Opening Day Eases Pain, Brings Hope, Dreams

The Seattle Mariners will take the field Monday afternoon in first place for the first time in nearly 21 months. That's what spring will do for ya.

Every spring since 1977, grown men have suited up in white and blue uniforms and represented the city of Seattle in the Major Leagues of Baseball. Twenty-five players each season have put on a uniform and felt the proverbial "Thrill of the Grass." Running out onto the field on opening day to the roar of the hometown crowd.

Seattlites suffered through 14 long years before the club finished any season having won more games than they had lost. The faithful few that stuck with these "Mariners" through thick and, well, thicker, waited five more summers before they could claim something to be proud of with their baseball team.

The run of 1995 was a fun, electrifying, memory for Seattle Mariners baseball fans across the Puget Sound, as well as all over the country. It provided the handful of diehards with something to hang their hat on after 18 years of losing. "Refuse to Lose" will live on in all of our memories.

But that is all it will ever be – a memory.

It's 2005 and time to move on – 1995 is history. It is time to grow up as fans and start knowing this game played between the white lines. It's time to become a group of millions that won't settle for anything less than winning. The days of "Ya gotta loves these guys" are over with and long gone. Nobody should love a loser, at least this side of Wrigley Field, anyways.

You may have been born in 1995, but you're grown-ups now. You are baseball fans. Seattle Mariners baseball fans. You are better than that.

Showing up in droves to watch a 99-loss baseball team is no longer an acceptable act for the true blue baseball fan. Not in the manner in which it took place last summer.

But a new season is here and the grass at Safeco Field is as green as ever. You can smell the leather from miles away. You can almost taste the hot dogs and hear the crack of the bat in the middle of the night before opening day. You can feel it coming like an "army of steamrollers."

The Mariners will take on the Minnesota Twins this afternoon, officially beginning the new era of Mariners baseball and donning the 2005 baseball season. Whether the roof is closed due to inclement rains, or the sky is blue of summer's dawn, the sun will shine down on the game today.

It happens every year. Hope sits deep within all of us. Everyone is in first place. The "Thrill of the Grass" is here again.

Say goodbye to the hot-stove league. Farewell to all of the winter meetings. Throw away the standings from 2004.

Baseball is back. And your 2005 Seattle Mariners open their season at your "Field of Dreams."

It's been built. Go the distance. Ease the pain of last season.

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