Opening Day holds significance in the Northwest community

CHRIS ARNESON | Evergreen columnist

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Opening Day in the MLB brings forth feelings of hope, optimism and anticipation in any given baseball community. Warm weather is on the way and soon enough, America’s pastime will become the only major sport playing on television.

For WSU students and fans of the Seattle Mariners alike, Monday’s 2017 season-opening game evoked inspiration and excitement in this tight-knit community. Despite loses in the team’s first two games of the season at divisional rival Houston, Mariners fanatics remain energized.

Opening Day at Safeco Field this Monday holds great significance for the Northwest community. Mariners’ fans are among the most underrated in sports, nestled comfortably along the Pacific Ocean and isolated 800 miles from the nearest franchise, the Oakland Athletics.

A visit from ESPN is almost as rare as a playoff appearance for Seattle, a team that has not played October baseball since 2001. Yet, devoted fans still travel across the Northwest to Edgar Martinez Drive to watch a game of hardball.

A flurry of roster moves made by Mariners General Manager Jerry Dipoto has made the team highly touted entering the 2017 campaign. As Jean Segura, a 27-year-old All-Star shortstop, digs into the batter’s box on Monday to leadoff the first of 81 home baseball games for the M’s, the Emerald City has a chance to appreciate a proud and evolving franchise.

Segura, acquired in one of Dipoto’s many offseason attractions, represents the newfound hope this community shares. Being in the Northwest, Seattle receives little to no media attention from the Skip Bayless’ and Stephen A. Smith’s of the world, but playing in a state-of-the-art stadium in front of a bonded fan base that extends beyond the metropolitan area, the franchise has the opportunity to do something special.

From Pullman to Seattle, Opening Day’s wonder will be felt all across the Northwest come Monday afternoon.