Sunday, February 17, 2013

HOW I BECAME A MARINERS' FAN

Mariners for life!
Johnny J

Johnny J tells the tale on how he began rooting for the Seattle Mariners.  

Little League Baseball: where it all
started.  Big thanks to my teammates
for signing this ball.

As a kid, I loved to play baseball. I played tee-ball for a couple of years and then I moved up to Little League Mustang. I was a kid who just loved to hit homeruns. I even developed the nickname Johnny "Homerun" Jackson because of it. I use to hit homeruns every time I went up to the plate. My coach was so desperate to have me play in the games that when I didn't have a ride to the park, my coach would offer to pick me up from my house. Now that's what I call having the team on your back.

I looked up to a bigger kid named Ken Griffey Jr., who played for a team called the Seattle Mariners. Little did I know it was going to be the start of a beautiful relationship for years to come.

I use to watch Griffey hit homeruns every time he went up to the plate. While watching Griffey do his thing, I started liking some of the players that surrounded him.  Players such as:

  • Edgar Martinez
  • Jay Buhner
  • Randy Johnson 
  • and a young, needle-free Alex Rodriguez

I eventually started rooting for the team. I also was one of the few fans that liked their old, the Kingdome. A beautiful, teal-colored, turf under the dome. Blue Grass at its finest!

Every year the Mariners would be so good in the regular season, but they could never get it done in the playoffs and eventually, they started losing all of their stars. But I was always loyal to my team, hoping that we can develop new stars. The rebuilding project got underway as soon as they signed Ichiro Suzuki, who is probably one of the best hitters ever in baseball. They developed a young Felix Hernandez, who won the Cy Young in 2010. Glad to see we just gave him an extension worth $175 million (be sure to check out the videos in that link--Ed); the highest paid pitcher in baseball. Right now, my team is not good, but that's my team. I stick with one team, until they give me a reason not to like them.

My Mariners' gym shoes
It's not easy being a Mariners' fan in Chicago. I can only see them when they come into town. They usually get slaughtered by the Chicago White Sox. Plus they're never featured on ESPN or FOX, which brings me to my next point: should I order an expensive baseball package just to watch my team lose? I use to actually purchase said package, but I haven't in the last year and I wont until they give me a reason to make me feel like my money is not being wasted.

My biggest let down is Seattle letting all these good players go.  I would read stories on how they claim they're getting young prospects in return (be sure to read our Prospects' review feature, here--Ed). Well, how long does it take for these prospects to grow into good players? When we traded for Cliff Lee, he only stayed with us for a half a season. We didn't get anything good in return. Instead we got a young prospect named Justin Smoak (Career BB:K of .49--Ed) from the Rangers who hits homeruns--sometimes.  Most of the time he strikes out. Also why would you trade a good player to someone in your own division?  That's just stupid!  Its good he didn't sign an extension after that half a season with the Rangers. It would have been more trouble for the Mariners.

Nevertheless, after stupid moves like that, I still root for my team. A team filled with young players and losing records.  A team that will probably be my team for years to come. Thanks to a great player and drug free Ken Grffey Jr (For now...--Ed). Even though baseball is not my favorite sport anymore, I still have my favorite team and great memories to look back on: like the Mariners eliminating the New York Yankees in game 5 of the ALCSFelix Hernandez's perfect game against the Tampa Bay Rays, or Ichiro hitting two homeruns for me when I went to see the Mariners game at U.S. Cellular Field last year. Out of the nine times the White Sox played the Mariners, they won one game. I was there in my Ichiro t-shirt when they won. He even helped me win a bet. I look forward to the next time I see a great memorable moment from my team, the Seattle Mariners.

To read more about the Mariners, click here.

All photos courtesy of Johnny "Homerun" Jackson.

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