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Daily coverage of the Mariners during the season and all year long.

March 3, 2009 at 10:02 AM

Mariners off today

With a longer-than-usual spring training, the Mariners have three off days in March.
The first is today, and I can attest that the Mariners were true to their word when they said there wouldn’t be much of anyone here today.
Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu said he wanted the players to take advantage of their off days to stay fresh mentally and physically and it appears everyone is doing just that.
I’m typing this in the press room at the Mariners’ facility where there is little activity (though lots in the overall park as the Padres host the Dodgers here in a couple hours).
The Mariners will also be off March 17 and March 25.
As for what has happened so far, it’s so early that making any grand conclusions about anything, on or off the field, isn’t advisable.
But a good start is better than the alternative. And Seattle has won four in a row heading into today’s brief break, and is 4-0-1 overall, taking early leads in most of the games and then pulling away or holding on, other than in the tie against the Padres.
The Mariners have trailed for just four of 46 innings this spring and have outscored their opponents 46-19.
What seems to have been set mostly so far is a tone of hard work. Wakamatsu mentions that in almost every meeting with the media, and observeres say the team seems to be working longer and more diligently than a year ago, when most jobs were set and the franchise thought it was a contender to win the AL West.
But we won’t know for months if that will result in any real benefit this season.
What’s also too early to make any grand conclusions about is the attendance. Seattle is averaging 5,435 for its first two home games, compared to an average of 8,926 last season.
But that’s for just two games, both early in camp when crowds are usually a little smaller, and with fans knowing players like Ichiro aren’t around and Ken Griffey Jr., yet to play. A truer indication may come Wednesday night when Seattle hosts Australia with Griffey set to make his spring debut.
Still everyone will be watching to see how the economy impacts baseball attendance this season, and spring training will be the first real gague.
As for the blog, with no team activity until tomorrow at 3 — first pitch tomorrow is at 7:05 local time — there won’t be a whole lot of news. But I’ll try to throw a few more things out there between now and then.

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