Pretty much everybody that gives a crap about baseball understands by now that theare way different from how they used to be, but people's minds have been changed by different events. Some people were convinced by the hiring of Jack Zduriencik. They knew about him in Milwaukee, they were familiar with his philosophies, and they saw what he meant and what he'd be capable of.
Some people were convinced by the Branyan signing. A guy many have wanted to see in Seattle for years, bringing Branyan into the fold showed that the front office was willing to take a risk in the name of getting good production for cheap.
Some people were convinced by the JJ/Gutierrez trade. The structure of the deal and the public justification for making it demonstrated that this organization knew which characteristics were important, which weren't, and how it wanted to go about building a contender.
Some people were convinced by the left field situation. Not only did the front office know how to value defense; it refused to deviate from its plan of having a strong defensive outfield, even when its original starter got hurt.
Some people were convinced by the team's 2009 record. Any team that gets that much better in that little time has to have done something right.
And so on. Ever since Jack Zduriencik and the rest of his new front office were brought in and put in power, there has been a series of revealing events, each persuading more and more people that, after years of prodigal lunacy, the Mariners organization finally had it figured out. And this afternoon we were able to add the latest landmark moment to the list when the following was written in the same place where just a couple years ago authors lamented the lacking of playing time for one Willie Bloomquist:
Wilson earned the Fielding Bible Award as the best fielding shortstop in the Majors in 2009, leading all Major League shortstops with 27 runs saved. In 1,143 starts at shortstop, he has recorded a .977 fielding percentage. He's a career .268 hitter.
The Fielding Bible Awards and defensive runs saved, on Pravda, used as evidence. I don't know if this was the author's idea or a suggestion from someone a little higher, but what difference does it make? Remember when the broadcast would talk about RZR and UZR? Forget whose decision it was. What matters is that not only does this front office intend to use its superior valuation skills to make this team good again - they're going to make damn sure as many fans as possible know how they're doing it.
A significant group of people were skeptical of the Zduriencik Mariners back when the hiring was made public.
Something tells me the remaining members of that group are getting sick of goodbyes.