As a two-week trend of fundamentally inept baseball continues for the Mariners, fans have splintered into one of two factions:

• Those who have lost interest in the team and won't be persuaded to care again until a comprehensive overhaul of the front office begins with CEO Howard Lincoln and president Chuck Armstrong.

• Those looking for a reason - any reason - to still care about a team whose 4-11 start matches the 1981 Mariners for worst 15-game record in franchise history.

I'm not going to try to change the minds of the fallen-away fans avoiding Safeco Field - it's the Mariners' job to sell tickets, not mine - although I must pose a question: If Lincoln and Armstrong are to be held responsible for a baseball team that neither beats its opponents nor entertains its customers, why weren't Lincoln and Armstrong given at least some of the credit for the Mariners teams that averaged 98 victories a season between 2000 and 2003?

As for fans desperate to cling to something positive during an April that's mirroring the six months of frustration the Mariners produced last season, well, there's this: Michael Pineda.

The rookie right-hander is scheduled to pitch today in Kansas City, and while waking up to watch the Mariners strand baserunners and butcher fly balls seems like a certain recipe for spoiling a day, another recipe certain to spoil a day is missing a chance to enjoy Pineda's precocious talent.