Friday, February 24, 2006

The Tatonka List: 2006

We've been busy behind the scenes at Tatonka, what with the scratching, and the rolling over. And then there's the perfect yawn.

But Spring has sprung! We have predictable and stupid quotes flying fast and furious into newspapers and reporter blogs around the nation, and that can mean only one thing: Spring Training is underway!

This is the time of year when we can look at our team, listen to the half-wit beat reporters in Arizona, and think dangerously optimistic thoughts that start with "What if...." As we have been hinting in the New Beginnings series (next installment coming soon), the Mariners have inspired little of that kind of crazy hope for 2006. Unless El Rey Felix can figure out a way to start every game for us, I'm pretty confident that we're screwed this season (thanks Mr. Bavasi...nice planning). And that's the giddiness of Spring talking. Just wait until we hit July and August.

In any case, it's good to be talking baseball again, even if the M's have done their best to be the high-payroll analogue of the Royals.

As a paean to Spring, I begin a list of our most inspiring offseason moves, starting this year and going back in time to the start of it all. This is the quintessential Tatonka list: Mariners moves that inspired frequently false hopes amongst fans.

The good news about this kind of project is that there is no need to actually assess the moves in question. No stats. Sheer pre-season emotional reaction is all I'm looking for.

Let's begin:

22 November 2005: Seattle Mariners sign Kenji Johjima to a three-year contract.

This move very clearly suggested that Bill Bavasi's organization was poised to make important, major steps toward transforming the pathetic 2004-5 Mariners into a viable major league team. Johjima is the ultimate Tatonka (other than Kevin Mitchell himself), since as yet we can only guess as to his future with the club. The signing was for a seemingly reasonable amount of money, which is something that we fans pay attention to in the twenty-first century, and that, too, seemed to bode well for the future.

Who knew that Bavasi would follow this up by letting a lawn gnome and a gecko plan the remainder of the offseason? Carl Everett? Bah. Matt Lawton? Why not just sign ALL the steroid users out there? Johjima is not going to save the team, and with Ichiro! as the NPB import frame of reference for Seattle fans, there is zero chance that Kenji-san can meet the subconscious expectations of the Mariner faithful.

Oh, sorry...spring is supposed to be positive and uplifting. Stay tuned for 29 other "offseason" moves that explain this level of cynicism toward the home nine.

A running recap:

Tatonka List
2006 Kenji Johjima
2005 next up


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