By Trevor Williams, Sports Radio 950 KJR
On Sunday afternoon, Raul Ibanez smacked his sixteenth and seventeenth home runs over the re-configured fences at Safeco Field. This got Ian Furness and Jason Puckett (of The Furness Show) thinking about the possibility of Raul setting the record for the most home runs hit by an MLB player over 4o years of age.
The possibility? Well it’s quite good actually… In a season where the Mariners seem to be plagued by let-downs and poor performance, maybe there’s something for fans to hold on to.
If Ibanez can hit just thirteen more homeruns over the remainder of the 2013 season, he will surpass Ted Williams as the oldest player to hit for 29 or more home runs. Just to be mentioned in the same sentence as Ted Williams is honorable for any professional baseball player, but Ibanez could potentially hold a record over the Red Sox legend who was inducted into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame in 1966. That feat would be more than honorable. It would be legendary.
Even without the potential for a Major League record, Ibanez is on pace for 36 home runs. That number would be the most from any Mariner since Richie Sexson knocked 39 of Bud Selig’s autographs over Major League fences in 2005. Not to mention, if Ibanez can go yard on four more pitches before the All Star Break, he will have more home runs in the first half of the 2013 season than any Mariner totaled in 2010, 2011, or 2012.
Some may regard that last statement as a big if, but when you consider Raul went yard three times over the weekend, and had a similar run in mid-May when he hit five home runs over a five day period, it seems like a reasonable hope for Mariner fans.
Anyways, it’s at least more plausible than most things the fans have held on to over the last few years, like the hope that Franklin Gutierrez can stay healthy for more than three days at a time.
So while the Mariners are forced to play Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” over the Safeco Field speakers this summer, don’t stop believing in Raul Ibanez. A player originally expected to be a substitute designated hitter and outfielder has turned into the hot ticket in the SODO District this summer. It’s time for Raul to bring some much needed excitement to a rather bland Mariners season. It’s not an American League pennant, but while Jack Zduriencik and Eric Wedge continue to rebuild, it will have to do.