In last week’s column I went on a nostalgic baseball trip. I wanted to snap everyone out of the winter doldrums and remind them; Baseball is coming!!! I also tried to provide some reasons why baseball fans, and especially Puget Sound fans, should be excited.
Because of the Mariners’ trip to Japan this year, pitchers and catchers reported earlier than usual. Lots of new names and fresh faces along with the usual suspects. Mariners invited 35 pitchers to spring training. And plenty of other players, young and old, for each position. Talk about competition!
One player is new and old at the same time. Franklin Gutierrez.
After a stellar 2009 season, Gutierrez was stricken with Irritable Bowel Syndrome. He lost weight and strength. He had dropped to 175 pounds and looked and played awful.
He is back now. 210 pounds of muscle and eagerness. “I feel like I’m back to where I was in 2009.” Says the Gold Glover. When I was sick I’d hit the ball and it wouldn’t go anywhere.” Now it does. If this recovery is true, the Mariners instantly become a much better team. Keep an eye on Franklin.
With the Mariners upcoming trip to Japan, Ichiro will be featured and you will likely seem him on TV speaking much more than usual. Ichiro is an intelligent ballplayer and it should prove interesting to watch as he prepares to play MLB in his native country. The Mariners and A’s play March 28-29. They are also scheduled to play exhibition games against Japanese teams the day before. I, for one, can’t wait to see the contrast between MLB and Japanese baseball. How will our customs affect each other? What is the Japanese training regime? Tune and find out!
Don’t let time get away from you. Make sure you aren’t caught flatfooted when they throw out the first pitch in Japan. Get your supplies now and save yourself a lot of running around on game day.
While you’re getting ready; stop and play catch with a kid. It will be good for both of you.
See you at the ball park.