BY Seth Kolloen 07:33AM 02/09/2011

Exit 164: Pitchers & catchers & optimism report Sunday

Put your rose-colored glasses on, spring training’s almost here!

Will happily take bets on these stories being written about the Mariners this spring:
Hernandez Looks to Be Even Better in 2011
Bradley Looks to Put His Demons Behind Him
Cust Looks to Prove He’s an Everyday Player
Figgins Looks to Justify His Paycheck
Wilson Looks to Play Two Games Without Getting Injured

Once baseball players and baseball reporters file into spring camps — the Everett Herald’s Kirby Arnold is down there already — the annual ritual of optimistic spring training stories begins. ESPN’s Bill Simmons wrote about this phenomenon ages ago, identifying the 25 spring stories that repeat year after year.

I first noticed it when I was living in New York. Every spring, you’d hear about how all-glove, no-bat shortstop Rey Ordonez had some new batting coach/technique/approach, and this was the year he’d make an amazing turnaround at the plate. And every year, Rey Ordonez would be just as terrible at hitting baseballs as he was the year before.

**Man, I’d almost forgotten about that SI photo of baseball’s young shortstops looking like they were posing for a Menudo cover. Ha!**

Can’t blame baseball writers for being optimistic — after all, they are down in Arizona, where it’s 75 and sunny every day. With all that glorious sun, even something as ludicrous as Erik Bedard returning in June to help anchor the Mariners rotation (something else you’ll likely read about) seems possible. Up here in Seattle, experiencing our 93rd consecutive day of 50 and raining, we stay grounded enough to remember that life is largely a slog between disappointments.

Of course, being a huge Mariner fan, I will read all the stories above, as well as “Kennedy Looks for One Last Pennant Race,” “Ackley Looks to Win Starting Job,” and “Vargas Looks to Repeat 2010 Success.” And a small part of me will believe them.

What they’re saying…

“If this unravels anymore, we can be in deep trouble.” — Lorenzo Romar

“He is big and strong and once he gets a guy on his hip it’s tough for them to get the ball off of him. We are going to have more joy on him in Seattle.” — Sigi Schmid on Sounders striker O’Brian White

“What’s interesting about the Erik Bedard trade is that, as more and more time has passed, popular opinion of the deal has grown more and more negative, while the trade itself looks less and less like the disaster it could’ve been.” — Jeff Sullivan, Lookout Landing, on the third anniversary of the Bedard trade

In other news… puts the odds of the Seahawks winning next year’s Super Bowl at 80-1.

The Sounders played Real Salt Lake to a 3-3 draw in an exhibition game. Lamar Neagle, O’Brian White, and Fredy Montero (PK) scored the goals.

The Metro League boys hoops final is set for Friday at 8 p.m. at SPU. O’Dea will face Franklin for the title after the Quakers upset Rainier Beach last night. Franklin’s 5’9″ sophomore guard Arell Hennings dropped 30 in that game. Holy Names plays Cleveland for the girls title at 6 p.m–that should be a good one, Cleveland upset Holy Names for the state title last year.

Today’s action…

Soccer: Brazil @ France, 11:55 a.m. (ESPN)
ACC Hoops: North Carolina @ Duke, 6 p.m. (ESPN)
GNAC Hoops: Seattle Pacific @ Central Wa., 7 p.m. (FSN)
NCAA Hoops: Utah Valley @ Seattle U, 7 p.m. (710-AM)


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