First and foremost: Yesterday was a very good day in Mariner-land (what with the contract extension of one Mr. K. Seager), but a not so good day in middle-America. Without getting into it (because "politics"), it's very odd and a little upsetting to spend time writing about/concentrating on baseball when a bunch of real world bullshit is going on. (Of course, real world bullshit is always going on somewhere on this big, wonderful, terrible planet of ours.) With this in mind, I guess it's important to remind yourself from time to time that it's okay to take a break from the shittier aspects of life and seek out the occasional reprieve. Baseball is an escape for many people, myself included; as long as we don't attempt to avoid the harsher bits of life toooo often, losing yourself in baseball is a lovely way to spend your time.
So, yeah. In lieu of a hard-hitting, statistically-laden piece, today I'm going to take the opportunity to simply point out the birthplace of each player currently on the Mariners 40-man roster. Let's appreciate the diversity of our team! (This will likely be ~obsolete fairly soon, as the M's continue to evolve over the off-season, but that's okay.) At the beginning of the season, Colin wrote about some of the challenges Roenis Elias faced on his arduous trek to the United States (if you haven't revisted that piece since he first posted it, I heartily recommend going back and giving it another look), and while I don't know that anyone else's route to the Mariners was quite as challenging, a lot of these men traversed thousands of miles, overcoming a great deal of obstacles to get to where they are today.
There are currently 39 men on the Mariners 40-man roster. Collectively, they hail from 13 different states and eight different countries. Here is a map showing the birthplaces of each of these gentleman:
|Nation of birth||United States||Venezuela||Dominican Republic||Canada||Cuba||Nicaragua||Japan||South Korea|
|# of players||22||6||5||2||1||1||1||1|
The internationalization of baseball is a trend that has been steadily growing over the past few decades, and the Mariners have generally been recognized as being particularly savvy at scouting/embracing international talent. Back in 1977, when the Mariners were first formed, they were comprised of ~14% international players. Today, more than 43% of their 40-man roster is filled with men who have come to the United States from abroad. (The number of international signees on the roster who are stashed in the minors could be inflating these numbers a bit, but of the 44 men to suit up for the M's in 2014, more than 36% were international players.)
At the beginning of the season, mlb.com released numbers that showed that 26.3% of the men on MLB Opening Day rosters were born outside of the United States. The Mariners were well above this, ranking as the third most diverse team, with 11 foreign-born players from six different countries making the cut for Opening Day. Seattle does have a few "local boys" on their roster (namely WFB), but most people travelled far from their homes to join the M's.
*I've combed the internet to find the most representative image of the downtowns for each of these cities (i.e., I've linked to one of the first Google image search results I found). Feel free to click on a city name to see a picture and become a little closer to your favorite Seattle Mariner.
These men migrated, boated, emigrated, flew, drove, walked, skipped, hopped, and hoped for more than 100,000 combined miles to become a part of the Seattle Mariners organization. (I know that not all of these fellas are currently in Seattle. Some of them are in AA or AAA, but that would've made the calculations a bit more complicated and I didn't wanna deal with it. I hope you can forgive me.) For reference, the circumference of the earth is a touch under 25,000 miles. 100,000 miles is a pretty big number.
I take great joy in seeing such a disparate group of people come together from around the world to share their love for baseball as members of the Seattle Mariners. And it's so cool that kids from so many other places have the opportunity root for the M's and argue over who gets to be Felix or Kyle or Robinson as they run out onto the field. If you ever have the good fortune to step inside of Safeco Field, I would encourage you to remember that people are tuning in from all over the world to share the experience with you. Baseball: it's downright marvelous.