There are these two baseball teams going through drills in Arizona, and they happen to see thewalking by the complex. The Mariners nod at the teams and say "Morning, guys. What do you think about the regular season?" The Mariners keep walking, and the two teams keep training, and then eventually one of the players looks around and goes "What the hell is the regular season?"
That paragraph is probably an insult to David Foster Wallace, but then he can't do anything, he's dead. Indeed, as you know, the Seattle Mariners are 1.2 percent finished with the regular season, and indeed, as you know, the Seattle Mariners will now resume spring training in Arizona for a little while before picking up the season again next Friday.
The whole thing feels bizarre. Everybody's recognized it as bizarre, although I don't think anyone's really nailed the explanation. It's hard to find the right words. I don't like the word "bizarre" but that's the best I could come up with. To start, and then stop, and then start again - we've got a taste now for the real stuff, man. For the thin crispy crust, authentic and fresh out of the bricks. Now you give us Boboli? No, we won't stand for Boboli. Not anymore.
Nobody really cared about spring-training games before. Now we get to care about them even less than not at all. If you turn an oven knob set at zero in the opposite direction, it'll go to the highest temperature. This isn't like that. I don't know what comes below not caring but perhaps it will be aggressively, belligerently not caring. Like people will get mad at the spring-training games. We'll see.
Of course, as weird as all this is, I'm not sure the Mariners had a better alternative once they agreed to open in Japan. You can't play in Japan and then play meaningful games in the States right after. Jet lag is such an uninteresting card to play but it's very much real, and more real for certain people than it is for others. And it probably wouldn't be smart for the Mariners to return and then just have a bunch of recovery days, because maybe players lose their timing. You know the whole argument about playoff teams who have to wait. There are benefits to competitive activity, and in theory by playing spring-training games, the Mariners can keep their edge, or work towards developing an edge if they don't have one yet. The games in Japan would suggest that they don't have one yet.
So it does make sense why the Mariners are picking up where they left off in the Cactus League. The players can maintain their form, or try to improve their form. There's no choice but for things to be strange after you open the season in Asia. As much sense as it makes, though...spring-training games, after regular-season games. We haven't done this. Weird week ahead.
Interestingly, while the Mariners are back in Arizona, Oakland's in the Bay Area. They play in Sacramento today, then San Francisco on Monday, then Oakland on Tuesday, then San Francisco on Wednesday. They're all still meaningless games, though. Except for today's, against the Sacramento River Cats, which might have some kind of significance to the Sacramento River Cats.
As for the Golden Saguaro? The Mariners, still 12-8, are two and a half behind Oakland. The odds aren't good. But there are odds.