MLB Network’s Amsinger: Mariners camp ‘best vibe’ he’s seen in spring

Mar 15, 2023, 12:58 PM | Updated: 6:25 pm

Mariners Julio Rodríguez Sam Haggerty...

Mariners outfielders Julio Rodríguez and Sam Haggerty come off the field during a March 1, 2023 game. (Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)

(Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)

MLB Network host Greg Amsinger has been coming on the Seattle Sports airwaves for years to talk about the Mariners, and he’s generally been very optimistic about the team’s direction. When he joined Wyman and Bob on Tuesday afternoon, however, it was clear it’s gone to another level.

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Amsinger told hosts Dave Wyman and Bob Stelton that after seeing a number of camps in Arizona up close with his on-air partner Dan Plesac for MLB Network’s Spring Training Sprint, he and Plesac are in agreement about something, which they turned into a segment on TV this week.

“A segment that I came up with that I wanted to bring to our national viewers (Tuesday) is which camp in Arizona did we love the most,” Amsinger said. “Dan Plesac and I got a chance to go to nine different camps, and which camp do we love the most? … Dan Plesac and I are united on this front – the Seattle Mariners spring training camp that we spent an entire day at was by far the best vibe of any camp we attended. It’s not even close.”

The vibes of the Mariners have been catching attention over the past two seasons as they’ve won 90 games in back-to-back years, but the team went a step further last October with its first postseason appearance since 2001, which included an American League Wild Card Series win over the Toronto Blue Jays. According to Amsinger, there’s an air of confidence carrying over, and one player in particular is in the middle of it.

“Everyone in the (MLB Network) production meeting was asking me ‘What’s the big difference? You were there last year,'” Amsinger relayed. “… Here’s the difference from one year to the next: a year ago there was the buzz of this kid Julio Rodríguez that can’t get enough of himself, who’s walking around the streets of Arizona taking Instagram selfies with all these fans, and he’s interacting with everybody. And all the big leaguers are, like, rolling their eyes, and the umpires can’t wait to get their hands on him and call five pitches outside the strike zone on him. So the vibe was, this kid’s coming, we’ll see how good he is.

“This year, it is his spirit – everyone’s bought in. He’s the next Ken Griffey Jr. Everyone knows he’s the best player on the team. Everyone knows (that if) he smiles, we should smile too. Even though (veteran Mariners pitcher) Robbie Ray doesn’t like smiling, everyone’s smiling. They’re walking around, they’re on task, they’re in the cage with a pep in their step. There was music playing, there’s a confidence in the air. The entire camp embodies the spirit of Julio Rodríguez, the best player in the organization, the face of the franchise.”

All that put together goes a long way for Amsinger, who’s impressed with more than just Rodríguez. For example, the depth Seattle has on the mound or the adjustments young outfielder Jarred Kelenic is displaying this spring at the plate.

“I’m telling you, I buy stock in the Mariners,” Amsinger said. “I’ve been optimistic almost every single year (about the Mariners) on this show – I get it, I know it. But I knew that the curse was going to come to an end, that the Mariners were gonna get to the playoffs. It was going to inevitably happen and they’re trending in the right direction. This is the most optimistic I’ve ever been in my time at MLB Network about the Seattle Mariners. It’s this team, it’s this year, everything looks good. I love the starting pitching, I love the fact that Jarred Kelenic’s hitting all these home runs. This team is my favorite that I visited of the nine in Arizona.”

You can hear the full Wyman and Bob conversation with Amsinger in the podcast below.

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