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O’Neil: What if… the Seattle Mariners are good?

On Wednesday, the Mariners matched a 2002 HR record set by the Cleveland Indians. (AP)

What if the Mariners really are this good? I mean not 12-2 good. That’s ridiculous. That translates to a 138-win season.

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But what if these Seattle Mariners are a certifiable, bona-fide good team? One that wins 90 games and qualifies for the wild card. I have held off even allowing myself to think that far, believing that I should just enjoy what we have while we have it. After all, you’re not supposed to beat a dead gift horse in the mouth.

We know that the Mariners are currently playing far above what anybody would have projected for them, but what if that’s just the way it’s going to be this year? That the Mariners – for whatever reason – have a roster chock full of guys who this year are – for whatever reason – going to exceed their career averages.

We’ve certainly seen the opposite occur here in Seattle. In fact, if I had a nickel for every time some down-at-the-mouth Mariner manager talking about his players just playing to the numbers on the back of their baseball card, well, I’d have a lot of nickels. I’ve listened as John McLaren say it, sounding like the refrain to a Journey song. I’ve heard Eric Wedge do it. And Lloyd McClendon did it, too, in between finding a way to complain about Erasmo Ramirez, who for some unidentifiable reason drew McClendon’s unending disapproval.

Well, if a group of guys can play – collectively – below their career averages, shouldn’t the exact opposite be possible, too? That a group of guys can play – collectively – above their career averages and projections to the point that we’re treated to a surprisingly successful year that I daresay we deserve as Mariners fans.

It wasn’t until the club’s 15th year of existence that the team posted a winning record, which occurred in 1991. In 2008, Seattle became the first team in baseball history to lose 100 games while having a payroll that exceeded $100 million, and the Mariners are one of only two franchises never to have reached the World Series.

Some will point to that history as proof that this won’t last. I choose to instead consider the possibility that all of that suffering equates to some equity with the baseball gods – whoever they might be – and while I don’t possess enough hubris to think that we are owed something by those baseball gods who may or may not exist, I am now willing to hope that we will be blessed with a season that defies all explanation.

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