|On the Road With the M's|
The Super Bowl is right around the corner. I’ll enjoy it much more this year because my beloved Seattle Seahawks made it to the big game. I’m an avid Seahawks fan and these days, I watch far more football than baseball. How can that be if my roots are in baseball? I spent eight years working with the Seattle Mariners, on the field and in the clubhouse. I road-tripped with the Mariners and even served as the batboy for the National League during the Major LeagueBaseball All-Star game.
A shift has occurred over the last decade. Does it have anything to do with the lack of success of the current Mariner teams? After all, they haven’t been to the playoffs since 2001. I don’t think that is it, I still follow the Mariners and get excited each spring. As a comparison, the Seahawks had some awful teams during the past decade as well and I continued to watch.
|My 2012 League Champion Trophy|
Is it Fantasy Football? I’ve been in the same league for seven years and sure, I watch more games now to follow my fantasy players. But, there is Fantasy Baseball leagues as well, and I haven’t gotten into that. I tried one year, with 162 games it takes too much time. Maybe that is the answer right there. Football only takes a tenth of the time to follow! Who has time with a wife and two kids?
Is it the steroid era? That’s an interesting question. While I don’t think that there is any place for performance enhancing drugs in professional or amateur sports, MLB has turned a hypocritical eye in that argument. Back in the nineties, when baseball was struggling to get back to popularity following the baseball strike, MLB looked for anything to create a buzz. When Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa led the chase for the single season home run record, baseball closed their eyes to the reasons why a thirty-seven year old record was at risk by not one, but two players at the same time. Years later, the same commissioner of baseball, Bud Selig, has led a charge to rid the sport of steroids, many questioning his techniques and reasons.
Maybe it is the attitude of the ballplayers themselves. Many appear entitled to play in the majors and refuse to do the little things that build character and skills. Just last season, Tino Martinez resigned from theMiami Marlins because of blowback from and incident where he yelled at players and grabbed one by the shirt. The crime … was refusing to pick up balls in the batting cage because in their minds, “I didn’t hit them.”
I could go on with a dozen more reasons that athletes have gone soft and are in it for themselves. It is rare when you find a professional athlete that treats the team as important as the individual. The Seahawks have found one in Russell Wilson. He represents everything that you would want in a professional athlete—great work ethic, team player, humble and a positive influence for everyone that encounters him.
I don’t know if I’ll ever watch baseball the same way again. Since 1992, the Seattle Mariners have had an owner that never attended a single game. He has passed away, and perhaps new blood will come in that brings a sense of community, a winning attitude and a passion for the game rather than trying to end up on the right side of the balance sheet every year.
Until then, GO HAWKS!