Major League Baseball has seemingly fetishized relatively dramatic changes the last few years. First there was the whole “second wild card” thing, then – no wait, first there was “this time it counts!” and then after that there was a steady decomposition of traditional baseball morality as the game slipped from “respectable sport” to “heinous twenty-first century smutty pro wrestling trash.” Okay, maybe I just need to take a couple deep breaths in, a couple deep breaths out. “This time it counts!” has proven to not be the end of the world. Also not harbingers of earth’s destruction: the end of relievers being labelled “type A” free agents, the second wild card, and the Houston Astros impending move to the AL West.
But about that last item, the Houston one. The Houstonishing Disastros will indeed end their 50-year run as a National League team and switch over to the junior circuit, as you and your grandmother have undoubtedly heard by now. As has been noted by pundits, and you, and your grandmother, this will result in two leagues with an uneven number of teams, which means all-year interleague play, which is a universally dreaded thing. The American League isn’t hyped on it, the National League isn’t hyped on it, the freemasons aren’t hyped on it, et cetera. But Bud Selig is hyped on season-long interleague play, and Bud Selig is the world’s only person, so it’s happening. Time to accept it and move on.
But enough about these jerks in Houston masquerading as a baseball team. This is a Mariners blog, wherein we care naught about non-Mariners things. How’s the new schedule going to affect the M’s? This question was left to guesswork until recently, when MLB RELEASED THEIR TENTATIVE 2013 SCHEDULES. Turns out they weren’t kidding about this whole “perma-interleague” nuclear apocalypse: Angels @ Reds for the season opener, Tigers @ Marlins to close out 2013. Haha! I’ve always enjoyed disaster movies, and now I expect to enjoy watching one about a baseball schedule in real life. The Mariners, for what it’s worth, will open the season on April 1st in Oakland. Happy Felix Day and all that, but… puke. History repeats itself, indeed.
In glancing at the 2013 schedule it becomes clear that the Houston Astros are indeed a baseball team in the American League West. They are, in fact, the season’s first visitors to Safeco Field, where they will play three games from April 8th to 10th. So don’t forget to spend that monday night with the Disastros, which is now their name forever. Things don’t get especially weird until tuesday the 7th of May, when the Mariners head to Pittsburgh, in May, to play their first two interleague games under the new scheduling format. The day before this series is an off-day, and the day after this series is an off-day, so hopefully Pittsburgh is beautiful. This is actually part of one of the stranger stretches of schedule: following the conclusion of a seven-game homestand the team has an off-day followed by three games in Toronto, followed by the aforementioned vacation-and-Pirates sandwich. Oh, and then three at home against the Athletics, then another off day. That’s eight baseball games and three cities in twelve days. Tickle me baffled.
Interleague play resumes for a moment on May 27th, when the hated San Diego Padres come to town for two games. On May 29th the Mariners head to San Diego for a two-game set against the hated San Diego Padres. Am I developing a stutter, or is this a thing? Turns out this is a thing, and the Mariners/Padres rivalry will now be highlighted by a series of consecutive two-game series, which may well be treated as one four-game series. This is apparently MLB‘s new way of highlighting “natural” rivalries, which Mariners/Padres is not and will continue not to be. The Marineros then head to the twin cities for three games, then back home for ten against the White Sox, Yankees and Houstonishings. No off-days this time. Remember how the Mariners have four off days in twelve days?
The off-day weirdness continues in June, and again involves the Pirates. After playing three at home against the Athletics there’s an off day, then two against the Pirates, also at home. Then the M’s are treated to another off day, then three against the Cubs, at home. If this schedule seems exceedingly weird, that’s probably because it is. As you’ve noticed by now, unless you haven’t, the AL West and NL Central are playing each other this season, perhaps as part of an effort to ease the Astros into their new environment. There are now 20 interleague games instead of 18, which matters barely. The Brewers come to town in August, and the Brewers are pretty neat. There’s a series with the Cardinals, in St. Louis, scheduled for September 13th to 15th, so expect Jason Vargas to drive in ten runs on the day the M’s clinch the AL West.
In conclusion, the Seattle Mariners are a baseball team and baseball, at the major league level, is getting a little weirder, mostly because the state of Texas hates when schedules make any kind of sense. Bud Selig is a crazy old man and as a result, Major League Baseball. The Seattle Mariners are victims, ladies and gentlemen. Victims. Sports.