Well what we had here was a baseball game, a real goddamn baseball game played between some Seattle Mariners and more San Diego Padres, and it resulted in a not entirely meaningless victory for the Mariners that is, however, quantifiably unimportant.
Yes, it's spring training, and we've all done this exercise before. The games don't count, the players you recognize are pulled midway through the game, the score changes a couple times, and then it turns into whose prospects are better than whose. Today, it was the Mariners. Tomorrow it will be the Padres, maybe. This is weird. You are reading a paragraph about a baseball game that happened!
Wow! Baseball! Lots of things happened in this here baseball game! For one, Taijuan Walker threw some pitches around some Padres' batters, and that's exciting, because Taijuan Walker is probably going to be on the Seattle Mariners this year. He also didn't give up any runs, and he struck out new Padre Matt Kemp and old Padre Jed Gyorko, and that's also super. Whats even superer is that he hit a very high speed in these, his first actual innings of the year:
Smooth little inning for Walker. Fastball touched 96 mph. He's done for the day.— Ryan Divish (@RyanDivish) March 4, 2015
Wow! And the team won the game? So are the Mariners going to the playoffs? Well this is the amazing thing about spring training for the Mariners in 2015. Two years ago, the Mariners won like nine thousand games in a row, and Jeff Sullivan left the site probably because it broke his brain in the process. I know that's not what happened, but stick with me here. Last year, the Mariners were tied for third in the Cactus League standings with a record of 18-12, and then they didn't make the playoffs. They were good, though. You know, this line of thinking is kind of breaking down as I type this, but look, dammit, the point I was trying to make is not only do spring training games have no direct correlation to regular season standings, but sometimes, due to the way spring training is structured on the calendar, they have an almost opposite relationship.
You can see this because the only person who will assuredly be on the Mariners this season appearing in today's game was Taijuan Walker. So, in effect, the Tacoma Rainiers defeated the San Diego Padres today. And this is a new thing! A new, exciting thing! We're used to position battles and prospects fighting for jobs and the hope that some unknown kid with gills will put together something magic. Not this year. Today, as the first game of spring training, more than ever, did not matter. And that's exciting as hell.
Even more exciting than the Mariners winning today's game, or Taijuan Walker hitting 96 mph, or even more exciting than D.J. Peterson hitting a mammoth dinger in the third at-bat of the game:
Ahhhhhhh baseball is back.
This was probably the most exciting thing of the game, in that D.J. Peterson has kind of fallen through the cracks over the past couple seasons after getting pelted in the face with a pitch and struggling a tiny bit in the minors. But today, with only an expectation of being the ball bouncing off the wall of Jesus Montero, he reminded people that he can hit baseballs really hard, especially pitches that were meant to be here
when they actually end up way off target here:
Yes, something to be excited about. D.J. Peterson, who played third base today. This is strangely discouraging because the Mariners have a nine-digit third baseman, but never fear, Ji-Man Choi is here to send Peterson to first base!
Ah, great. Choi is going to miss some time, and I wish I could have grabbed a screenshot of the injury. After the lead changed a couple times thanks to a dinger from Matt Kemp and some NRI M's pitchers doing interesting things, the game almost ended on an errant throw to first that Choi had to leap to grab, ending up on his foot awkwardly and writhing in pain on the ground. Clearly this doesn't really impact the M's major league roster, but he is on the 40-man, and now Tacoma is going to have a situation to deal with. Hopefully the injury isn't too serious, and heres to good vibes out to Choi for a full recovery.
But enough sadness. Remember that exciting stuff at the beginning? Baseball is back! Tomorrow we get to see Robinson Cano and Kyle Seager! And a non-meaningless prospect won the game for the M's today!
This is former football player Patrick Kivlehan getting his second hit of the game, scoring Tyler Marlette on the catching error (ahhhh prospects). M's win 4-3.
So all in all a good first day. We got some Taijuan, we lost a Ji-Man. Tomorrow we get more baseball, and we are all better off for it. It may take a few days to work the Spring Training kinks out of these recaps, just as whoever this is botching a catch in the gif above is working out their early-season kinks in their game. Or, we're all just below-replacement level prospects, relegated to describing something that ultimately doesn't matter on a blog on the internet. Either way, we'll be here yelling about millionaire athletes until fall, and I hope you will be as well. Until then,