Spring training has often been regarded as a chance for established players to work themselves into game shape and for young stars and aging vets to prove that they can contribute to a team and deserve to be a part of the final squad when a team sets the roster to open the season.
For the Seattle Mariners, they are finding an unexpected benefit to spring, the ability to gel as a team and develop good player chemistry and a winning attitude.
While nobody ever makes the post season from spring games, the Mariners have found the spark that was missing from their players and bats in recent years by reeling off a 10-game win streak and clubbing a major league leading barrage of home runs.
Adding to the intrigue for Mariners fans is that this is all being done without Felix Hernandez throwing his first meaningful pitch of the spring yet and with a good mix of younger players being given some serious looks by the team.
Michael Morse, Raul Ibanez and Kendry Morales have made an impact both on the field and in the clubhouse as younger players seem to be much more relaxed and confident at the plate and are bringing a confident and aggressive approach to the plate, which has allowed them to crush pitches and score runs in bunches.
Pitching and defense has been the model for the team in recent years, but the hope is that the addition of the offensive players as well as the continuing maturity of the younger players can propel the Mariners into contention sooner than anyone has expected.