Sunday, December 7, 2008

Signs that winter is coming

---The days get shorter and colder. (Boo to 4:00 sunsets)

---Christmas music blares from retail stores, to the point where a day doesn't go by without one becoming subjugated to the wonderful, artistic majesty of Bruce Springsteen's "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town."

---Hollywood starts releasing less crappy movies.

---For four days in December, general managers and agents from all walks of life in baseball convene in a crowded hotel lobby to discuss trades, sign free agents, and get sloshed on cheap cocktails.

Yes, the Winter Meetings are mere hours away, and your humble author will be here at "Rime" each day, covering the latest moves/rumor-mongering. I don't expect the Mariners to be in play for any of the A-list free agents...for that matter, I really don't know what to expect from the Mariners. Jack Zduriencik hasn't tipped his hand either way on whether he wants to blow up the team and write off the next 2-3 years entirely, or retool for '09 in preparation for a possible run in '10.

Anxiety. That about sums up the general feeling I have towards the next three-and-a-half days. Anxious about the possibility of shopping Beltre or Putz. Anxious about the upcoming Rule 5 draftees. Anxious to see which agent/GM will inevitably end up drinking too much egg nog spiked with rum and say things he will later regret.

More than anxiety, though, are two things I have not felt about the Mariners in a long, long time: faith and hope. Faith that, whatever may come, Zduriencik has a clear plan and vision. Hope that he improves the team, even if it means saying goodbye to some of my favorite players. Faith that, at the end of this winter, the team will be in a better position than it was at the beginning. Hope that Z-man will put Seattle back on the baseball map. Faith that he will.

Harvey Dent once said, "the night is darkest just before the dawn." 2008 was the darkest part of the night in Mariner-land, but Zduriencik and his forward-thinking crew have brought us a new dawn. Even as the sun outside becomes a rarer and rarer sight with each passing day (seriously, boo to 4:00 sunsets), brighter days are ahead for baseball.

Go Z-man. Go Mariners. Don't let us down.

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