So what do you think about the changes coming to the Everett AquaSox?
Last week the rumors about the AquaSox’s future were confirmed to be true, as the Seattle Mariners officially extended an invitation to the Sox to be the Major League Baseball team’s High-A farm club.
Ever since Everett entered the Northwest League in 1984 the team was a Short Season-A team, playing 76-game seasons in a league that was five steps away from the majors. However, should the AquaSox accept Seattle’s offer as expected, beginning in 2021 they’ll be playing somewhere in the range of 132 games and be just three steps from the majors.
That makes these exciting and scary times for the AquaSox.
The exciting part comes from moving up the minor-league ladder. The move from Short Season-A to High -A means an increase in the caliber of play that will be on display at Funko Field. As a Short Season-A team Everett, in a typical season, would feature about five players who would someday reach the majors, and would be lucky to have one who established himself as a major-league regular. Moving to High-A will likely double those numbers, increasing the chance we’ll see future Mariners stars. And while several of Seattle’s best prospects over the years bypassed Short Season-A (Julio Rodriguez, Edwin Diaz, Taijuan Walker, etc.), they’re much less likely to skip over High-A.
Also, there will be a lot more minor-league baseball in Everett, as the season will begin sometime in April, rather than mid-June.
The scary part comes from the logistics of switching from a short season to a full season. Funko Field is part of the Everett Memorial Stadium complex, which is owned by the Everett School District. The mid-June start was perfect, as that came after high school and community college seasons were complete. However, an April start means scheduling conflicts, and it could lead to some, shall we say, creative start times for early-season AquaSox home games.
There are other issues, too. The Pacific Northwest weather in April and May isn’t always the most pleasant for attending outdoor baseball games. The Northwest League is shrinking from eight to six teams, which means there’s going to be a whole lot of seeing the same opponents over and over again. And given the additional games may not draw large crowds, there’s always the specter of possible ticket price increases hovering overhead.
Attending a minor-league baseball game is a true summer treat. Fans are much closer to the action than at T-Mobile Park, have greater access to the players, and minor-league teams put on fun and affordable events catered to the whole family. That experience is going to change, at least a little, for those who attend games in Everett. Some of that will be for the better, some of it may not.
So what do you think? Does the AquaSox’s impending move from Short Season-A ball to High-A ball make you more or less likely to attend a game? Let us know by voting here: