I grew up as a hardcore Nintendo fan. Whether it was playing Yoshi's Island on the SNES or playing Super Smash Bros. Melee on the Gamecube, Mario and company were a major part of my childhood. However, there are some significant errors the corporation made when running their baseball team, the Seattle Mariners. I'm talking about errors that made the only baseball team in the Pacific Northwest have the longest playoff drought in sports.
First, let's take a look at the company itself. Nintendo has produced countless classics, ranging from Super Mario Bros. to The Legend of Zelda. But what most fanboys won't tell you is that the corporation has also engaged in some shady business practices. That includes being associated with the Yakuza with cards and love hotels, along with flagging YouTube channels just for playing their music and reacting to game trailers.
These aren't the only crimes committed by Nintendo, though. The company has also been notorious for being difficult for third-party support, leaving them to be shunned for Sony and Microsoft. On top of that, they went with cartridges for the N64 instead of CD drives the way PlayStation did. Throw in graphics that are behind the times and you have a corporation with questionable business practices.
Unfortunately, those head-scratching initiatives happened to extend to the diamond. Nintendo's ownership was represented by former lawyer, Howard Lincoln, who happens to look and act like a wooden figure. He would blast his personnel for not winning and stopped the Mariners from signing Nelson Cruz in 2014, leaving them one game short of the postseason. On top of that, he let a bad clubhouse culture fester, including allowing Felix Hernandez to eat fried chicken instead of staying in top shape.
The lack of accountability has also spread to other parts of the front office. Enter Kevin Mather, the former president of baseball operations, and sexual deviant. Mather was one of three Mariner executives who faced workplace complaints for sexually harassing female employees in 2009-2010, with the other two being Bob Aylward and Lincoln's right-hand man, Chuck Armstrong. Eventually, Lincoln disappeared into obscurity, being replaced by...
...John Stanton, who looks like the doppelganger of Scott Shannon. Mather came up in the news again, this time for racially insensitive remarks about Japanese players needing translators and doctoring Jarrod Kelenic's major league time. Instead of saying, "I'VE GOT A JERK IN MY HOUSE," he waited until Mather resigned, leaving many people wondering what was wrong with the club.
Then there's Jerry DiPoto, Seattle's general manager and wannabe Theo Epstein. The former Angels executive has been known for making trades. You can say he loves them a little too much. Recently, he traded Kendall Graveman to the Houston Astros for an aging Joe Smith and a prospect named Abraham Toro. That drew the ire of players and fans alike, leaving them feeling betrayed. Not only that, but it sent a signal that ownership still doesn't care about winning; they'll put profits over winning a World Series any time. Such a group should be beaten, tarred and feathered, and thrown into the Puget Sound like a fish at Pike Place.
DiPoto's ceiling as a general manager is second place in the AL West. Hell, you can make the case that this is the franchise's ceiling with their mediocre play. There's no fight in this club, significantly when First Avenue Entertainment is kissing the feet of the cheating Houston Astros and hated New York Yankees. I'll bet you Julio Rodriguez gets traded to the Rockies or Yankees, Justin Dunn will have a hundred injuries, and Jarrod Kelenic's ego will grow while his batting average falls below .100. It's going to happen.
Watch the Seattle Kraken make the playoffs before the yellow-bellied M's do. Unlike the baseball team, the Kraken want to win. They picked up pieces such as Philip Grabauer and Jaden Schwartz today and are accumulating draft picks. They play in a weak Pacific Division, providing them with a chance to compete for the Stanley Cup. Ron Francis may not be the perfect general manager. But he isn't insane with his moves like Jerry DiPoto is.
The Seattle Kraken almost didn't happen, too. The M's blocked Chris Hansen from building a new arena, claiming it would hurt their revenue. As a result, Key Arena was remade into Climate Pledge Arena, making the necessary adjustments to accommodate a hockey team. Low and behold, Emerald City residents bought Kraken tickets that sold out in under 12 minutes. Nintendo of America thinks it runs Seattle, acting in a sense of entitlement and pride (spoiler alert: Bill Gates and his creation, Microsoft, do). Realistically, they're a mere afterthought thinking of the "glory days" of 1995 and 2001 (they didn't even make the World Series those years).
As long as the Seattle Mariners are run by the country club group known as First Avenue Entertainment, they'll never make the playoffs. With odd business practices echoing that of their former overlords in Nintendo and bad workplace culture, it's best to avoid this plague. The tone-deaf ownership wants to torture people of the Pacific Northwest with bad baseball and obscure, head-scratching moves (see Jack Cust, Milton Bradley, and Chone Figgins). It's unfair to players like Kyle Seager that've been loyal to the franchise and deserve time in the postseason.
Seattle sports fans have had it rough. Whether it's the Supersonics leaving town or the last-minute interception in Super Bowl XLIX, sports fanatics in the Pacific Northwest have had plenty of heartbreak and suffering. That's certainly true with the Mariners, where First Avenue Entertainment gets off on watching Seattle baseball fans suffer. The aforementioned reasons are why you shouldn't root for the M's.