Who is this 2011 Mariners team?
It has the super talents of Felix and Ichiro.
It has the sky-high potential of Smoak, Pineda, League and Lueke.
It has the uncertain health of Wilson, Bedard, Aardsma and Guitierrez.
It has the mixed capabilities of Vargas, Saunders, Moore, Pauley, Fister, Laffey and Ryan.
It has the bartender, Tom Wilhelmsen and the ever-impending eruption that is Milton Bradley.
But, it now has a manager who, by all accounts, is BIG on accountability. this from Ichiro
“Every year is always different,” Ichiro said through interpreter Antony Suzuki. “But we have a new skipper. He’s pretty clear with what he wants to do, and we all are facing the same direction. He has a strong base that won’t sway. We know our roles and we all see the big picture, and that’s a big influence for us.”
One of Wedge’s pushes is to get players working and thinking in tandem with hitters above and below them in the batting order, and Ichiro talked of both directions Thursday.
With regard to No. 2 hitter Chone Figgins, he said the growth from a year is obvious.
“We’ve played for a little more than a year now, and we obviously know each other a lot more,” Ichiro said. “Spring Training and the season are different, so we’ll have to see how it works out starting tomorrow. But we trust each other more, we know more about each other’s personalities and game style. So that said, we rely on each other more because we know each other. That’s how it should be, and that’s how it will be.”
He also sees good things in having Brendan Ryan and Jack Wilson hitting eighth and ninth at the bottom of the order, setting up more speed on the basepaths in front of him than in recent years, and the potential for more run-producing opportunities.
“It’s interesting because I have more to do now with guys on base,” he said. “I have to do what I can do to help the team, and that’s what I look forward to.”
So, while the long term goal is … WINNING…
The short term expectations have been notably lowered, as this season the team comes together under new leadership to show marked improvement in terms of on the field talent and performance and off the field attitude and accountability. Baby steps that, over time, this will lead to that ultimate goal.
Patience is a virtue fans….
In the end, I’ve no doubt it will be worth the wait.
GO MARINERS !!!