The 2022 Major League Baseball season has been going for almost three weeks now. How you feel about it so far is up to, well, you.
As for me? There are some things that I love and other things that I don't.
I figured I might as well let it all out in an article that's going to be half excitable ranting and half annoyed ranting about specific teams and players and broader leaguewide trends. I did my best not to repeat points I've already made in other places, but it was unavoidable in some cases.
Now then, let's start with an oh-so-wholesome story that's developing in the Pacific Northwest.
I Love That the Seattle Mariners Are in 1st Place
I didn't choose to start here because I'm a fan of the Seattle Mariners. I just like a good story, and them finally snapping their longstanding playoff drought would certainly qualify.
So far, so good.
By way of their 10-6 record, the Mariners have grabbed the early lead in the American League West and boosted their playoff odds accordingly. Per FanGraphs, their chances of playing in October for the first time since 2001 have basically doubled since the season opened on April 7.
One could see this as the next logical step for the Mariners after they just missed the postseason with a 90-win campaign in 2021, yet this effort is decidedly more believable so far. Rather than unsustainable good luck, the M's are riding a pitching staff that bears a 2.96 ERA and an offense with the highest on-base percentage in the American League.
No fanbase deserves to suffer through a 20-year playoff drought, but it feels particularly cruel that it happened to this one. Seattle was once the rocking-est baseball town in the American League, after all, and I've found Mariners fans to be among the best to talk baseball with. I don't mind rooting for their cause from the sidelines.
I Hate That the Texas Rangers Aren't Even Competitive
Elsewhere in the American League West, it just plain sucks to watch what's happening to the Texas Rangers.
I can't say that I was ever convinced that they would be able to quickly return to contention after a 102-loss season in 2021, but I appreciated that they at least tried to put themselves on that path with the moves they made over the winter. Even if $500 million of it was for just two players, their $581 million splurge in free agency was nonetheless impressive.
Unfortunately, it's starting to look like a waste amid the team's 6-10 start to the season.
Notably, the half-billion dollars that the Rangers spent on Corey Seager and Marcus Semien have bought just a .569 combined OPS. Jon Gray, who inked a $56 million deal, got lit up for a 7.00 ERA in two starts before going on the injured list with a sprained knee.
In fairness, the Rangers' run differential suggests that they deserve a better record than the one they have. But until they start winning more games, they simply aren't going to be the anti-tanking poster boy that Major League Baseball frankly needs these days.