Cheap Seats with Steve Cameron: The new sailors move a lot like the 2015 World Championship champions

Want some good news, Mariner fans?

I mean, besides the arrival of Luis Castillo, and the fact that your heroes are currently hanging out in a wild spot the width of a toddler’s nails?

Well, here’s what you’ll love…

I feel a bit of deja vu.

It’s the sensation of 800,000 people celebrating a world championship win.

Indeed, millions were cheering, but these eight hundred thousand all came out personally – shoulder to shoulder in a mob crowd.

Trust me, having you there was something special.

Currently …

I’ll explain why sailors give me the sense that I see the same thing – and that the entire Northwest might end up going crazy – but first, I want to ask you a question.

When you think of Major League Baseball in general, what comes to mind about the Kansas City Royals?

something like…

“Meh. Do they have anyone but Salvador Perez?

“I’m glad we’ll be playing with them three times in September when the Mariners are on the line.”

That’s the general impression here—and everywhere, even in Kansas City.

And after…

The raving crowd I mentioned, nearly a million people howling, laughing, and screaming with pure joy – this was in Kansas City, less than seven years ago.

True, members of the royal family have lost their way, starting to roam the wilderness after the world championship victory in 2015.

Everything has disintegrated, from ownership to baseball managers, to scouts and coaches, and of course to fans — who no longer bother to call radio talk shows in frustration.

but …

If we go back a decade or so, to the period from 2012 through 2014, you can see how a banner winner was built.

What that means for us, here and now, is that the Mariners are a lot like this Royals as they’ve been huddling together.

Do these things look familiar?

Lots of excellent draft options. Scouting is sharp across the country, especially in Latin America. Dramatic trade was initially criticized, but helped add a local core.

The next piece of the puzzle may be a coincidence, to be honest, but the royals in that time period — right through back-to-back appearances at the World Championships — fundamentally changed baseball.

They built a pitching crew from the back to the front.

Three or four lock-down mitigators allowed the Royals to give their novices the chance to ditch everything, knowing they only needed five rounds, or six at the most.

The royals had the luxury of scooping a few rounds here and there, sneaking a little progress – then slamming the door on another – or a two-stage victory.

And so on …

See how the managers are handling their bowlers in this year’s playoffs.

“Give me five or six, big fella,” and the pen will take her from there. “

Game five of the 2015 series—in which the Royals beat the Mets 7-2 in 12 innings to end their title—was quite helpful in understanding baseball’s current game.

Kansas City’s Edison Folkis made just six runs, although he gave up Homer in the first half and not until the last.

Kelvin Herrera and the fastball in the ’90s went three rounds, hitting Luke Hochevar twice and closer, Wade Davis ended up hitting the side in his first turn.

On the flip side, Mets coach Terry Collins listened when Matt Harvey asked to play for ninth after throwing eight goal-free runs — and he threw 104 throws.

The Mets had their closest dominator, Jeurys Familia, who would normally have finished with a 2-0 lead.

While that …

Harvey walked into Lorenzo Cain to open 9th, while Collins surprisingly stayed in the dugout. Finally, after Eric Hosmer doubled down the deep left to score Kane, Collins called for the Familia.

Despite this, Hosmer scored the tiebreak over two contenders, ultimately sending the game to 12th – and the Royals had the series title.

Kansas City sedatives, and Collins’ faith in holding on to a tiring start, decided the game.

Every manager since then learned their lesson.

Nobody wants to imitate poor Terry Collins.

It all brings us to the 2022 Mariners, who (like the 2015 Royals) don’t set off bombs all over the stadium.

They only get an average of one click over four runs per game, which usually won’t get you many seasons.

But they can play, they play the best defense in baseball, and they’re great starting players.

They play the game.

The Mariners are built very much like these royals, and the way Scott Service uses his aiming crew reminds me a lot of seeing Kansas City in ’15.

Oh, and instead of trying to add the infamous “impact racket” to that year’s trading deadline, the royals traded some higher odds for newbie Johnny Koito (of Cincinnati, of all places) and hitter Ben Zobrist.

Jerry DePoto did the same.

He increased the team’s strength (Castello) and their areas of need (back-up Curt Casale and middle reliever Matt Boyd), along with finding the situational bat (Jake Lamb).

I feel like I’m seeing these royals again.

To complete the comparison, the Mariners’ game could be in full force – with Diego Castillo and Ken Giles back and needy.

I’m not sure if I’m seeing the 2014 Royals, a wild card team that lit up against a poor field in the MLS playoffs – but lost the series to San Francisco in seven games, or… the 2015 Royals World Championship, Who made his starting lineup a little stronger, won the central division and had all the tools to play baseball today.

Either way, it’s deja vu.


Steve Cameron’s “Cheap Seats” columns appear in the press three times each week. He also writes Zags Tracker, a Gonzaga basketball commentary published during the off-season, starting weekly in October.

Steve suggests taking his opinions in the spirit of Jimmy Buffett’s song: “Breathe In, Breathe Out, Move On.”