I was caught completely off guard today when the Marlins, Athletics, and Diamondbacks all got together to make a fairly significant trade. I was similarly caught off guard when the Red Sox and Blue Jays made a trade of their own, involving a player and a manager. October's supposed to be a month for playoff games and coaching staff turnover. I'm actually a little bit jealous that fans of other teams get to talk about trades they just made. But if it helps, the Mariners haven't not made news lately. They just haven't made significant, interesting news. Here are two newish things about the Mariners, via Larry Stone and Geoff Baker.
First, from Stone, the Mariners have decided that Rick Rizzs is finished playing the field and ready to settle down. After two years of pairing Rizzs with a rotating group of guys on the radio, the M's are now in search of a full-time radio partner. If you liked Ken Levine, I'm pretty sure he's interested, although I don't know if he stands a chance. If you like Mike Curto, I'm pretty sure he's interested, although I don't know if he stands a chance. I don't have any read on where the Mariners might go with this, and while they say they'd like to have a new guy hired by the middle of January, it could take longer than that. Basically, next summer, Rick Rizzs is going to get used to some other guy's scent. We don't know what that scent will smell like, or to whom it will belong.
This is difficult for me, because I like both Levine and Curto, and I'd probably like a bunch of other guys who're interested, too. This is less difficult for me because I seldom listen to the Mariners on the radio, unlike many of you. Keep in mind it isn't just about who you like to listen to -- it's about who you like to listen to, and who might have good chemistry with Rizzs, who isn't going anywhere. I'm hoping the Mariners hire either someone who gets along with Rizzs great, or someone who just can't stand Rizzs at all. I don't know how that second guy would make it all the way through the hiring process, which will include Rizzs himself, but maybe he's a great actor who's also self-destructive.
And, from Baker, we hear that a lot of season-ticket packages are getting more expensive, with some season-ticket holders having been taken by surprise. Immediately one can recognize this as a potential sports radio talking point. "The last-place Seattle Mariners have the gall to raise ticket prices for their most loyal, devoted fans." "And to do it without telling them!" There are countless people out there who seem to need to complain about the Mariners the way that normal people need to process oxygen, and this is only more tinder. This is sure to get people riled up. Based on comments I've seen, this has already gotten people riled up.
Understand that the Mariners might very well be doing the wrong thing, or the proper thing the wrong way. I'm not an expert on these matters and I don't intend to become one in my downtime. But the majority of people aren't going to listen to explanations, and they'll be dismissive of nuance. To so many, it doesn't matter why the Mariners are doing this, and it doesn't matter where the Mariners' ticket prices are relative to prices around the rest of baseball. It just matters that the Mariners are quietly raising prices after being bad, and that's something they shouldn't be doing. It's another reason to complain about Howard Lincoln and Chuck Armstrong, who spend their time cruising suburban neighborhoods for pet dogs to run over.
There are plenty of reasons to think less than favorably of Lincoln and Armstrong, but my sense is that the people who immediately lash out at them are people I wouldn't get along with, and people who aren't worth getting along with. The mad and the reactionary are an unfortunate subset of the population. On the chance that you yourself identify with that subset, you aren't reading this paragraph, because you're already scrolling down to rip Howard and Chuck a new one in the comments. Maybe you're already finished. Congratulations on using the Internet, angry stranger!
Here's my very simple understanding. I might be wrong, because, again, I don't know a lot about this subject matter. But: prices increase over time. They have to, because baseball teams are businesses. If you have a team like the Mariners that hasn't been very good for a while, eventually you're going to have to raise prices after a difficult season. There's no getting around it, and while you might make people happier by keeping prices down, that's not how a successful business is run, and one could argue that would actually make the Mariners as a baseball team worse. Baseball teams are better with more money.
Maybe I ought to be mad, instead of indifferent and accepting. I kind of don't want to be. Life's too short to be mad at a baseball team.