Watch: Mitch Haniger opens Mariners season with 411-ft blast
Mitch Haniger isn’t just talking the talk when it comes to the Mariners’ goal of ending their 20-year playoff drought. In his first opportunity of the 2022 season, he walked the walk.
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With Ty France on first base and two outs in the first inning, Haniger blasted an offering from Twins starter Joe Ryan 411 feet into the left field seats of Target Field to give the Mariners a quick 2-0 lead on opening day.
Hitting cleanup behind new M’s slugger Jesse Winker, Haniger provided the loudest moment of Seattle’s first turn at the bat. It was fitting that the 31-year-old right fielder hit the first homer of the Mariners’ season considering a piece he wrote for The Players’ Tribune with the headline “Dear Mariners Fans” was the first big thing to come out of Seattle’s offseason following their 90-win campaign that fell just short of the playoffs in 2021.
After 39 homers last year, @M_Hanny17 picks up where he left off. pic.twitter.com/l9oM6QkfzW
— MLB (@MLB) April 8, 2022
“I hope the other teams in the league are all reading this, and they understand that we’re about to get after it in the offseason,” Haniger wrote in the column. “And then we’re coming for one of those playoff spots — and more. I hope our front office is reading this, and they understand that it’s time to really go all-in. It’s time to make some impact moves, and put this group over the top.”
The column was the basis for a video released by the Mariners on Thursday night that created quite the buzz on social media, sending a clear message that the M’s plan to be in hot pursuit of a playoff spot this year.
It’s time. #SeaUsRise pic.twitter.com/ebkhzu9Hpv
— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) April 8, 2022
After Haniger’s piece, the Mariners’ front office followed up with several big moves – first a trade for 2021 National League All-Star second baseman Adam Frazier, then the signing of reigning American League Cy Young Award winner Robbie Ray, and finally a blockbuster swap with the Reds to bring All-Stars Winker and Eugenio Suárez to Seattle.
Haniger hit a career-high 39 home runs last season, and based on how he started 2022, he’s poised to make a run at a new career-high total. The big question, though, is if he’ll get sign an extension to stay in Seattle as he’s set to be a free agent after this season.
Mariners radio broadcasts, including the opening day game in Minnesota, are carried on Seattle Sports 710 AM, the flagship station of the Mariners Radio Network. For details on how to tune in, click here.
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