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A new season for the mariners

With baseball being back, the Seattle Mariners are looking to strike back and make the playoffs for the second time in the past three seasons.
Tate Livingston
Opening day of the Mariners season, in a 6-4 loss to the Red Sox.

On March 28th, a new season of Major League Baseball kicked off as the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres kicked off a two-game set in Seoul, South Korea. 


After a disappointing finish last year, going 88-74 and barely missing out on the playoffs, where the Texas Rangers finished just above them at 90-72, and went on to win the world series, the Mariners will now try to get back to the spot they were at in 2022. 


One of the Mariners biggest and most loyal fans, junior Tate Livingston, has hope but was disappointed by last year’s finish.


“Everyone felt pretty bummed at the end of last year, people forget we were in first place of the division with like 30 games left to play and we didn’t make the playoffs,” Livingston said. “We had 3 out of the top 10 guys in the league who struck out the most,” Junior Matt Wesche said.


Early on in the offseason, the Mariners dealt pitcher Robbie Ray to the San Francisco Giants to bring back outfielder Mitch Haniger, who had been with the Mariners from 2017-2019, left the team for a year, joined back in 2021-2022, left again, and is now back again. Haniger is now leading the team in RBI’s (runs batted in) with 13, second on the team in batting average to budding superstar Julio Rodriguez. Rodriguez, who led the Mariners to the playoffs in his rookie season, is trying to bring them back in his third year. 


Despite the Mariners making this trade after heading into the offseason with some key flaws, many fans were disappointed by the front office’s lack of effort in improving the team.


“I will always support the Mariners and this current team but it’s hard when it feels like the ownership isn’t putting in enough money to create a winning program,” Junior Tate Livingston said. “It feels like they don’t care as much about winning a World Series as they say they do, and people were hoping for a significant investment from ownership after last year which did not happen.” 


The Mariners have hovered around the .500 mark for most of the season, most notably sweeping the Cincinnati Reds and beating the reigning world champions, the Texas Rangers 4-0. 


“Right now the team’s playing well so I’m hopeful this year that they can get back to the postseason,” Livingston said. “The way I feel about this year’s team is complicated but I’m a Mariners fan through and through and will have hope.”


Wesche was also optimistic, as this year the Mariners seem to have an easier path. “I think we could easily make the playoffs this year, our division is worse than most years,” Wesche said. “It feels surprising but we’re at the top of the AL West (division) currently.”


However, Livingston noticed that in the games he’s been to this year, there has been a much weaker environment, and fans have been less optimistic. “With the atmosphere at the games I feel like there aren’t as many people there this year, I think the reasons I mentioned above are causing people to be hesitant before supporting the ownership and buying tickets.”


And this issue stretches out to a larger scope. The MLB as a whole, still has yet to implement a salary cap, and certain teams have benefited mightily, such as the L.A. Dodgers, who were able to pay superstar Shohei Ohtani a whopping 10 year $700 million dollar contract this past offseason. 


“I think the MLB as a whole has issues similar to the Mariners. Look at teams like the Rockies and Athletics, these owners refuse to spend as much money and don’t care about winning,” Livingston said. “It’s not good for the game of baseball.”


Despite the Mariners being among those teams who haven’t spent much money, the idea of a salary cap is complicated. “It would be worse for the players for sure, it also just rewards teams like the Mariners who run an average payroll not wanting to invest a lot into the team,” Livingston said. “It’s not great for the game.”


While there are some financial issues in the MLB, Wesche thinks that the game has greatly expanded in recent years with rule changes. “The game’s are faster because of the pitch clock. I think baseball’s becoming much more fun to watch,” Wesche said.

The Mariners will look to overcome the odds and make a playoff push this season, while currently being above .500 and in a series with the Atlanta Braves.

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