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Seattle Mariners: Taking a Much-Needed Mid-Summer Break

SEATTLE, WA - JULY 01:  (L - R) Justin Smoak #17, Jesus Montero #63, and Brendan Ryan #26 of the Seattle Mariners remain seated on the dugout bench after losing 2-1 in ten innings to the Boston Red Sox at Safeco Field on July 1, 2012 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
Thomas HolmesCorrespondent IIIJuly 10, 2012

It's only a few days, but let's face it we could all use a break. 

It's already been a long season and we're only at the halfway point.  

Everyone from the players, coaches, front office staff, grounds crew, ushers, fans and even writers need some time away from the game.  

Sadly there isn't much to say that I feel I failed to touch upon over the past several months. 

To some it might be tempting to put together a first half report card, but what's the point of kicking a basket of puppies by handing out a long list of F's and Incomplete's? 

When you hear the key players of the Mariners youth movement after Sunday's loss to Oakland talking to Seattle Times Geoff Baker, it only makes you feel worse about the situation.

"You always think about it," Justin Smoak said of the teams first-half struggles. "You wonder whether it's going to get better. I hope so. I've felt like I haven't done well at all."

For Dustin Ackley it's a mix of optimism with a bit of frustration.

"'I'm real close," Ackley said before the game. "I feel like I know a lot of things I need to be doing, but you've got to take them into the game."

Manager Eric Wedge has said as much, indicating that his players have enjoyed solid batting practice sessions.

"I've gotten into a lot of bad habits with game swings and it's something I need to get out of," Ackley said, adding that his overall approach remains the same.

Ackley now plans to 'relax and get some good, much needed rest' during the break."

It's easy for us to complain from the cheap seats, but it's not as if the players have stopped trying or are tone-deaf. If they were a group of scuffling over-priced veterans who were simply taking their paycheck it would be a different story. 

Instead they're a group of twenty-something kids trying to live up to their dreams while struggling along the way. In many ways it makes them all the more endearing, at least to me. 

Some day we hope they become All-Stars, but for now we'd be happy if they could be our stars. Until then rumor has it that some of the youngsters could be taking a trip to Tacoma, which only makes you wonder whether it will help or hinder their development?

I'd imagine it might do some good for their game, but will they see it as a step back?

At any rate, as the eyes of the baseball world set their sights on Kansas City, I'm actually more inclined to take a look away for one night instead, especially since Felix Hernandez probably won't get in the game having just pitched on Sunday. 

It's not that I wish to avoid the sight of what truly talented baseball players such as Adam Jones or Asdrubal Cabrera look like, it's more the fact that there comes a time on occasion when you realize you need a break. 

Rest assured it won't be long, as I hope to put together a short list of young players that might be able to help the M's in the second half before the end of the week. 

Until then, here's hoping the entire Mariners organization takes the next few days to pause, reflect, and recharge so they can come back strong in the season's second half.  Let's hope this is the darkness before the dawn and that these tough times are what forges the nucleus of something special down the road. 

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