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Mariners Screwed By Crazy Cactus League Rules, Fall To Cubs

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A cursory glance at the result shows that the Mariners got doubled up by the Cubs this afternoon. It's the Mariners' third consecutive loss, further diminishing their chances of coming away with the Cactus League championship.

Dig a little deeper, though, and a few things start to stand out. Aaron Laffey threw four innings? Steven Richard made an appearance? Denny Almonte played? Kyle Seager played? Mike Wilson and Chris Gimenez played?

Something seems fishy. Then you notice on the scoreboard page that the Mariners have a little "SS" written next to their name. What does that little SS stand for, you wonder? So you go to your Google machine and after ten minutes of futzing around, you find the answer. The SS stands for Split Squad! The Mariners only got to play with half of their team!

Boxers don't get to box against half-boxers. Swimmers don't get to swim against half-swimmers. So why is it fair that a baseball team gets to play baseball against a half-baseball team? It isn't! It is unfair!

The Mariners played the Cubs this afternoon in an official Cactus League game, but the Mariners had to deal with an impossible handicap, rendering the entire exercise pointless. Of course the Mariners lost. They were the half-Mariners. Notice how they allowed twice as many runs as they scored? If they had been the whole Mariners, they'd be in extra innings!

Do a little more reading and you'll find that these so-called split-squad games take place all the time. It would be one thing if split-squads only ever played other split-squads, but they don't! Sometimes split-squads have to take on full squads, as the half-Mariners did today! It's ridiculous. Tonight, the other half of the Mariners will take on half of the Dodgers. That's fine. But games like this afternoon's are a joke, and I can't believe it's taken this long for someone to stand up and call the Cactus League out on its shenanigans.

The act of keeping standings grants import to the standings, and allowing games like this afternoon's to count makes a mockery of the whole setup. Oh, the standings don't matter, you say? This is just exhibition, you say? Maybe to you they don't matter. Maybe to you this is all just practice. But some of us are desperate to win whatever we can win, and charging the Mariners with a loss for what was actually a fairly impressive performance this afternoon, all things considered, really just sticks a knife in my heart.

For shame, Cactus League. You don't know what you have, and you don't know what you're destroying with your careless neglect.

  • I did not watch this game. Justin Smoak hit two doubles off a righty, Aaron Laffey struck out four dudes, and Cesar Jimenez may have pitched himself out of camp and off the roster with a miserable seventh. I'd write more but the Cactus League just has me so steamed.