Mariners Insider Blog

April: For the Mariners, it's a show of faith

Off to a start that matches the best in franchise history, Don Wakamatsu's Seattle Mariners have done more than win games this month - they've won hearts and minds.

And not just those of their long-suffering fans.

One of the tasks handed Wakamatsu and his staff was changing the clubhouse environment, forming a team instead of 25 guys on the same roster.

That staff convinced players like Jose Lopez and Yuniesky Betancourt that fundamental baseball was more than catching ground balls and hitting. It was moving a runner over so the next hitter could get him home more easily.

Ken Griffey Jr. put an exclamation point on those lessons opening day, when he grounded to the right side of the infield to get a runner from second to third - and the next batter drove him in.

Those lessons continue, and the learning curve has made Seattle not only a fun team to watch, but apparently a blast to play for.

The clubhouse is alive with conversation and laughter, teasing and joking.

And, on the field, the Mariners have played as a team - using the bunt, hit-and-run and squeeze as additional weapons.

As a result, teams are going to have to defend the Mariners differently - and that's an edge, when you're a team others must adjust their game to play.

Their are months of baseball left, but give Wakamatsu and his staff this - they've created a new team, a new chemistry, in relatively little time.

Part of that has involved patience. If Yuni can't get a bunt down or Russell Branyan flubs a relay throw or Brandon Morrow blows a save, this team shows faith.

So far, that faith has been rewarded.

Whatever lies ahead, this team has taken a giant step forward in playing watchable baseball - and enjoying it.