Mike Zunino and The Moment

Otto Greule Jr

Yesterday, the Mariners called up Mike Zunino and something happened inside of me. I am not in favor of the decision, for all of the reasons you can probably guess. It strikes me as hasty, and short-sighted, and not conducive to the development of Zunino as a player. He is perhaps the Mariners best current prospect, and he has showcased a great deal of ability, but he has also struggled as of late, and struck out a lot, and it seems that he needs more time. There is no shame in that. Most prospects do.

But time is short in Seattle for many people, and so Zunino has joined the team. Upon reading this news I felt something final and definitive. It wasn't anger, or humor, or ironic detachment that I felt, but something of a non-reaction, a calming, more like acceptance. The feeling stirred within me quietly, arrived, and settled. This all happened in an unconscious instant, without logic or thought process. What was once nothing was now something, or maybe it was the other way around. I no longer had a single shred of faith in the operations of the Seattle Mariners organization.

There are probably excuses and rationalizations that could be made for why Zunino is being rushed, but I'm no longer interested in giving them fair consideration. There is a long list of names and players in my mind, names and players on which I have cut the Mariners and their management a great deal of slack. I thought about the names and players on this list a lot, poured over the numbers, read the articles and reports and posts, and I remained mostly optimistic, looked for hope wherever I could find it. But Zunino will not be added to this list. I've run out of mental rope.

Maybe Zunino is being called up because the organization truly believes he is ready and that he will help the team win baseball games. I do not run a baseball team, but I do not believe this to be a sound opinion.

Maybe the organization is calling Zunino up knowing full well he is not ready, but are doing so in a desperate attempt to catch lightning in a bottle and energize a flailing team and fan base. This would also be flawed decision making.

Maybe members of the Mariners operations are split on whether or not Zunino should be called up. Maybe the general manager is being overruled by his employers. If this is the case, then that would mean that confidence in the general manager's ability to run the team is so weak amongst ownership, that they feel compelled to manage the team themselves. Under this scenario, everyone shows poor.

Maybe Zunino will thrive, or get sent back down after other players return from injury. Maybe this entire conversation will be irrelevant in a few short weeks. But no matter how or why this happened and what will happen next, I'm left with nothing but the reality of my feelings. I don't say all of this to be melodramatic, although that's sort of inevitable when you start waxing on about your deepest innermost feelings about a baseball team, but for me, this just happened, and is. Yesterday was the moment, the crack in the concrete grew and expanded. And there's no pushing water back upstream after the dam bursts.

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