Every pre-season is the drive to pick up the girl on the first date, when the libidnous hold of anticipation is the strongest. "Is this one the one?".... Lots of stories pop up in pre-season, cause no matter how many first dates you've been on, no one knows how it will turn out. The faithful will always just assume the best, regardless of the circumstances, but the cynics, like me, tend to look for patterns that will help determine the course of events & hopefully prepare you for any sort of situation that may arrive during the date to make it a success, however you may determine .. uh-hum.. "success"...
And every "girl" has their own backstory. With the Marinrers, you throw out certain words & phrases to conjure up what sort of chick you're going to spend time with. "Nintendo"; "Ichiro"; "Bavasi"; "Hargrove"; "young pitchers with arm injuries"; etc. Give you an idea?
Well, one of my favorite first-date stories of the spring involves said Mariners & their decision to have Brandon Morrow pitch in the bullpen to start the year, which set off a firestorm here on the Ebays. This is the kind of story that I really eat up with a bib. First, it's regional, meaning that no one outside of the Sea-Tac area really even knew what was happening. Second, it really resonates with "scientist" fans & their Prospectus subscriptions, as opposed to your "religious" fans and their sports talk radio. Third, and most importantly, it deals with a major ethical quandry that all organizations must deal with carefully & hits to the heart of the unknown abyss that we fans stare at daily, "What do we do with the kids?". The future of all MLB organizations is really a study of how they find & develop young talent, wheter it's to play them on the field or trade them for established players they can use right now. The future is literally now. Life or death depends on decisions like this one. WOW! Perfect.
In Morrow's case, the 5th overall pick in last year's draft who's only consistent amatuer performance was in his last year of college & who's also only logged 16 innings in pro ball against A ball hitters... AWESOME! The Scientists among us will point to numberous examples as to why this is a bad idea, especially for a pitcher who they envision at the top end being a #2 behind Felix Hernandez for the next 10 years or at the very least, a reliable strikeout reliever & potential closer. And since the Mariners are really neither built for today OR tomorrow, they really need their kids to not end up as criminals or lay-abouts. The Mariners also have have an extensive history of rushing prospects &, with pitchers, injuring them. You with me? This is a big deal! Of course, now that the season has started, the anticipation has faded somewhat since Morrow has pitched pretty OK.
Here's his line as of today.
He walking too many guys, but he's striking out his fair share & hasn't given up a home run yet. That's it.
Unfortunately, there's no Liriano-like dominance that leads to the starting rotation & a Marniner charge towards the playoffs. But, there's also no Gavin Floyd-esque meltdown, where the walks & home runs pile up until the kid is bused down to the minors, seemingly never to recover again.. At this point in the story, Brandon Morrow is just another relief pitcher trying to get outs, hoping to get a break, trying to locate his fastball just like everyone else.
No. 20% into the season, this first date is just ok.
But, us scientists can't wait for the second date... especially since we learned on the first date that our date is diabetic....