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Wassell’s Thoughts: Mariners’ Marco Gonzales shouldn’t throw at Astros

Marco Gonzales will start opening day for the Mariners in Houston on Friday. (Getty)

Welcome to another edition of Tom Wassell’s Thoughts, a regular column from the co-host of 710 ESPN Seattle’s Tom, Jake and Stacy. This week, Tom looks at the Mariners’ upcoming opening series with the Houston Astros as well as why the Seahawks haven’t been fortunate as of late.

Mariners starter Marco Gonzales shouldn’t throw at the Astros

There’s a word my old co-host The Groz would use anytime he thought something was asinine or someone was acting in a foolish manner: CHUMP!

“That’s chump,” he might say if he sees a person’s behavior as obnoxious or unnecessary.

Chump is the word I’m using to describe the notion that Mariners opening day starter Marco Gonzales is obligated to hit one or more Astros players with a pitch. I am not calling Gonzales a chump. I have nothing but respect for him. My issue is with the idea that throwing at hitters is applicable to any on-field beef that baseball players may have.

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In the context of a game or even a season, if a pitcher is throwing at your teammates, go ahead – retaliate. In this case, I fully support the manner in which baseball players have policed themselves going back over a century: an eye for an eye. Both benches get warned, maybe there’s a brawl or some ejections, but those are small prices to pay to earn both the respect of your teammates and opposing players.

Here we have a team in the Astros that actually stole a championship by illegitimate means. This ranks among some of the worst offenses or scandals we’ve seen in the game’s long history. It might even be at the top. Those players are forever disgraced whether they’ve admitted wrongdoing or not. Throwing a pitch at any one of them doesn’t seem like an appropriate response. What would that action solve? It feels like throwing an egg at someone’s house if that person just robbed you of all your money. Sure, there’s a momentary satisfaction, but it doesn’t help you get even and you end up looking a bit foolish after having done it.

Our colleague Aaron Goldsmith, the Mariners broadcaster, told us Wednesday on Tom, Jake and Stacy that “someone is gonna throw at them.” Good point. So, I guess, why shouldn’t it be Marco? I don’t really have a response to that. I’d just rather another team deal with this than the Mariners.

If the Mariners become the league’s heroes for having physically punished Houston without having been a winning team in a very long while, it makes them look a little small. I don’t want that.

Seahawks have had some bad luck

The Seahawks are just like every other team in the sense that they acquire free agents and draft players each year. These are guys that come with expectations to perform immediately and improve the team from where they were the year before. For awhile Seattle has been hanging around in the 9-7 to 11-5 area with relatively early playoff exits. Why? They’ve added good players. Could it be that they’ve just had bad luck and might continue to suffer from it?

Granted, we don’t know what’s going to happen with Quinton Dunbar’s legal situation, and he only just became a Seahawk, so there’s been no tangible effect yet felt by his presence (or lack thereof). But keep in mind that he’s one of those players that wasn’t just picked up off the scrap heap. He is here to make a difference in a secondary that struggled mightily in 2019. If they end up playing without him for an extended period of time or forever, that’s going to kill them.

Jarran Reed is another guy who in 2018 was probably the second- or third-best player on the defense. Because of an off-field issue, he was suspended six games by the league last season. The defense felt his absence every single down he wasn’t out there with his teammates.

And who could forget Malik McDowell? After injuring himself during recreational activities after the draft, he never even put on a Seahawks uniform. He was their first pick in 2017 (second round) and, like Dunbar, came with expectations. Pass rush has been a weakness for a few years now and if not for McDowell’s injuries might have looked a lot different. Because of his accident, Seahawks general manager John Schneider had to make a last minute trade for Sheldon Richardson, who was only here for a year. We’ve been scrambling ever since.

None of these things are the faults of Pete Carroll and John Schneider. At some point, the defense needs to be fixed, but right now, it feels like the Seahawks have been burned beyond their control.

Follow 710 ESPN Seattle’s Tom Wassell on Twitter.

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