It has been 17 years since it was the most prestigious home on the block, but with the wear and tear, it needed an upgrade to fix the flaws.
Still, no one told the Seattle Mariners they had to douse it with gasoline, light a match, and watch the entire structure disintegrate.
The Mariners, who led baseball with 116 wins and advanced to the American League Championship Series in 2001, have the longest playoff drought in major league North American sports. And they assured themselves Monday of a dreary, dreadful summer by reducing their club to the Tacoma Rainiers.
They’ve become the Northwest version of the Miami Marlins.
The Mariners stripped themselves of nearly $200 million worth of players. They dumped five — including Robinson Cano, Jean Segura, Edwin Diaz and Juan Nicasio — on the National League East after earlier trading ace James Paxton, catcher Mike Zunino and veteran reliever Alex Colome.
Good thing the Mariners don’t own the Space Needle, or it would be on a moving van today.
The Mariners will be Exhibit 1-A in the next round of grievances by the Major League Baseball Players Association, which will ask how a team with massive revenue streams could be reduced to a flea market.
The Mariners, who won 89 games last season, now have assured themselves that Felix Hernandez will forever be known as the greatest pitcher in Mariners’ history to never appear in a postseason game.
The Mariners are going to stink to the high heavens in 2019 with no intention of winning, and a payroll that will continue to go lower.
So how much do you want to bet that they won’t lower ticket prices despite the inferior product?
Sure, Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto will argue that his team wasn’t good enough to compete in the AL West, anyways, and now with their haul of prospects, they’ll have one of the deepest farm systems in baseball.
Well, the Boston Red Sox would have a fabulous farm system, too, if they traded Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez, but silly them, they’d rather have a World Series banner hanging at Fenway Park.
If you happen to be a Mariners player, why would you want to stay?
Cano couldn’t wait to waive his no-trade clause. Same with Segura. How long before Kyle Seager, Dee Gordon and Mike Leake depart with $119.5 million remaining on their contracts?
The Mariners didn’t want the veterans they acquired Monday, and now can’t wait to dump them.
The Mariners will spend the next few months, and in some cases years, hyping the likes of JP Crawford, Justus Sheffield, Jarred Kelenic and Justin Dunn. They’ll tell everyone who’ll listen that if they’re ever close to contending again, they’ll have plenty of money to spend.
The fact is they always had money. They always had the resources to improve. Nothing stopped them from being a perennial power but themselves.
Now, they’ve simply given up, hoping their fans somehow buy into their scheme.
“We’re really excited with what direction we’re pointed to as a franchise,’’ Dipoto said Monday. “We’re all embracing taking a step back here in order to move ahead at a quicker pace in 2020.’’
They’ll try to convince folks that prospects can be fun to watch develop, but isn’t that what minor-league ballparks with their minor-league ticket prices and minor-league concessions are all about?
This was once a city that underwent one of the most dramatic transformations in sports, going from a lethargic baseball market into a hotbed in the summer of 1995, with pictures of Ken Griffey Jr. sliding across home plate against the New York Yankees still in restaurants and living rooms throughout town.
Now, their major league team is in ashes, with no one witnessing a demolition like this by a non-Marlins team since the 1993 San Diego Padres.
It’s ugly. It’s painful.
“This is the road we opted for,’’ Dipoto said. “This group will be young, energetic and a lot of fun to watch.’’
But actually win?
Seattle, the only AL franchise that has never played in the World Series, will be testing its fans’ patience for years to come.
Follow Nightengale on Twitter @BNightengale
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