Mariners opening 2013 schedule is more than just an excuse!

Early Woes

The radio airwaves were filled yesterday morning with an argument that spanned multiple segments across various shows asking, “Why do we feel bad for the Seattle Seahawks because of five 10am starts this season, yet the Seattle Mariners 30 games in 31 days is only an excuse apologists use to cover up their bad play?”

Let’s take a look.

We all know the Seahawks are the more complete team, nearly advancing to the Championship game last year and with Super Bowl aspirations this year.  The Mariners, on the other hand, seem to be in the middle of a 10-year plan with no light coming anytime soon. 

Between April 1, 2013 and May 1, 2013, the Mariners only had one day off, April 15.  After that, 14 of their next 17 games were all on the road.  Up until the last two series, the Mariners were within one game of .500 baseball with a 20-21 record.  However, fatigue clearly set in, and the Mariners dropped their last six games (all on the road).

A schedule like this is nearly impossible for a young team to survive, yet despite all their weaknesses, the M’s nearly did so in good form.  In the end, it was too much and now the general fan consensus is that of frustration and a desire for change.

So now the Mariners are being blasted in the PNW and any mere mention of the schedule is looked upon as an excuse.  The real problems, pundits say, are with the bats, mental mistakes and the lack of back-end starting pitching.

All this may be true, but can’t those be issues ‘in addition’ to the schedule?

The Mariners have strumbled the past week and a half. (Photo: Ben VanHousten/Mariners)

The Mariners have strumbled the past week and a half. (Photo: Ben VanHousten/Mariners)

The Seahawks on the other hand, seem to be able to do no wrong.

Here is a team blanketed with injuries and suspensions, and the general consensus is that the Seahawks are getting ‘screwed’ because five of their 16 games are 10am (PST) starts.  I get it, their internal clocks will be off a few hours and it’s hard to mentally prepare to get your body out of a routine while still performing at maximum capacity.

However, that is also the crux of the double-standard argument.

While football is by far and away the more physically taxing of the two sports, there is no way I can be convinced that a 16 game season is as mentally grueling as a 162 game season.

In addition, football is a true team sport, with each piece working together.  You can scheme help to another side of the field and mask a player’s weakness.

In baseball, every at bat is a one-on-one battle, with the batter losing nearly eight out of ten times.  The slightest mental breakdown can cause a month long, season long, or even career long slump.

Baseball is a mental game.  The daily grind from spring training through the postseason requires a special kind of athlete. 

Not only must you have the physical tools to offer a team ‘something’, but you have to be mentally strong enough to persevere through all the trials and tribulations that life brings, day in and day out, for 162 games.

It is why players such as Dustin Ackley or Justin Smoak can struggle for so long, despite the fact that scout after scout is convinced they have the skill set needed to succeed.

Do you honestly think ex-Seahawk’s receiver, Mike Williams, who despite having all the talent in the world couldn’t keep his weight down for a 16-week schedule, would be able to get through a grueling 162 game schedule?

Truth be told, I am far more of a football fan than I am a baseball fan, but credit has to be given where it is due, and when it comes to the mental aspects of sports, you can absolutely compare the two, with baseball being the more mentally grueling/taxing sport.

So then ask yourself, what causes mental breakdowns in your life?

In a soldier’s life?

A doctor’s life?

One answer is definitely fatigue, and while baseball players don’t save lives, the fact is their profession is based so much off of mental preparation, which then sets up the physical execution.  Football players, on the other hand, can mask a lot of mental errors with physical ability.

In the end, if fatigue can cause mental breakdowns, and five 10am starts over four months can be used as an excuse, then absolutely should a grueling 30 games in 31 days schedule followed by 14 of 17 games on the road be able to be in the conversation of real problems faced by the Mariners, beyond their lack of developing talent.

What are your thoughts?  Sound off below…


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About Jonas Hyde

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