Ok. I admit it. I'm falling for it. I'm getting excited about baseball starting even though I convinced myself I wouldn't. I'm different than most fans in that my expectation level of my team this year is very low, but I am very interested for a number of reasons.
Now first things first, I hate spring training, and that won't change. It is too long, they play games that don't matter. Most of the time a guy you never heard of is the head liner of the spring training game but has no chance of even sniffing the major league roster. Some guy wearing number 92 is pitching to a guy wearing number 87.
However, I am excited for April. I know Seattle has no chance to compete for the American League West title. The Rangers and Angels will be doing battle for that. But this year should show a lot in the plan of Jack Z. His plan is to build the young talent through the minors. Well those guys will be playing at the big league level all season this year. Can Dustin Ackley not only repeat what he did last year, but get better? Was Mike Carp showing us that he has turned the corner, or is he the latest Bucky Jacobson? Can Justin Smoak put it together?
The biggest piece of interest in the young guys for me is Jesus Montero. A very highly touted power hitting prospect without a real defensive position, though he is a catcher. Can this guy be the power bat of the future for this team? We will have a good idea come September, and given what we gave to get him, he better be.
Then there's the interesting story of Ichiro. He heads to camp as the teams new #3 hitter. He's never hit more than 15 home runs in a season, and his career high for RBI was 69 back in 2001. Can he at age 38 re-invent himself as a run producer? I think that will be fascinating to watch. And because Ichiro is hitting 3rd, Chone Figgins gets a last chance at survival. He will hit lead off, at least early on. Can he find himself?
There are so many question marks about this team that to be honest at least some of them have to have positive answers or my interest in this team will fade very, very fast. But if a few of these stories can stay interesting, it can keep our attention even as the Rangers and Angels almost certainly will distance themselves from the M's.
I do want to see how this team shapes out...I just want to do it in the regular season. I have to wait through a month of garbage practices before we will get to see anything. I don't care what guys do in practice, I don't care what they do in practice games. The season is long enough, it doesn't help that we have to wait so long for it to even start.
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