Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

Mariners become more Hispanic

The Seattle Mariners are going to need a Jose-Meter in 2007 with their recent additions. But Bill Bavasi knows that time is running out for his regime and he better try all he can to make this team leave the cellar this next season. It will not be easy, but they are trying.Of the regulars on the field the Seattle Mariners will open next season with 3 Jose’s in their lineup. At second base Jose Lopez, in right field Jose Guillen and their DH Jose Vidro. During the winter the Mariners have become a much more Hispanic baseball club.

With a total of 6 potential position regulars(this is without counting 3 Hispanic starters in their 5 men rotation)Felix Hernandez, Horacio Ramirez and Miguel Batista, this is the way the lineup might look for Opening Day
April 2007

-Ichiro Suzuki (CF)
-Jose Lopez (2B)
-Adrian Beltre (3B)
-Richie Sexson(1B)
-Jose Vidro (DH)
-Jose Guillen (RF)
-Raul Ibanez (LF)
-Kenji Johjima (C)
-Yuniesky Betancourt (SS)

Although General Manager Bill Bavasi might not be over yet in ‘wheeling and dealing ‘Mike Hargrove’s team has not made a real major move as far as a quality reliable big starter and much will depend on the development of the 20-year old Venezuelan phenom and #1 pitcher Felix Hernandez.

There is a lot of anxiety in Seattle for the 2007 baseball season. This franchise who with a 78-84 record in 2006 locked up the cellar again is trying desperately to improve. The 2007 season will be the last one on the current contract for yearly All Star Ichiro Suzuki who is tired of these losing seasons streak. Ichiro’s quiet demeanor and great professionalism are being challenged, he hates to lose, big time.

It is no secret that the Seattle Mariners must have a winning April next season or top management will probably dispose of the Manager and Gen. Manager. This culture of losing has made Mariners fans sarcastic, some even coming close to east coast fans with their attitudes.

During the last homestand of 2006 after an afternoon game, I met with some friends that live in the Seattle area and had invited me to dinner. After the Mariners lost that afternoon, one of them told me, "did they also lose in Spanish"? When I first arrived in Seattle, to broadcast the game in 2003, fans didn’t have that "smart aleck" attitude. It reminded me of New York or Philadelphia, but not Seattle. But that is what happens when losing becomes the norm and not the exception.

Seattle people are nice, cordial, educated. A recent national poll revealed Seattle as the most literate city in the United States. When I first visited that fair city it was during a one year tour of duty in the US Army base at Ft. Lewis. About one hour or so south of Seattle, between Tacoma and Olympia. That was 1969, a long time ago. I remember the tallest building was the Smith Tower, which is just a couple of blocks north of Safeco Field. Today sometimes you cannot see the Smith Tower among all the other tall buildings. In 1969 you could see it clearly as you drove in to the city on Interstate 5.

1969 it was the Seattle Pilots and their number one pitcher was Cuban-born Diego Segui. Diego Segui visited San Francisco in the summer of 2006 for one of the Hispanic Heritage Baseball Museum functions. As a matter of fact and a very great trivia question, Diego Segui is the only pitcher in Major League history to have started two Opening Days for two Major League franchises in the same city. In 1969 Segui pitched the first ever game for the Seattle Pilots and in 1977 he started the first ever game for the Seattle Mariners. He has great memories of Seattle during those years and told me that after day games he would go across Elliot Bay to West Seattle and go fishing around Alki Beach.

Now the 2007 Seattle Mariners will have more Hispanics blood that any other team in their franchise history. In an era where 30% of all players are Hispanics, the Mariners have a chance for an all Hispanic team.They still have Puertorican backup catcher Rene Rivera to field 9 Hispanics in any given regular season game. In other words, the whole team.

The situation in Seattle in 2007 is critical and as a franchise that is searching for their soul and their winning ways, they could use good players, doesn’t matter if the come from the Moon. But reality has it that they will have as much Hispanic talent as any of the 30 teams in Major League Baseball.


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