We have all fallen ill over watching the Mariners the last several years. Yet, we continue watching. We continue believing the higher-ups as they unveil their plans and beg for our patience. We are continuously convinced to wait and appreciate the talent that is nearing fruition. Instead, we watch as the Mariners next move becomes their next epic failure. The front office pleads their innocence and constantly blames youth and inexperience for their lack of success. I foolishly believed this was true, as we all did, until noticing one common theme throughout this year’s All-Star roster. Youth.
In a year when a hit was recorded by the youngest player in All-Star history (Bryce Harper, 19), the All-Star rosters touted 19 players who are no older than 25. A few of these young stars boast outstanding batting averages over .340. Conversely, our young Mariners, averaging 27.7-years-old, cannot post a batting average better than .267. And for the first time since 1987, not one Mariners player participated in the All-Star Game. Among a roster full of failures, Justin Smoak and Jesús Montero are leading the way to our disappointment.
Justin Smoak was acquired in a trade for Cliff Lee, an All-Star-talented pitcher. He brought with him the expectation of being the best 1st baseman prospect in the league. Smoak has undoubtedly failed these expectations, never hitting above .239 or amassing over 15 homeruns. It has become a common sight to see him scoff at long fly-outs and speak out about the big ballpark rather than try to learn how to square up his hits or hit the gym for some extra power.
Jesús Montero has matched Smoak step-for-step in disappointment. Arriving here via the Michael Pineda trade, another All-Star pitcher, he has proven to be a fraction of his expectations. Once believed to be the next great Bronx Bomber, Montero posted an astonishing 1 RBI in the month of June. He has also only hit 8 homeruns by the All-Star break, which is quite embarrassing as our ‘sexiest’ power hitter. Adding to the embarrassment is his play behind the plate. Video replays show Montero closing his eyes and turning his head while catching several times this year.
I am sick of hearing that we are too young to be successful right now. The 2012 youth-laden All-Star team proves age is just a number. Our problem is talent and leadership. Chuck Armstrong, Howard Lincoln, and Hiroshi Yamauchi have tied the hands of every GM and skipper to come here, forcing over-the-hill players on us like Ichiro and Ken Griffey Jr. They admittedly strive for family atmosphere over success, and it shows, consistently embarrassing themselves and their fans with failed draft picks and historically bad trades.
I have no more patience. I do not want to just see improvement this year. I do not want to just see improvement next year. I want these young prospects to be All-Stars next year or everyone needs to go, starting at the top. It is embarrassing as a fan knowing that the owner of the team has never been to a game. It is embarrassing knowing the two men running the team think garlic fries and bobble heads are more important than ensuring young players like Dustin Ackley every opportunity to improve. It is embarrassing to be a Mariners fan and it needs to stop now!