Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington put his feet on his desk after the 162nd game of the season Sunday and shook his head.
"I’m never glad for the baseball season to end," he said.
A great many fans can relate. What starts in February when pitchers and catchers report, winds up running through the lives of millions throughout the spring, into the summer and early fall.
The Seattle Mariners had a good year.
There should be no argument to those seven words. They finished with the American League’s fifth-best record, went from 78 wins in 2006 to 88 in 2007.
They survived the resignation of a manager in mid-season.
They overcame the worst year in Richie Sexson’s career, a poor signing in pitcher Jeff Weaver, a bad trade acquisition in Horacio Ramirez and injuries that floored veteran relievers Arthur Rhodes and Chris Reitsma.
They got marvelous years from Ichiro Suzuki and Raul Ibanez, J.J. Putz and Yunieskey Betancourt, Adrian Beltre and Jose Guillen.
Miguel Batista (16) and Felix Hernandez (14) set career highs for wins.
A parade of relievers – George Sherrill, Brandon Morrow, Sean Green, Eric O’Flaherty and Ryan Rowland-Smith – kept the Mariners in the AL West race until late August, when the burden of too many innings caught up to them.
There are holes to fill, issues to face, decisions to make. All teams face them, every off-season.
For the first time since 2003, however, the Mariners and their fans can say they had a good year.
They won more games than the Chicago Cubs and as many as the New York Mets. They won more games than the Blue Jays and Braves, the Cardinals or Twins.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a national publication or a fan last spring who believed the Mariners wouldn’t finish fourth again.
Instead, they had a good season. That’s a start.