Crushed Optimists

We are twin brothers who grew up in Central Washington. This blog is devoted to the life of Seattle sports fans, as well as various other topics that we will espouse for your enjoyment. We could be called another OFFICIAL SEATTLE SEAHAWKS site, but we'll take our uneducated crack at the Mariners, Sonics, and Huskies as well. A Seattle Sports Blog? Must be the land... of crushed optimism!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

What Constitutes a Pennant Race?

I've been reading a lot of hootin' and a hollerin' about the Seattle Mariners and their run towards a postseason berth. Larry Stone discusses the race's impact on Gil Meche and whether the M's can trade their new "star" pitcher. Ted Miller believes that Adam Jones should be sent down because the M's can't try to break in new players in a race.

Even the guys at USSMariner (a subsidiary of GodCo) and Lookout Landing have fallen under the spell of the lovable guys in blue and their chances to make the postseason.

Now, I love the optimism, and I love those sites (though Ted Miller annoys the living hell out of me).

The question is.... are the Mariners in a pennant race?

If we judge that answer by the simple fact that, as of now, the Mariners are a slim 3 games out of first place in the AL West, then the answer is yes.

If we judge that answer by the simple fact that, as of now, the Mariners are 48-51, then the answer is no.

Thar's the dilemma. Sure, we all love the feeling of MEANINGFUL games after the misery of 2004 and 2005, also known as The Nether-Years, or When the Fun Police Were Taken Out Back and Shot in the Head Three Times, Sodomized, Cut Up, and Buried in the Front Lawn.

Games like Sunday against the Bo-Sox mean a tad more, when you aren't just flipping off the whole of New England, but you are also perhaps heading to the postseason!

Decisions matter a little more. Mike Hargrove can't decide to put in Mateo four nights in a row without the entire blog-o-verse screaming hysterically into the air a la Calculon. Carl Everett's continued presence in the lineup hurts more than just a rugburn; no, it's like a full-blown hernia. Joel Pineiro's continued presence in the starting rotation causes people to eat their pillows in rage.

This is all well and good. In fact, it's better than good, because it makes people happy, and happiness is a terrific thing. Yeah for happiness!

However, what exactly are we getting excited for? What exactly are we doing as a potential buyer in the trade market?

Let's consider the best case scenario, whereby we, somehow, capture the AL West title (Pitchers stricken with injuries include Jered Weaver, Jon Lackey, Danny Haren, and Barry Zito).

We would then be put in a best-of-five series against teams such as Detroit, Chicago, Minnesota, Boston, New York, or Toronto.

Imagine the pitching lineup at that point. Meche vs. Bonderman! Moyer vs. Garland! Washburn vs. Santana! Felix vs. Schilling!

Basically, can someone comprehend a possible scenario where our three best pitchers would rival their three best pitchers?

I say this (while writing like Steve Kelley, with one sentence per paragraph), not to burst any bubbles, but simply to conclude that our goal isn't to try to slip into the playoffs with a decent, .500 team. Our goal should be to win the World Series, plain and simple, and build a team capable of doing that.

This team? No. Not capable of doing that. Not even, in my opinion, able to win the AL West, because of our starting pitching. I guess what I'm saying (in pure rambling fashion) is that it is well and good to enjoy this time and this playoff "race", but I will be ultra-pissed if we trade any more of our young players for veterans in a move "guaranteed" to help us reach the postseason. We just can't get carried away. I don't care if we "buy" anyone this trading deadline. I would actually prefer to see us as a seller, because we should be considering building towards a playoff run in 2007 or 2008, when we will actually have a chance.

If that means trading Meche, then do it. Trade Ibanez. Trade Sexson. Even consider trading Beltre if the Yankees are truly, stupidly, shopping A-Rod.

I will have fun watching the M's, but I don't consider us to be in a pennant race, and I won't, at the very least, until we are consistently above .500, with Pineiro out of the rotation, Hargrove out of the dugout, and Everett out of the lineup. This might be "meaningful" baseball, but it's not playoff caliber baseball. Sorry, everyone.

P.S. Please tell me why I'm wrong and a douche in the comments. Just remember that I picked the Angels to win this thing a couple of weeks ago when they were in last place. Now? Tied for first.

posted by colin_hesse @ 3:32 PM  0 comments

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