The Mariners have never had a stable identity
Ever since the construction of the famed Kingdome in Seattle, the Mariners have been tossed between almost moving cities and completely demolishing the basis for their franchise. Identity is essential for the success of a baseball team, which is what the Mariners do not possess.
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The Seattle Mariners, ever since the construction of the Kingdome in 1972 and their subsequent inaugural season in 1977, have been wracked by issues regarding a lack of team identity. The beginning of the Kingdome itself was marred by controversy, especially because officials reportedly forgot to include the American flag in the opening ceremony, which caused an angry mob of people slinging mud. Additionally, "Leaks were discovered in the roof two months before the stadium even opened, and attempts at repair had only made things worse." In 1995, the future of the Mariners was in jeopardy if the team could not put together a formidable playoff performance. Fortunately, they made it to the playoffs that year and, as a result, the people of Seattle voted to construct a new stadium, moving to it in the middle of the 1999 season. The team was under-performing so badly within their first 18 seasons and the stadium was in such disrepair that they were incredibly close to moving cities. 18 seasons after their 2001 ALCS, the Mariners are again under-performing at an alarming, inconceivable rate.
Just because a team's stadium is in disrepair, the team itself is not similarly in shambles. Yes, the Mariners' stadium was not the best or most long-lasting in the league, but the Mariners were still able to find postseason success when they needed it most, and their solid foundation for the city of Seattle was established after the 1995 season. The city wanted them to succeed, and that is a true level of team success in itself, the story showing the heart and dedication that the players had for the city itself. This should not be considered a failure, but a triumph for the Mariners.
[P1] A team's success is largely based upon the sense of identity it possesses, as well as the pride a city has in the team itself. [P2] The Mariners' playoff record, as well as the instability (both physically and organizationally) they have experienced over their franchise history, denotes a certain lack of identity unmatched by any other team in the league. [P3] The Seattle Mariners are the least successful major North American sports franchise of all time.
Rejecting the premises
[Rejecting P2] The story of the Mariners is one of heart and dedication, and there is actually a plethora of identity and a solid foundation within that story. Additionally, a stadium does not determine a team's success. [Rejecting P3] The Seattle Mariners should not be discounted for these reasons.