Manager Scott Servais understands there are more expectations for the Mariners in 2017 and believes that "pressure is a privilege."
PEORIA, Ariz. — The anticipation and excitement of the Mariners’ first full-squad workout was washed away by precipitation in the Phoenix area. With rain falling all day Saturday and through the night into Sunday, there was no chance for the Mariners to have a full workout given the conditions.
“We do have longer Spring Training this year, just as far as the number of games and stretched out,” manager Scott Servais said. “It’s disappointing, everybody wants to get out on the field on Day 1. They’re all fired up. But we’re going to turn a negative into a positive. It’s an omen. We’re used to rain in Seattle. We’ll just have a little extra Starbucks today, get our work in and see what happens.”
The plan is for pitchers to play catch with the scheduled bullpen sessions going under the covered mounds near the complex. Hitters will work in the cages and then do some conditioning work in the covered outdoor workout area.
With the fields completely saturated and standing water in many places, there is some question as whether the Mariners will be able to use the fields on Monday. Servais is hoping that at least one field will be ready so they can go over bunt coverages.
“It’ll be a low-key day,” Servais said.
Well, part of it was low-key. The first part of the day had some intensity. Servais delivered his opening speech to the players to go over his and the organization’s expectations from them this season.
“There are some common themes,” he said. “I’m not really going to change. We did a lot of very positive things last year and I’ve added a little bit to it. And a little different feel to it based on the experience level we have in the room and the talent level is up. I think we’re a little better than we were last year.”
A year ago, Servais was admittedly a ball of nerves and anxiety going into that first talk. He had accumulated so much to say, but how would he get it all in?
“I’d been geared up for that for so long,” he said. “There’s a little bit of that. Everyone is excited. It’s more anxious I guess and ready to get going and get a feel and get into some of the other stuff. Camp so far has been great as far as getting the guys to relax and become a little vulnerable and get up in front of the group and talk. It’s been really really good so far.”
One thing that will be discussed is the heightened expectations surrounding the team from outside outlets. Seattle posted an 86-76 record a year ago, which was better than most had anticipated. With the offseason additions and tweaks to the roster, there are some that believe the Mariners could finally end a playoff drought that extends back to 2001. The team certainly believes it.
“Hopefully 2017 can be a special year for us,” Servais said.
But how will he and the team handle that pressure to perform and meet those expectations?
Most Read Sports Stories
- Pac-12 mailbag: Kliavkoff’s culpability, expansion options, WSU's connections and more
- Analysis: USC and UCLA bolt for Big Ten. So what's next for UW and the rest of the Pac-12?
- UW faces stark decision in USC-UCLA fallout — leave Pac-12 or be content in declining conference
- Abraham Toro rewards Mariners with walkoff win after George Kirby rebounds admirably vs. A's
- Breanna Stewart makes 'spicy' trade for Sue Bird, drafts Jewell Loyd in WNBA All-Star selection show
“There’s a couple of different ways to handle it. I talk to our coaching staff all of the time. What comes out of me — I can’t touch every player every day. The coaching staff is a direct reflection of myself and how I’m thinking.
I think going forward we have to be process driven. We have to stay on the process. If you buy into the process and what we are doing — and you guys were around here last year: it’s controlling the zone, it’s how we play — if you stay with that, the results kind of take care of themselves. If you get all out ahead of yourself and start chasing the results and you lose feel for the process that’s when you get into trouble. Chasing your number of wins, chasing your ERA, chasing how many homers, that stuff, it takes care of itself. Our job as coaches is to do whatever it takes to keep our guys on process.
In what we do, we play a game. It is a game. Guys get rewarded very handsomely with the contracts they have. They get to play in a great stadium and a great city. Pressure is a privilege. That’s my take on it and where we are at: There is no pressure. Expectations are great. They should be.”