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Next Year is Here

Winter is over. Well, not technically, but hey, it was nearly 80 degrees today in Seattle (in your face, Miami!) and tonight the Mariners take the field for the first official game in the 2019 championship season. Or tomorrow night, or tomorrow morning, based on your time zone. It's complicated. Temporal mechanics and all. Anyway, come 2:30am PDT the Tokyo Dome will be abuzz with excitement when the Oakland A's take the field as the "home" team against our Seattle Mariners.

Despite predictions of doom and gloom for the upcoming campaign—the M's are almost universally projected to finish fourth, and that just because Texas is thought to be a 100-loss type of squad this year—we really have no idea what to expect from this "transitional year." Though highly unlikely to repeat 2018's contending fun, the '19 Mariners could well be better than a fourth-place team. Of course, it all depends.

That said, the new guys—and boy, are there a lot of new guys—should be interesting to watch. Mallex Smith in particular seems destined to become a fan favorite at the ballpark by Elliott Bay, and though he won't be active for the opening series in Tokyo he should be ready to go when the M's open at home on the 28th. Omar Narváez will show us what the mirror-universe version of Mike Zunino looks like (he even has a beard!), Hunter Strickland will try not to start any fights, and Edwin Encarnación will be a professional hitter despite nobody wanting him here.

No matter what happens, there will be enjoyable nights at the ballpark and plenty of highlights to go with the inevitable defeats, so whether you're a pessimist predicting Seattle to be the first team eliminated from the pennant race or have fantasy dreams of a surprise upset to the Astros—maybe Houston falls to some sort of voodoo curse?—or, like me, see these M's as a middle of the pack .500 squad, get ready to have some fun.

It's baseball season once again.

"Baseball is entirely about going home. It is the only game you ever heard of where you want to get back to where you started (all the other games are territorial—you want to get his or her territory—not baseball). Baseball simply wants to get you from here back around to here, and that I think is why baseball is its own long poem, its own endless epic."

—Former Commissioner A. Bartlett Giamatti

Most Exciting New Mariner

With all the new faces coming to the M's for 2019, who are you most excited to see?

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