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The Senators Can Learn From... the Seattle Mariners?

June 30, 2020, 7:12 PM ET [1 Comments]
Michael Stuart
Ottawa Senators Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
The draft lottery, in which the Ottawa Senators were gifted the third and fifth overall selections, served as a quick distraction from the Hockey Hall of Fame announcement, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t more that needs to be said. Everyone is well aware by this point that neither Daniel Alfredsson nor the late Bryan Murray were named as inductees with this year’s class. It was a disappointment for Senators fans everywhere, as their respective cases are abundantly clear. Arguments against them built on a foundation of “it’s not the Hall of Very Good; it’s the Hall of Fame” went right out the window when Kevin Lowe was announced as a member of the Class of 2020.

So, where do the candidacies of Murray and Alfredsson go from here? The Senators could learn some lessons from the Seattle Mariners.

While there are many differences between the selection process and eligibility requirements for baseball’s Hall of Fame when compared to hockey’s, the general principle of this blog stands. Edgar Martinez was viewed by many as a controversial Hall of Fame candidate, despite anyone who spent even the tiniest bit of time watching the Mariners during his career knowing full well that he belonged. “He’s just a designated hitter,” they’d say. “The Mariners never won anything,” they’d say. It didn’t matter. Those who watched Edgar knew he was a Hall of Famer by any measure. Year by year, Edgar’s share of the Hall of Fame vote increased. As he got closer and closer to his tenth and final year of eligibility, the Mariners turned on the Public Relations machine and executed a masterful campaign to ensure his nomination. It worked. Edgar Martinez was rightfully included in the National Baseball Hall of Fame’s Class of 2019.

The Senators should be following that example to get their guys the attention and recognition they deserve. That means upping the social media presence around their cases, and not just in the days leading up to the announcement. That means actively reaching out to nomination committee members, similar to what the Mariners did when they brought Martinez to the MLB Winter Meetings to promote his case to the media. That means getting the fans involved in any way possible, like Seattle did with its #EdgarHOF campaign. Alfredsson and Murray lifted the organization to so many heights during their tenures in Ottawa; it’s time for the organization to return that favour.

Now, I’ll conclude this blog by acknowledging that there’s a documented recent history of tension between the top of the Senators’ organizational chart and Alfredsson. For the good of the player and his legacy as one of the greatest Senators in franchise history, the time for bygones to become bygones is now. A well-executed Hall of Fame campaign is a perfect way to mend fences. It presents an opportunity for the player to be recognized, while using the player’s stature to reignite the fan base around the team. It’s a win-win.

As always, thanks for reading.
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