Take a step back for a moment and try to think about life outside of baseball. Admittedly, it’s easy to let frustration get you caught up in another disappointing start to the season for the Mariners. They have an 8-14 record with four of those wins coming against the Oakland A’s.
Even more frustrating is the lack of offense. Seattle ranks at or near the bottom in almost every offensive category except for walks.
And there is the lack of hitting from certain hitters. Chone Figgins (.167), Jack Cust (.171) and Miguel Olivo (.169) are all hitting under .200.
For the second consecutive year, Figgins has struggled early at the plate. Cust, who was signed to be a power presence in the middle of the order, isn’t even slugging his weight at .186 with just one extra-base hit – a double on April 9. Meanwhile, Olivo is hitting in a similar fashion to his first stint with the Mariners – way too many strikeouts and plenty of fly balls that die at the warning track at Safeco Field.
Don’t forget about the defensive mistakes, Erik Bedard’s struggles and the issues keeping Franklin Gutierrez from taking the field, and ... stop! Enough!
See how easy it is to get carried away? Enough thinking about these problems because they certainly are not going away any time soon.
It’s easy to get caught up in the false importance of it all, to let the struggles of a mediocre team become bigger than what it really should be.
We are all guilty of it.
Every so often we need to be reminded that it is just a game. Many times those reminders come in the form of someone’s death.
On Tuesday, Justin Smoak flew home to be with his father, Keith, who died of lung cancer at age 57.
Cancer touches just about everyone in some way. It doesn’t discriminate. Look around the Mariners clubhouse.
“My mom and dad both had cancer and beat it,” Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. “It touches so many different people. It’s just a powerfully sad thing to have to go through.”
Ask Michael Saunders about living with cancer. His mother, Jane, has battled cancer for the past 12 years. She thought she’d beaten it. It came back. She thought she beat it again, and it came back. She’s fought it four times; it came back four times.
Such cases can make you depressed. So can the statistics associated with cancer.
The National Cancer Institute estimated that 11.4 million people in the U.S. had some history of cancer in January of 2006.
It also estimated that 1,529,560 (789,620 men and 739,940 women) would be diagnosed with cancer and 569,490 men and women would die of cancer in 2010.
To put that in perspective, the Mariners drew 2,085,950 fans last season.
Major League Baseball and the Mariners do try to raise awareness about cancer. We’ll see pink bats on breast cancer awareness day, and light blue wrist bands for prostate cancer awareness.
On any given day before a game at Safeco Field, you might see a Mariners fan who’s battling cancer walking on the field to meet players. While players will often walk by most people in ambivalence, they all stop for handshakes, autographs and kind words for these guests.
Wedge and his wife, Kate, are big into charity work. They donate to cancer drives among many other causes.
“You have to remember this is a game. It’s not real life. I tell the guys, it’s not your wife and it’s not your life, it’s just a game,” Wedge said. “You’ve got to keep it in perspective.”
It’s good advice for everyone.
Ryan Divish: 253-597-8483 firstname.lastname@example.org blog.thenewstribune.com/mariners