Baseball Is A Marathon: What To Look Forward To In The 2nd Half

May 21, 2012; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Felix Hernandez (34) reacts to striking out Texas Rangers center fielder Josh Hamilton (not pictured) for the final out of the 7th inning at Safeco Field. Seattle defeated Texas 6-1. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-US PRESSWIRE

The Seattle Mariners still have the second half of the season to go. Here are the dates for the games that are still left worth watching.

Let's be honest with each other, because as someone with good morals and values always said, honesty is the best policy. We all knew the 2012 Seattle Mariners were not going to do anything.

We all knew that the 2012 Seattle Mariners would be painful to watch at times, although maybe we didn't expect it as much as these Mariners have chosen to make us watch. 2012 was truly the first year of Jack Z's full blown rebuilding project. The average age of the Seattle Mariners most common starters is 12.5 years - not experience - years old.

Even though the Mariners are on pace for yet another 100 loss season (their second in two years, third in five years), that doesn't mean that the Mariners are a complete wash. Baseball is a long season, and excluding the games that happened post all star break because I am lazy and couldn't get these words on my keyboard in time (lets just act like this column is happening the day after the All Star Game), the Mariners still have the second half of the season to go. A half of a baseball season is still a lot of baseball.

This isn't to say that grand changes will happen. The Mariners aren't suddenly going to skyrocket into second place in the AL West, but there are still some key dates to look forward to - and this is the place for them.

July 15th vs. Texas Rangers: Breaking Bad: Season 5 Premiere

Anyone that hasn't been following TV's best drama since pretty much ever is probably sick of hearing about how Breaking Bad is TV's best drama and how the fourth season of the show was the pinnacle in the ability of a good writing staff to make something so addictive. I was going to try and compare the Mariners to various characters on the show until I realized that Walter White, Jesse Pinkman, hell, even baby Walter White Jr. are more badass than any of the Seattle Mariners cast members. The Seattle Mariners are like that unnamed thug that Tuco literally beat to death at the end of season one. A horrible scene and a horrible way to go. I guess there is King Felix. He is our Walter White. And our Jesse Pinkman. And our Walter White Jr. And our Gus Fring. And our Mike Ehrmantraut. And our etc etc.

July 20th @ Tampa Bay Rays: The Dark Knight Rises Premiere

Christopher Nolan really is a genius. He took this and turned it into this. He rebooted a franchise like no franchise has ever been rebooted. He got a dead man an Oscar. He made it so to speak like Batman was to lower your voice to an unintelligible rasp and announce, "I AM BATMAN." Once again, King Felix is our Batman. Fighting the crime of poor performance and under appreciated by the citizens of the Seattle Mariners, who rely on him to keep their city alive and clean, but turn their backs on him when the going gets tough and fail to hold up their end of the bargain.

July 27th @ Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: 2012 London Olympics Begin

Are you prepared for the maximum overdose of Bob Costas?! One of the greatest things about being a resident of Seattle is that with cable you pick up CBC, and the Winter Olympics in Vancouver will stand as a sore reminder how much better it used to be. It is like the 2001 season constantly looming over the Seattle Mariner fan base forever. Every new baseball season is our Bob Costas Olympic coverage.

August 8th @ Baltimore Orioles: Sounders FC Goes Four 4th Straight U.S. Open Cup Title

The U.S. Open Cup is the longest running tournament in the United States. And if you don't follow soccer, which could possibly still be around 70% of the nation, you have no idea what that means. At any rate, the Sounders are on pace for making history when they travel to face Sporting FC in Kansas City. The Sounders have won the title for three straight years. If they do it again, they will be the only team to have won the title four years running, and will be one short of Bethlehem Steel and Maccabi Los Angeles who have each won the U.S. Open Cup five times throughout their history. The winner of the Open Cup gets automatic placement into the CONCACAF Champions League. The winner of the CONCACAF Champions League qualifies for the FIFA Club World Cup. This is pretty cool and underappreciated, just like John Jaso.

August 14th vs. Tampa Bay Rays: Community Season 3 Released On DVD

Now this show isn't for everyone, in the same sense that baseball isn't for everyone, and in the same sense that Mariners baseball isn't for anyone. But as far as pure, unadulterated comedy goes, Dan Harmon and his cast of misfit community college players make for some of the most interesting, refreshing, original situational-comedy this side of Arrested Development. In fact the show was so good that without the fans it would probably be off the air because NBC is in the business of making great decisions - and great decisions are never based off of logical thoughts.

September 2nd vs. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: Bumbershoot Day 2

Say what you will about Bumbershoot and how it never compares to any other festival in the planet and remains expensive and blah and blah and BLAH. But the second day of the long running music and arts festival in Seattle Center has Tony Bennett preforming. Tony freaking Bennett!!!! What more can you ask from in life? Oh yeah, a season were maybe we lose less than 100 games.

September 9th vs. Oakland Athletics: Seattle Seahawks Season Opener

Despite the fact that the 49ers looked pretty killer last year and the Seahawks did not, Pete Carroll and company have made some interesting off-season moves that have the potential to shake up the NFC West Division quite a bit. The 2012 Seahawks are kind of like the 2012 Mariners, only with more promise. No one is quite sure how the final product will actually look when it is on the field - but there is a strong possibility that the playoffs can be reached. No one knew what the 2012 Mariners would look like on the field, but we all knew that the playoffs were 100% out of reach. So at least that early heartbreak makes it easier to take in.

October 3rd vs. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: The pain ends

81 games later it will all be over. The pain of the 2012 season will end and we will get to look forward to wondering which high draft pick the Mariners will get. We will get to wonder how quickly the Big Three of Taijuan Walker, Danny Hultzen, and James Paxton all arrive in the big leagues together. What the signing of Mike Zuzino means for Jesus Montero's career behind the plate. What will become of Justin Smoak next year? Can we survive another entire year of Felix Hernandez trade rumors and keep him as our own and only ours?

There are a lot of questions about the Seattle Mariners that the 2012 season has so far revealed - with the big one being is this team on the right trajectory? No one said rebuilding was an easy process. But as the offense once again puts up pretty terrible numbers and the positives of the season (the surprise of Kyle Seager; Michael Saunders finally putting together a consistent performance) being weighed down by the negatives (the constant decline of Ichiro; Justin Smoak finding new rock bottoms to hit; Dustin Ackley struggling at the plate; Chone Figgins existing in uniform), the pressure is on to see whether this franchise can put something - ANYTHING - together that will keep fans in their seats.

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