Three Republican legislators in Washington state have proposed a bill which would allow fans to bring guns into stadiums. Safeco Field, home of the Mariners, would be among those stadiums. Safeco Field is privately operated and has a no-guns policy. The legislature seeks to prevent private operators from banning concealed pistols as long as the gun owners are properly licensed.
The bill’s sponsors are Matt Shea, David Taylor, and Bob McCaslin. The bill is HB 1015 and it can be read in full here.
It’s easy to see how this bill would make sports stadiums a much less safe area for fans. The mixture of tense sports action, alcohol, and guns would inevitably lead to injuries and deaths. Studies have shown that having a gun in the home significantly increases the risk of an unintentional gunshot fatality. A home typically only has a handful of people in it. Imagine a stadium of 30-50,000 people. Only a microscopic percentage of those people would need to be armed to put all of the fans in potential danger.
All this being said, it is unlikely that HB 1015 will pass. The Washington state House of Representatives is controlled by the Democrats. Furthermore, Democrat governor Jay Inslee received a grade of F from the National Rifle Association (NRA).
To the surprise of, well, very few, the Mariners didn’t make the cut for the postseason this year. While they threw their hats in the ring for a wild card berth, their pitching staff just couldn’t stay healthy, from the handful of pitchers who contracted season-ending injuries in spring training to Felix Hernandez‘s shoulder bursitis to structural damage in Hisashi Iwakuma‘s right shoulder. Left-hander James Paxton missed 79 days with a lingering head cold, strained left forearm and pectoral strain. Heading into the 2018 season, the lefty told MLB.com’s Greg Johns that he plans to “nerd out big-time” in order to prepare for a healthy, consistent run with the club.
So far, Johns reports, that entails a new diet and workout program, hot yoga sessions and blood testing. “I just think there’s more I can do,” Paxton said. “I haven’t done the blood testing before. Finding out if there’s something I don’t know about myself. It’s just about learning and trying to find what works for me.”
When healthy, the 28-year-old southpaw was lights-out for the Mariners. He helped stabilize the front end of the rotation with a 12-5 record in 24 starts and supplemented his efforts with a 2.98 ERA, 2.4 BB/9 and 10.3 SO/9 through 136 innings. Despite taking multiple trips to the disabled list, he built up 4.6 fWAR — the most wins above replacement he’s compiled in any season of his career to date. Had he not been felled by a pectoral injury in mid-August — one that came with a five-week trip to the disabled list — the club might have been been able to make a bigger push for the playoffs.
Of course, even if Paxton manages to stay healthy next season, the Mariners still have the rest of the rotation to worry about. They cycled through 17 starters in 2017 and tied the 2014 Rangers with 40 total pitchers over the course of the season. Per GM Jerry Dipoto, their top four starters (Paxton, Hernandez, Iwakuma, and Tommy John candidate Drew Smyly) only contributed 17% of total innings pitched, just a tad below the 40% average. Finding adequate big league arms and compensating for injured aces (both current and former) will be tough. Still, getting a healthy, dominant Paxton back on the mound for 30+ starts would be a huge get for the team — whether or not the postseason is in their future next year.