Tyler Olson sat in front of his locker at Safeco Field with a familiar look on his face.
Tyler Olson sat in front of his locker at Safeco Field with a familiar look on his face. It’s the same look of wonder and disbelief many players before him have had when their dream becomes reality.
It’s the look that says, “I can’t believe this is happening.”
On Sunday, Olson walked into the clubhouse at Safeco Field and saw his locker with his nameplate above it and his No. 66 jersey hanging there. And it hit him — he’s made the big leagues.
“I remember being that same way,” said his locker neighbor, James Paxton. “It’s such an unreal feeling.”
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For Olson, it’s a little extra special. As a kid growing up in Spokane, he dreamed of wearing a Mariners uniform. Now it was happening.
“Speechless,” Olson said. “I was talking to my parents about it. And they asked me if it hit me yet. I said it probably won’t until I stand in front of my locker and it really did.”
There was no delayed reaction when Olson told his parents.
“It was awesome,” Olson said. “My dad shouted. My mom shouted. There were a few tears of joy.”
For manager Lloyd McClendon, the chance to tell Olson he’d made the opening-day roster was special, particularly after a week spent telling players they’d been cut from major-league camp.
“It’s one of the good moments when you can deliver a good message,” McClendon said. “You get to tell a young man that he realized his dream. That’s special. The hard part is telling a kid that his dream is not coming true. I was very happy. (General manager) Jack (Zduriencik) shared in the moment, which he should. It was a special moment for the young man.”
It was a conversation that Olson earned with his performance this spring. He made 10 appearances, pitching 122/3 innings and not allowing an earned run.
“This is a special moment for him being from the area,” McClendon said. “He had a tremendous spring. I’ve always said I’m looking for surprises in the spring — positive ones and he was a very positive surprise this spring. He earned his way onto this club.”
McClendon won’t be looking for any soft landings for Olson.
“There’s no such thing,” McClendon said. “If the situation calls for it, he’ll be in there.”
Just a few days ago, Carson Smith was preparing to play for Class AAA Tacoma to start the season. He had been optioned to the Rainiers on March 29, effectively ending what seemed to be his chances for making the Mariners’ opening-day roster.
“That wasn’t fun,” he said.
But Friday, Smith had completed his morning workouts in minor-league camp when his phone rang and he was notified he was being called up, replacing his good friend Dominic Leone.
“That was the tough part,” Smith said.
• The Mariners worked out on Sunday evening to get used to the new LED lighting system at Safeco Field.
“It’s a little brighter and you can see the ball a little better,” McClendon said. “I stared right into the lights and I never got blinded. So actually I think they’re better than the ones we had before.”