Gallant: How do the Mariners earn patience from fans this season?
Boy, the Mariners needed a game like Monday night’s 4-2 win over the A’s.
Kyle Lewis looking like the 2020 AL Rookie of the year? Check.
Ty France smacking a double in his first game back from a stint on the injured list? Check.
Yusei Kikuchi throwing another six-plus strong innings? Check.
And the cherry on top, a Jarred Kelenic homer? Check.
It’s been a rough month. The Mariners were no-hit twice with a third nearly sandwiched between them. They lost two of three against last-place Baltimore, were swept by last-place Detroit, and were decimated by San Diego this past weekend to wrap up a six-game losing streak. Given the Mariners’ run differential – a woeful minus-52, second-worst only to Detroit and tied with Baltimore – it isn’t that surprising. But it sure is depressing.
Also depressing: all the injuries. Like Kikuchi leaving Monday’s game with a back injury (cramping) after those six strong innings, because of course. *Throws keyboard*
Plus at least one positive COVID-19 test for some more sadness seasoning.
We’re all hopeful that we’ll see more of what we saw Monday night – minus another maimed Mariner – in the weeks ahead. Given the way their bats have struggled this season, it’s probably wishful thinking.
I’m trying to be fair to Seattle’s attempt at a rebuild. The M’s are in a tough situation. COVID-19 got in the way last year of valuable development opportunities for their highly-touted farm system as the 2020 minor league season was canceled, and it left them at least a year behind where they want to be.
But fans have it worse. The rebuild means the Mariners are hoping for – or expecting – patience from long-suffering supporters who’ve had no reason to be so accommodating. It’s been 20 years! And while I’ve seen a lot of positive signs in my year and a half covering the team, the past week burned a lot of that goodwill. I can only imagine how some of the Seattle fans who have been around the past two decades or more feel.
Some sports fans believe that you should have your favorite team’s back no matter what they put you through. And those people are the absolute worst. Sports franchises rarely deserve the benefit of the doubt, and when they’re asking for patience they shouldn’t get it so easily. They’ve got to earn it on a day-by-day basis. So how can they earn it from you?
Today's @710ESPNSeattle question:
After a rough week, what can the #Mariners do right now to earn your patience?
— Paul Gallant (@GallantSays) May 24, 2021
As the tweet above suggests, I want to know what you are looking for. In the meantime, I’ve got a suggestion: let’s hear from ownership.
Yes, actions speak louder than words. I would like to hear from chairman John Stanton and company. Could they make a public commitment and say that they want to attack free agency aggressively next offseason? To give general manager Jerry Dipoto the green light to pursue big ticket items in free agency like the team did with Robinson Canó in 2014? And officially stick a fork in ex-team president Kevin Mather’s comments in that infamous preseason Zoom session which implied the team was cheap?
For many of you, that’s just a start. For me? Those are the kinds of words that make me feel that the end of the tunnel is oh so close.
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