I thought I was joking about the Mariners’ spring training hats having bad mojo. Now it seems clear these hats are no laughing matter.
The Mariners suffered injury after injury in 2017, to the point that they were threatening records for most players used in a season. The plague hasn’t stopped in 2018, with new first baseman Ryon Healy needing hand surgery, Erasmo Ramirez suffering a lat strain, and the kicker on Monday coming in the form of Felix Hernandez taking a hard line drive off his elbow. Those are only the most notable injuries the Mariners have encountered in less than two full weeks of spring training, too.
So, what does this have to do with hats?
The Mariners are wearing hats for the second spring training in a row that feature an upside-down trident logo – a symbol that carries bad luck according to Greek mythology. You see, the trident is the weapon of Poseidon, and the symbol was actually believed to be good luck on the seas. But if you turn the trident over, like the Mariners do to form an ‘M’ on their Cactus League hats, the luck is said to be reversed.
The Mariners have known this. After using a version of the logo from the team’s inception in 1977 through 1986, a period in which the Mariners never finished with a winning percentage higher than .469, they didn’t use the logo in an official capacity (outside of the occasional Turn Back the Clock game) for 20 years. The 1995 Mariners’ incredible playoff run, the division series win over the White Sox in 2000, and the 2001 team tying the MLB record for wins all happened in trident-free years.
For some reason the Mariners decided to bring the trident logo back in 2017, using it on new hats for spring training. They were cool, had a mix of retro and modern styles that looked good on the field, and presumably sold well for the franchise, so the hats made a return for another spring in Arizona.
The Mariners should have known better.
While the hat was flying off shelves, Seattle dealt with so many injuries in 2017 that they tied a record for MLB teams by using 40 pitchers in a season. Their position players didn’t have much better luck, either. Jean Segura and Mitch Haniger had multiple trips to the disabled list, Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz and Kyle Seager all had nagging injuries that slowed them down at various times, and a Mariners team that honestly was talented enough to be in the playoff race never found its groove.
The injuries were so bad last year that I brought up the trident issue then (and I wasn’t the only one), so I was surprised and a little disappointed that the hats came back for another round in Arizona.
I don’t know if the Mariners even considered the logo an issue over the offseason, but considering the injury plague of 2017, it seemed like a no-brainer that they would find another logo to use in the spring. We all know the adage “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” I fear the Mariners have been fooled twice.
Considering the whole premise of this theory is based on superstition, I know my argument is flimsy on its face. But it’s not like the Mariners’ fortunes with injuries are going to get any worse if they stop wearing a hat that has a known symbol of bad luck on it.
And even if the hats aren’t unlucky, at this point they’re forever connected to one of the more unlucky stretches in a franchise history full of them. Seems only sensible that the Mariners would burn them and find another logo to use during spring training.
.@Mariners trident hat timeline
Used from 77-86
-No winning seasons
Not used from 1987-2001
-7 winning seasons, 4 playoff appearances
Trident hats begin selling at Safeco in late 2002
-No playoff appearances since
Trident returns on ST hats in 2017
-Plague of injuries
— Brent Stecker (@BrentStecker) February 27, 2018