Seattle Mariners fans aren’t buying the team’s hot start. And they’re conflicted on their attitude toward it.
This week’s Seattle Sidelines poll asked readers to weigh in on Seattle’s fast start to the season, which saw the Mariners open the season 13-2 while hitting balls out of the park at at a rate which would have left Mark McGwire’s and Sammy Sosa’s mouths agape. Given this was supposed to be a rebuilding year for the Mariners, Seattle’s sprint out of the gate caught everyone by surprise.
Therefore, we asked the readers whether they believed the Mariners’ start was real, or if they thought it was an illusion. Here’s how you voted:
POLL: Are you a believer in the Mariners’ hot start? Full context, including a look at some of the numbers behind Seattle’s surge, here: https://t.co/YnY7MSfmHV
— Nick Patterson (@NickHPatterson) April 15, 2019
Add it all together and just 12 percent of the voters believe in the Mariner’s start. Of the 88 percent who don’t, it was nearly an even split between those who don’t know if the start is real but are enjoying the ride (45 percent), and those who are just waiting for the inevitable collapse (43 percent).
I think this is a pretty accurate read on Mariners fans. The M’s have a long history of disappointing their fans, from failing to break .500 the first 14 seasons of franchise history, to matching the record for most wins in a season only to fall short of even making the World Series in 2001, to seeing a huge lead in the wild-card race evaporate last year to consign Seattle to a 17th-straight season without appearing in the playoffs, the longest such active drought in major American sports. So cynicism has long been part and parcel for many Mariner fans, and it’s not surprising that a large chunk of supporters are expecting inevitable doom.
The past week the Mariners have been trying to prove the doubters right. Wednesday night’s 1-0 loss to the Cleveland Indians finished off a three-game sweep, and Seattle ended up losing all six games of it’s homestand to drop to 13-8, a half-game behind Houston in the American League West. The offense that roared to the tune of 7.8 runs per game over the first 15 contests of the season managed just 2.5 per game over the past six, with the main component of the offense transforming from homers to strikeouts (12 whiffs per game during the losing streak). Seattle finally had its streak of homering in every game end Wednesday, and maybe that’s the metaphorical moment when the Mariners wake up from their dream to encounter the stark reality of their rebuilding.
Yet it’s a long season. Despite the recent swoon Seattle remains in a playoff position, and the team’s plus-30 run differential is still the second-best in all of baseball. And more than five months of the regular season remain ahead.
However, its seems no matter how the Mariners perform over the next five-plus months, there’s a significant section of the fan base that’s going to have a hard time enjoying it.