POLL RESULTS: M’s fans taking a positive approach to 2019

Nearly three-quarters of responders are either excited or accepting of following a rebuilding team.

The majority of Seattle Mariners fans appear ready to ride out the rebuild.

In this week’s Seattle Sidelines poll we asked readers about their approach to the 2019 season. Seattle spent the offseason trading away veterans for prospects and acknowledged there would be a “step back” this season as the Mariners aimed at building a sustainable contender in the future.

But that makes 2019 something of a lost cause before it ever began. Therefore, we asked readers about their attitude toward the Mariners’ 2019 season. Here’s what you had to say:

Put it all together and the majority is taking a positive approach to 2019. Nearly half the voters — 47 percent — said they were accepting of the rebuild, and another 26 percent said they were excited about the season and believe Seattle will be better than expected.

There was, however, a statistically significant number of responders who took the negative view. Fourteen percent said they were outta here, indicating they had no interest in following a rebuilding team, while another 13 percent said they were sullen about supporting a rebuilding squad.

This is, of course, one of the age-old questions about rebuilding. Yes, it may be the best move when looking at the long-term health of a franchise, but an organization risks alienating its fan base by fielding losing teams. That certainly seemed to be a concern of previous ownership, which oversaw the majority of Seattle’s 17-year playoff drought. The Mariners were always making moves designed to keep the team respectable, but they never put the team over the postseason hump, and in the process the minor-league system was depleted.

And there’s no guarantee rebuilding will work. It did for Houston, which is now a perennial powerhouse after suffering through three consecutive 100-loss seasons from 2011-13. But how has that worked out so far for the San Diego Padres or the Chicago White Sox?

However, even rebuilding teams have storylines worth following. What are those for the Mariners this season? There’s charting the progress of Japanese pitcher Yusei Kikuchi, who was a star in Japan and is hoping that translates to MLB. There’s seeing what in-their-prime players like Mitch Haniger, Marco Gonzales, Ryon Healy and Domingo Santana are capable of doing as core players of a team. And fans can root for stop-gap options like Edwin Encarnacion and Jay Bruce to have fast starts to build up their trade value.

And who knows, maybe the Mariners will surprise. They’re 2-0 after sweeping their series against the Oakland A’s in Japan last week. The defending World Series champion Boston Red Sox come to town for a four-game series beginning Thursday. If Seattle can hold its own against the Red Sox, maybe it’ll indicate that Mariners fans have more to cheer about in 2019 than anticipated.

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