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Finding a Favorite Player in 2016: One Man's Journey to Find Love

The author hasn't had a favorite active player since 2008. That's all going to change.

The 2016 season is, in many respects, one of rebirth. A new GM, a new manager, and many others bring a refreshing approach to baseball that has been missing over the past few years. In the spirit of this new dawn, I have decided that it is time to embrace the light.

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Ever since I can remember, Jay Buhner was my favorite player. His powerful bat, his strong arm, and his beautiful bald head always stuck with me. I can't say why -- a child wants what a child wants -- but The Bone has always been my favorite. I wore number 19, and my bedroom had an inflatable bone hanging in the corner, and a special poster from one of Buhner's great accomplishments. I was upset when Ichiro was signed, because it meant Buhner was no longer manning right field; it was the end of an era. I'm not sure I've forgiven Ichiro to this day.

While Buhner was playing, I needed a favorite pitcher. Greg Maddux fit the bill perfectly. These were the days when the Braves were effectively America's team, and I fell in love with the Mad Dog. His fastball darting back over the plate from the outside corner; his changeup diving under bats; his easy delivery and slick glove: all were attractive to a young Zach Sanders.

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Buhner hasn't played a big league game since 2001, and Maddux threw his last pitch in 2008. The time has come to move on and grow up. I have resolved that in 2016, I will open my heart to the Mariners in the hopes of discovering a new paramour.

While like award-winning shows such as The Bachelor, there is a select group from which to originally choose from, I will not be as strict with my rules. You never know with whom you'll fall in love, and perhaps you never will. This season does not have to end with a rose.

The Early Front-Runners: Nate Karns, Dae-ho Lee

  • I don't know what it is about Karns, but I enjoy him as a baseball player. He's not overly dominant, but he's got good stuff that can make him fun to watch at times. He's also won me a six-pack going up against Wade Miley in a bet, which can't hurt his cause.
  • On the other hand, it's easy to see why I love Lee. He's a fluffy man who can smash a ball out of the park. If he can make the majors, this may be his job to lose.

In the Hunt: Kyle Seager, Tony Zych, Ketel Marte

  • Seager feels like too easy of a choice, but he's good and he'll be around for a while yet. I'm not one to make the obvious decision, but sometimes it's the right one.
  • Zych looks like he may be the next great Mariners reliever, and after developing feelings for Carter Capps and Carson Smith, hopefully the Z-man sticks around.
  • Marte may be the starting shortstop for at least the next six years, and best yet, he has the ability to excite on the basepaths. He may be more exciting than good, but so was Buhner.

This is just a preliminary list. Maybe someone will pop out of the woodwork like Roenis Elias did two springs ago, or maybe a member of another team will step up to the challenge. Perhaps the commentariat has suggestions?