On Wednesday night the Seattle Mariners will be kicking off the 2012 Major League Baseball season, playing the Oakland Athletics in Tokyo on Wednesday at 3am in a game that will only be watched by hardcore seamheads and severe insomniacs. But it got us Culture Fiends thinking, what’s the upcoming season hold for the Mariners?
We asked some Seattle cultural figures for their take. Our distinguished panel includes Garth Stein, the best-selling author of The Art of Racing in the Rain (whose theatrical adaptation opens in April at Book-It), Chris Miller, the Lake Stevens native who codirected the hit film 21 Jump Street (now in theaters), and Andrew Russell, the new artistic director at Intiman Theatre (celebrating its 40th season in the summer of 2012). Hopefully their answers will offer a little insight—or at least some entertainment.
What are you most looking forward to this Mariners’ season?
Garth Stein: “I think it would be really exciting if they could score some runs. Is that too much to ask? I follow them enough to know that they trade whatshisname, the big pitcher dude (Michael Pineda), so they could get a big bat (Jesús Montero) in here.”
Chris Miller: “I am excited to see what the threesome of Dustin Ackley, (Justin) Smoak, and (Jesús) Montero do. The young future offensive core has been so sad for the last many, many moons. They haven’t been able to hit the baseball into places where people aren’t.”
Andrew Russell: “Well, after Googling to ensure that the Mariners were in fact a baseball team, I Googled even further and looked at the food that is available at the ballpark. I would have to say that’s what I’m looking forward to most. I think saw a corn dog that was particularly reminiscent of the county fair. And although I’m a vegetarian, it taunted me in a way that I think I might break my rules. I will claim that it’s for the team and for the sake of Seattle, but it’s really for the secret carnivorous child that lives in side me.”
What’s your biggest concern about the Mariners heading into the season?
Miller: “The thing that gives me the most dread is reality. My optimism comes from a ’Well, if everything goes right… If these guys develop faster than expected and everyone stays super healthy and Ichiro reverts to his classic form and if, if, if, if…’”
Stein: “That they can’t score. Because eventually then everybody gets depressed because then it’s all like, ‘Well if our pitching staff can get negative runs a game, then we can win.’”
What’s your projection for the Mariners?
Stein: “The way the rest of the AL West is loaded up, I can’t imagine the Mariners doing very well this year. But hey, there’s always a chance. Look at Rocky. Although he did lose in the first movie…”
Miller: “It’s going to be pretty tough, because I feel like Texas and Anaheim are pretty darn good. If they have a .500 season that would be great. My guess is somewhere around the high 70s (for total wins)."
Russell: “It’s 2012, which is the year of the water dragon. And the Mariners, I’m deducing in some sense that they have a relationship to water. So therefore it will be a big year. It’s either going to be kickass, out of the ballpark success or like, flood of 19-whateveritwas absolute failure. There won’t be a middle ground.”
Miller: “Ummm… I like clam strips?”
Stein: “I have this thesis on the Mariners.
I believe that the Mariners are a product of their environment. The season for the Mariners, if you look at the past and probably this coming season, is kind of like spring weather in Seattle. You know, a spring day starts out; it’s cloudy and a little bit drizzly, and it’s kind of dreary a little bit. And then in the afternoon it clears up; the sun comes out, the clouds are beautiful, it gets a little warmer, and everybody gets all happy and excited. And then by dinnertime the clouds come back and it gets cold again. And by the end of the night it’s raining. That’s pretty much how every Mariners season has gone since 2005. There’s a little ray of hope, and you think, ‘Oh maybe…’ and then ‘No. It’s gonna rain.’
But, why do we survive the weather in Seattle? Because we look around and we say, ‘Well at least we have the beautiful mountains.’ And that’s Safeco. Safeco is the mountains. Because even though the Mariners are going to end up sucking by the end of the year, at least there is a cool stadium and we can have garlic fries or something.”
For the 2012 Seattle Mariners complete schedule visit seattlemariners.com.