Can baseball survive in the Pacific Northwest?
In the cosmology of statistical analysis, there are no emotions, there are only measurements. Since logic and reason follow straight and narrow linear paths, crunching numbers to extrapolate the "why" of something happening... well the comfort of a "this adds up to that" explication satisfies some people. When PECOTA fails to predict even outside its laughably wide window of margin for error, or the 2002 Moneyball draft is mocked or Jack Zdurnieck spends all winter upgrading his UZR and falls on Z-Keister in the standings, well the Statocons do one of two things: They rationalize in denial or they shrug.
The rest of us are left to debate the "why" of the universe with less certainty. We describe the games with what we see and how we feel and when those non-numbers do not add up, we do one of two things: We admit we might have been wrong or we shrug.
But after this weekend, the numbers are superfluous. Logic and emotion meet in one absolute conclusion as certain as the sun rising tomorrow morning: The 2010 Seattle Mariners are as gutless on the field as they are rudderless off it. For you math inclined: Gutless = (Seattle + Mariners) x 2010.
Because, really, analytically, as objective as it gets... when Kevin Fransdsen and Robb Quinlan, Bobby Wilson and Jason Bulger are doing an iota of the bloodletting, you don't even have to look at the rest of your opponent. Forget the team fiercely fighting with .500 and measure yourself by the Quinlans on it - you can see the gutless giving up of the Mariners when the bottom of the Angels' barrel is getting a few good leather snaps of the weekend whippin'.
The Seattle Mariners had just won three straight games going into the weekend series with the Angels. And then they laid down, rolled over and went gently into the draft. The Mariners were outscored 27-7. They turned a game tied 1-1 in the 6th into a 9-run blowout. They turned a 4-4 tie in the 7th into a 5-run crushing. Their starting pitching was mediocre, and their bullpen was embarrassingly indefensible (this after dumping two key chokers in last weekend's series in Anaheim out of their pen and off their team). When yours truly feel bad for a Mariners reliever about his performance against the Angels, it is pretty bad. When he is wearing a 1995 throwback uniform, you know it is the end of the line.
How can one possibly sit back and crunch the numbers? There were no numbers. There were guts and blood and crushed souls splattered about Seattle. They had 7 extra base hits in a three game series, none of which were homers, and scored a total of 7 runs. Their pitching gave up 14 walks in the first two games. It is enough to leave a fan numb to the numbers, and then to the team itself...
There is no light at the end of the tunnel for the Mariners. There is no tunnel. There is just a grave. They have been digging it since about 2003. The Angels rolled over for the Mariners in 1995 and saved baseball in the Pacific Northwest. But a good hard look at the team begs the question: Can baseball survive in Seattle with a franchise beyond repair? If the Mariners cannot win with Junior, with A-Rod and with Randy, if they cannot win with Bretty Batflip on roids, if they cannot win with Sweet Lou, if they cannot win with Ichiro, if they cannot win with Beltre, if they cannot win with King Felix, if they cannot win with Junior again... when will the population turn away? How much more unwinning will it take until the Mariners get outdrawn by PCL ball in Portland?
When Jack Z took over for the wretched incompetent Bill Bavasi, the assumption was that a turnaround had started. It is now apparent that it was just a shift change among the gravediggers at the cemetery.