren’t going to go from a cellar dweller to a playoff contender simply because we inserted Jaso into the lineup, nor are we going to win the division just because Morse is here now. No, there’s a greater reality here and why we can’t just discuss it for what it is is mind-boggling.
Hours before a series-clinching victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday, the Mariners announced they had traded utility man Mike Morse to the Washington Nationals. In exchange for Morse, Seattle received minor league outfielder Ryan Langerhans, a left-handed 29-year-old who is a former top prospect of the Atlanta Braves.
Morse had been all but eliminated from the Mariners’ future plans after injuring his shoulder and missing extended time in 2008. The shortstop/third baseman/outfielder had spent all of 2009 at Triple-A Tacoma, where he had posted a respectable batting line of .312/10/52 in 66 games this season.