Top 10 Reasons to be Excited about 2005

When a major league club has a wretched season as the Seattle Mariner have had in 2004, the best thing fans can do is look ahead to next year. Here are the top 10 reasons to get excited for 2005.

10. The Mariners Are NOT the Montreal Expos
With fan support and people that care about the team, at least Seattle doesn't have to worry about moving to D.C., or anywhere else for that matter.

9. SAFECO Field is Still Standing
The team's hopes in 2004 crumbled to the ground, but one of baseball's best parks is still in one piece and will be ready to go in 2005

8. The M's Have Money and Seem Willing to Spend it
The club has payroll room to spend on free agents and the words of Bavasi and Lincoln are as promising and positive to the fans' ears as they've ever been in the current ownership's tenure

7. The AL West is Not a Group of Juggernaut-style Rosters
The Rangers still have very little starting pitching, the Angels lack a stellar staff, and the A's bullpen and offensive lineup aren't anything to write Walter Alston about

6. At Least Three Rookies Should Stick-Even on a Contending team<br> Jose Lopez, George Sherrill, and Bobby Madritsch seem like locks to make the roster next year, and not by default. The two southpaw hurlers have shown they have what it takes while Lopez is the shortstop of the future

5. The Minor League Clubs Have Had Alot of Success of Late
Four of the five minor league clubs battled for a playoff spot and finished in the top two of their division. Success breeds more success and the clubs in the system have learned to win. This bodes especially well for the players that were on the 2003 Texas League Champion San Antonio Missions, who are considered to be one of the top minor league teams of the past 25 years

4. There is more offensive help on the way, in the form of Shin-Soo Choo
In addition to Bucky Jacobsen, Jeremy Reed, and trade acquisition Miguel Olivo, Choo can be another solid piece to the offensive puzzle sometime in the second half of 2005

3. Randy Winn will NOT be the team's center fielder on opening day
While Winn made less visible mistakes in center during the second half of the year, he clearly isn't the natural fielder a good club needs roaming Safeco's spacious pastures. Not to mention he has a DH's arm

2. One Word: Ichiro
With George Sisler in his rear-view mirror, what's next for the Japanese sensation? Finally a move to center field?

1. Felix is Coming
If Hernandez stays on the same track, there is no reason why he wouldn't make his Mariner debut sometime after the break in 2005 - The Felix era begins

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