Why Mariners fans have every right to be pessimists

We Mariners fans are a pessimistic lot by nature. That's what 30 years of losing interrupted by only a half-decade of winning that served as little more than a big tease will do to you.

So it always amuses me when someone not from the Northwest comes to town and is surprised by our collective angst.

I love reading Geoff Baker's Mariners blog over at The Seattle Times, but the Montreal native seems perpetually confounded by our consistently negative nature. Baker, who joined the Mariners beat after long-time reporter Bob Sherwin retired last year, never has been one to sugar-coat the Mariners' problems -- a refreshing posture for a reporter in the mainstream media. But he also sometimes seems mystified that we aren't more content with the fact that this team is 12-11 more than a month into the season.

In an effort to assuage the pain of last night's debacle in Boston, Baker illustrated the Yankees' myriad problems in a post today. He finished with this nugget:

So, cheer up Mariners fans. Things aren't all that bad. The team is 12-11, a half game out of first place and that stinker last night only counts for one loss. Let's at least wait and see what happens tonight before hitting any more panic buttons.
My question for Geoff -- or anyone else trying to have a potentially positive outlook on this team -- is this: What in the world could possibly happen tonight that would make any of us feel any better about where this team (and organization) is headed?

Let's say the M's go out and beat up on Kei Igawa, who has been a horrible pitcher this year and move back to two games over .500. What does that prove? If they go out beat the two other guys not named Wang, does that somehow prove that they're for real?

How long are people going to keep asking us to forget that this 12-11 start isn't built on a house of cards?

There's a legitimate reason we all are consistently waiting for the other shoe to drop -- we've amassed the record by playing the worst teams in the American League right now. Yes, the Mariners might have escaped last night with a win -- and it would have made us all feel a little bit better today -- but has there been even a shred of evidence this year that the M's could compete on a consistent basis with a team like that?

The bottom line is that the Mariners do not possess the tools to reach a sustained level of success this season. There are far too many flaws on this team, all of which have been well documented. Wins are preferable to losses, no doubt, but when you start evaluating how the M's got those 12 wins and whether it's reasonable for them to keep playing .500 ball, it's impossible not to be pessimistic. This team is terrible, and at some point, it will catch up to them with another six- to 10-game losing streak.

There's a big difference between enjoying a win and being happy, and it's going to take a lot more than 12 shaky wins to make us happy again.

Don't try to fight it, Geoff.

UPDATE: The Mariners beat the Yankees 15-11 in a battle of whose pitching was less horrific. Congrats, M's -- your pitching sucks less. And, no, I don't feel any better about anything.

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