I bought the card on a Sunday night and little did I know what the next few days would have in store for a franchise that has been bogged down in futility for the better part of four decades. By the time the card arrived five days later, two separate news stories about the Mariners had been reported- one, hinting at the new era that is about to begin; another, suggesting that perhaps a new era in organizational structure is needed.
A week prior to my purchase, photos of the signage at Safeco Field being taken down began surfacing online. Less than a week later, Forbes reported that the naming rights to the home of the Mariners was going to T-Mobile, prompting responses about the team already having bad Servais. While neither party has confirmed the report, it’s only a matter of time until a new partnership (whoever it may be with) is announced. After twenty years, it will be tough to refer to the ballpark as anything other than Safeco.
On Monday- the day after purchasing the Cano New Era card- Dr. Lorena Martin, former Director of High Performance (another source of online laughter) for the team, dropped a bombshell on her Instagram account, alleging sexist and racist remarks from GM Jerry Dipoto, manager Scott Servais and Director of Player Development Andy McKay. The organization was quick to deny all accusations and within a couple of days released a statement announcing that an internal investigation was conducted and that all of the accused were cleared of any wrongdoing. Even if Major League Baseball- which is currently conducting its own investigation- clears the three accused, the whole incident leaves the organization with a black eye. And, I might add, leaves questions about Dipoto’s judgement. The GM had loudly sung the praises of Dr. Martin upon her hiring and she didn’t even last twelve months in to a three year contract. For all the questions that remain, one thing is clear: the team had given Dr. Martin a number of responsibilities and, with little internal support, basically set her up for failure.
If those two bits of information don’t signal a new era, the player turnover the past three weeks certainly does. Mike Zunino- gone. James Paxton- gone. Edwin Diaz- gone. And, amazingly, Robinson Cano- gone. While I’ve long questioned Jerry Dipoto’s competency as GM, there is no doubt that he pulled off the unthinkable and was able to move Cano. And for that, I salute him.
So yes, a new era has arrived in Seattle. And yet it isn’t really anything new- just one more in a long line of disappointment for Mariners fans.