My oh My its finally here, months of suffering through winter are over. Spring training is over, the games count, the rosters are set, and this is the squad your team is sending on the field to try and win it all this year. The season officially opened a little earlier in Japan and served as a fitting way to say good bye to one of the most influential baseball players in Japan and America. The Mariners and Oakland A’s played a 2-game set in the Tokyo dome with the Mariners winning both games. And as awesome as that series was, I don’t know too many other people who woke up at 2:30 am to watch the games, so when all the teams are scheduled to play it feels more like the actual Opening Day. Call it what you may but baseball is back, and the Mariners are the best team in baseball. If the season ended today, God forbid that would be awful, the Mariners would be playoff bound. A feat that has not been accomplished since Ichiro’s rookie year in 2001.
Speaking of the Legend and first ballot Hall of Famer, seeing him say good bye in Tokyo was emotional to say the least. Ichiro transformed baseball and squashed the notion that Japanese players couldn’t hit in the major league. He was always fun to watch and helped make the Mariners a 116-win team in 2001 and capped the year by taking home the Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player awards. He finished with 3089 hits in the MLB. He was a 10 time All-Star and Gold Glove winner and he had a .311 lifetime batting average. He scaled walls to rob home runs and used his canon of an arm to throw out would be base runners. He will certainly be missed by the game and the fans.
As the seasons come and go so to do baseball players. That’s what makes it even more special is that one day it will end and all that is left are memories of glory and the scars of battle. Enjoy every minute of every pitch of the season because you never know when it will end. The Mariners seem to be doing just that as this year the expectations are low, and the pressure is almost nonexistent. They are supposed to be taking a step back this year with the eyes on the prize of future contention, but what is stopping them from making the run now? The ball still needs to be thrown across the plate, plays need to be completed, and injuries happen without notice. Sure, they are facing big odds but and the ball needs to bounce their way more than not, but it still can happen. That’s what makes sports so great, its random and unexpected and anything can happen at any time. You can be dominant like Madison Bumgarner was on opening day and give up one mistake that lost the game. That’s how it goes sometime, one pitch can affect the outcome of the game. That’s edge of your seat kinda stuff right there, I can’t understand how people say this game is boring.
We are just starting the season, and anything is possible, all outcomes are feasible in the minds of the fans. Every team has a chance to over come and reach the promise land of a World Series championship. I can’t wait to see how this all plays out and who is left standing at the end of summer. I am excited to talk baseball once again and will be following many story lines but a few interests me the most, and they happen to be west coast teams so be warned. I want to see how this “step back” plays out for the Mariners. I hope it works out and they compete and give the fans fun, competitive baseball while also building for a team that will compete for a World Series soon. I also want to see how the San Francisco Giants handle Bumgarner’s last year under contract. Do they trade him mid-season if they are not in contention? What kind of haul would they get? Interesting stuff that we will keep an eye on at Uncovering Sports. Enjoy every moment of this year, I know I will. For the first time of 2019, Play Ball!