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Mariners Moose Tracks, 3/8/17: Team Israel, Taijuan Walker, and Gonzaga

Happy Wednesday folks!

MLB: Seattle Mariners at Minnesota Twins Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Hello and good morning everyone! In case you’ve been missing it, Team Israel has been killing it in the World Baseball Classic. I don’t want to steal any of Amanda’s thunder — she’s been providing excellent WBC coverage — but it’s really cool that a country not known for its baseball talent is doing so well.

The WBC does a great job of showcasing countries that aren’t normally in the sport’s spotlight. Maybe Israel’s success will drive more popularity in baseball there, which would be awesome for the sport’s growth. One can hope.

Anyway, let’s see what happened yesterday.

In Mariners news...

  • The Mariners have a pretty average strength of schedule heading into 2017, writes Jeff Sullivan.
  • Jonathan Mayo talked to Dan Altavilla about his time in the minors and his adjustment to the majors.

Around the league...

  • You need to get past the ESPN Insider paywall, but Keith Law writes about a handful of players who have made significant changes over the offseason. Among them is Taijuan Walker, who has altered his delivery. For those of you that don’t have insider, here’s a taste:

Walker has a new delivery yet again. But this time it looks "right." His delivery is cleaner and more athletic, and he has been getting the fastball in the zone to both sides more frequently than he did in recent years. His cutter has also been better, and he seems to be getting to his front side more easily than before.

  • USA Today ranked the 30 major league teams by offense. They gave the Mariners a pretty fair grade in my opinion, but feel free to discuss it in the comments.
  • The Pittsburgh Pirates will play a home game at a neutral site — a minor league stadium — in August.
  • Arod has moved on to the next stage in his baseball career.
  • Baseball’s stars are missing out on an opportunity to showcase themselves on an international stage by not participating in the World Baseball Classic, writes ESPN’s Howard Bryant.
  • Dave Cameron at Fangraphs thinks teams should consider starting relievers in critical games.
  • Many Cubs players are angry about the league’s new policy on hazing.

Anders’ picks...

  • The Gonzaga men’s basketball team won yet another West Coast Conference title, punching its ticket to the NCAA tournament.
  • The Milwaukee men’s basketball team barely missed out on becoming the team with the most losses ever in NCAA tournament history. The panthers lost to Northern Kentucky in the Horizon League title game.
  • South Dakota State -- now coached by former Washington Huskies assistant T.J. Otzelberger — also won its conference tournament and will be participating in March Madness.