SEATTLE (AP) For the first time in 20 years, the Seattle Mariners will begin a season without Ichiro Suzuki or Felix Hernandez on the opening day roster.
Those two stars served as faces of the franchise for the past two decades while Seattle struggled through the longest postseason drought in major pro sports, last reaching the playoffs in Suzuki’s rookie season of 2001. At times, they were the real reason fans showed up to watch some awful baseball.
The two are gone now. But the Mariners believe they are on the cusp of having the kind of team that won’t require singular stars to bring fans to the ballpark once they’re allowed to return.