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Confessions of a Mariners Fan

Changing the Last Ten (108-117/162)

June something changed for me. Among finishing my first quarter of post-college education, keeping up my normal two jobs, writing for another website, and trying to attend every Mariners game humanely possible… I was tired. It didn’t help that my very favorite group of baseball men seemed to mirror my  overarching fatigue for life.  While Mariners baseball is always my outlet for stress-free (hahaha) happiness and leisure, it got to the point where I was too drained to keep up with what was going on the field.

Felix was temporarily broken, the bullpen was something not to revisit and the first two months of the season that were spent crushing the nonexistent expectations given to the team out of Spring Training, seemed lost.  The trip my grandparents and I took to watch the team in Boston mid-June was wonderful, but overall, my empathetic nature toward my baseball team took a huge hit that month.

July did not carry the same stigma that June did and the lack of home games that were played at Safeco Field seemed to work out for the best. Keeping up appearances of my normally positive attitude and drive to improve everything around me had started heavily weighing on me in June, and it took awhile to shake off whatever was getting me down. I spent July trying to regain whatever passion I had lost for my baseball team, while trying not to lose sight of myself.

Once again, the Mariners seemed to mirror on the field, what I was experiencing in my own life. They stayed neutral, going .500 on the month, giving themselves enough of a chance to return to a formidable version of themselves. Things were slowly improving, Adam Lind tomahawked a game winning home run against the White Sox, Wade Miley (love you boo) flirted with a no-hitter in a game the Mariners routed the Blue Jays and George Kenneth Griffey Junior got inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

There were the less encouraging moments: the Houston series or the extra innings Sunday night game at the Cubs, where my fellow Bellarmine Prep alumnus Jon Lester walked us off on a bunt. While frustrating to lose the last game of July in a cluster of sloppy baseball, August possibilities were hanging out just around the corner. August’s schedule was top heavy with Boston, Detroit and a weekend dedicated to the man that wrote the first chapter of the book the Seattle Mariners Baseball Club.

To stay relevant, the Mariners had to make conscious, deliberate choices to retain the core of what this season has been building around. A series split with Boston was punctuated by a game that saw Robinson Cano crush a three-run home run and the first #TeamSugar save. After Boston we had the Angels, but they took second place to Ken Griffey Junior’s number retirement weekend. It was during his speech that this fan base began to cling  to a certain ideal, another story that would provide a narrative for the last bit of baseball the Mariners have left to play in 2016.

“Keep fighting because we’re all rooting for you.” 


The Mariners played a 15-inning game last Tuesday night, and I think this is where they really bought into the #KeepFighting ideal. This game felt eerily similar to some contests earlier in the year. The justified optimism of the Mariners being able to come back from a run or two, the exact feeling that had deteriorated within June and July. A 3-run Kyle Seager home run + RBI in the 15th, and a Mike Zunino sacrifice fly to score a hustling Adam Lind from third was the formula the Mariners needed to invest in themselves. The season and was far from over.

What the Mariners did in their sweep of the Angels and subsequent sweep of the Detroit Tigers embodied the sentiment behind Junior’s statement. They kept fighting and they kept winning, giving us something to believe in. After Detroit, they took 2/3 from Oakland in the depths of the cavernous hole that is the Coliseum. After that they traveled further south to Angels Stadium for the second series against the Halos in a two week span.

Last night I was lucky enough to be in Anaheim for the first game of the series against the Angels. It was a second point of realization for me, the first being the 15 inning game on Tuesday, an additive to my personal motivation to keep fighting. I watched a player someone who has also gone through some notable changes this season. Felix Hernandez, on the anniversary of his perfect game, did not do anything close to matching that feat. What he did do was pitch 6 2/3 innings, gave up four walks, two runs and struck out eight before giving the ball to the bullpen of the month.

Over a decade ago, I believe that Felix began and was the embodiment of the keep fighting mentality. In 2016, he no longer is same pitcher, but he has never once given up the mentality he had all those years ago. He never gave up, even when no one could have blamed him for giving up. For as long as I can remember, he has always been my motivation to keep fighting for this team.


The Mariners franchise has spent a lot of time attempting to make meaningful moves in order to make this city largely enjoy baseball again. Much like our personal lives have seen– there have been failures, but they have also found success. We’ve all said from the beginning of Spring Training that this team is different, and while they made some mistakes, they’ve shown resilience and a desire to follow this change through.

The last ten games the Mariners have proven to us that we should be supporting them. They will overcome the growing pains and the change that all these years have endured. They are in a playoff race in mid-August for the first time in who knows how long. Something special is happening right now, and we owe it to ourselves to love and appreciate every moment of it.

We have 45 games left. Let’s do this.

Keep Fighting. 

 

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#6 Fenway Park – Boston, MA

Last month marked the second time I had been lucky enough to travel to the East Coast to take in a game at Fenway Park, but it was the first time I was able to travel to watch the Mariners play on the road. It was a picturesque weekend in Boston, 75 and sunny all three days and a perfect weekend for baseball.

We left Friday the 17th, 9am Seattle time, to fly across the country to the sports + history mecca that is Boston, Massachusetts. We touched down in Boston Logan International right around 6, with about an hour until first pitch. My grandparents had pulled the miracles of all miracles and booked a hotel that was a quick two-block walk to the Gate-A Entrance at Fenway. Bad news was attempting to get to this hotel through regular Friday night commuter traffic and game traffic. We ended up making it (but missed the first inning!), and our hotel was the Residence Inn at Back Bay/Fenway. It’s pricey, but worth every penny. There were also a ton of Mariners fans at the hotel with us. This was the view from 8th floor Terrace Bar on our hotel:

Saturday was the big day. I finally got to watch the Mariners play in Fenway. Earlier in the day, my grandparents and I ventured out to Copley Square and the surrounding areas. Had lunch at a pizza place on Boylston called Uno. After lunch we walked back to our hotel, and got ready for the game.

Upon entering Fenway, the historical significance of the place almost slaps you in the face. The old red chairs, the pesky pole, the smallness of a ballpark built before any type of modern design was thought of. When it came to the variety of food/beverage options, Fenway seemed pretty limited. Outside of the park we went to Cask ‘n Flagon and Boston Beer Works, both came recommended from many people we had spoken to in the area.

Thanks to my apparent lack of knowledge about the stadium, I almost picked seats that were behind the pesky pole. We lucked out and got to sit a few rows down that did not cause that much of restricted view:

Adrian Sampson made his first and only complete start of the season in place of the injured Wade Miley a.k.a when the starting pitching wheels started to fall off and roll right down from the steepest hill in Seattle. Sampson did okay enough in this start, giving up four runs to a very offensively inclined Boston lineup. MiMo came on in relief and gave up two runs of his own, and the Mariners ended up losing 6-2. However I did see a Adam Lind home run, which is always a treat.

I also got on TV, so not all was lost.

 


Aside from Seattle, Boston might be my favorite city in America. There are a ton of similarities between the two cities, and if I had to move, I would pack my bags and head straight to beantown. I did get to see more historical things (via tours/exploring) this trip, but of course the main focus was baseball. Boston did not disappoint.

Go Mariners.

Remembering the Moment (44-53/162)

Work, school, taking care of a family or perhaps a very good baseball dog, can consume a person’s life to the point where you can forget to appreciate the “wow” moments that are happening right in front of you. I just had one of those weeks.

Since I last had a moment to write, the Mariners were coming off another successful road trip against the Orioles and the Reds, and getting ready to start a 8-game homestand against the Oakland Athletics, the Minnesota Twins and the San Diego Padres. Aside from a pesky good outing from Rich Hill the first game of the Oakland series, the Mariners ended up taking 2/3 from the Athletics. Which brings me to:

Moment #1: The Leonys Martin walk-off to win the rubber match against the Oakland Athletics.

Next up was the Minnesota Twins series. There was not many moments in that series that are worth repeating, especially not the emotionally draining amount of negative online constituents that forced me to unfollow them on Twitter. We’ll just move on to the 2-game series against the San Diego Padres. On Memorial Day, thanks to some help from Kyle Seager and Dae-Ho Lee home runs, the Mariners ended up winning 9-3. However, the best moment of this contest came before the first official pitch was thrown:

Moment #2: Among the many things that I love about the Seattle Mariners, one of my favorites is their connection to the community. A lot of people have roots in some branch of the military, including myself, so it was cool to see this. Plus, the guy hustles.  

Game two was quite the affair, and seemed to erase whatever sour taste getting swept by the Twins left. Hishashi Iwakuma kept the Mariners in the game and the offense did the rest, scoring 16 runs on 14 hits. Kyle Seager continued extended his phenomenal May numbers by going 3-4 with 4 RBI. Seth Smith continued some solid play, adding 4 RBI of his own. Similar to the day before, the most genuine thing to come out of this win was the appreciation and love for Edgar Martinez.

Moment #3: I’m not crying. You’re crying.

Wednesday the Mariners headed to San Diego to play another 2-game series. Game one was rough, but despite losing 14-6, did not seem to discourage most people. It was just one game, one loss in the midst of the chaos that is a Major League Baseball season. Then came Game #2.

There are no real words to describe what happened inside the confines of Petco Park last night. No words could really encapsulate the roller coaster of emotions. Wade Miley was the most recent Mariners pitcher to struggle this turn. After 5 innings, the Mariners were down 12-2 and it would have been reasonable to think that scoring was done for the evening… If this were 2015. However it’s not 2016, and the Mariners can win and they can do it in different ways.

The Seattle Mariners of 2016, who currently have a wRC+ of 117, who have more home runs than every time in the entirety of MLB, and the same ones who rank in the top 10 of most offensive categories, would not lose this game. They would come roaring back to score 9 runs in two innings and they would beat the San Diego Padres 16-13. There has never been a comeback of bigger proportions in Mariners history.

I’ll let the voices of Dave Sims and Aaron Goldsmith tell last night’s story for you, it’s a good one.

Moment 4: No longer the impossible


Since the start of the 2016 baseball season, the Mariners have done their share to provide a lot “wow” moments to remember. Dae-Ho’s walk-off home run that saved the last game of a win-less first home series, the crazy Ketel/Robbie double-play against the Angels or Leonys Martin crashing into the center field wall to preserve a 1-0 win against the Royals. Admittedly there’s a lot to chose from, but last night may have topped them all.

In a busy life, it’s hard to take time to appreciate the amazing things that happen each day. While not every game is going to end like last night’s contest, the Mariners are going to continue to do a lot of things that will make us realize how lucky we are as fans. Make sure you don’t miss them.

Let’s handle business in Texas, boys.

Go Mariners.

On the Road Again (38-43/162)

In case you have not heard, the Seattle Mariners have a phenomenal road record. Before completing this most recent road trip, the Mariners had won all of their road series (5), save for a spilt in Houston. Finishing this road trip, the Mariners have now won seven road series. The last time they have won more than seven road series was 2000-’01, in which they won 28.

Seattle Mariners at the Baltimore Orioles – The Conquered 

Game 1: Wade Miley v. Ubaldo Jimenez

We were fresh off getting swept by the the Angels and were looking to gain some confidence back. The Orioles were sporting the the best record in the AL. The 2016 Seattle Mariners promptly dismantled any doubts or disbeliefs that had been formulated with this 10-0 rout of the Orioles. A trend of Mariners hitters knocking a starting pitcher out of the game before completing the 6th inning, continued with Ubaldo Jimenez. Out of the Mariners 10 runs, he was responsible for 7 of them. Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz and Kyle Seager were responsible for bringing in all of those runs.

Final Score: Mariners 10- Orioles 0

Game 2: Taijuan Walker v. Chris Tillman

Matt Weiters had a three-hit night, including a back-to-back home runs with Mark Trumbo. Tai gave up four runs, three earned. Chris Tillman, the most consistent Orioles opening day starter since Mike Mussina, was strong against the Mariners. He pitched six innings and 1/3 innings, his sixth quality start in a row. He did surrender two runs, a home run by Leonys Martin and a sacrifice fly by Chris Iannetta.

Final Score: Mariners 2- Orioles 5

Game 3: Nathan Karns v. Tyler Wilson 

Nelson Cruz again starting scoring in this game, seeing as hit is quite fond of hitting in Baltimore. The Orioles did get that run back on a Pedro Alvarez double in their half of the second inning. They would not score again until a terrifying moment in the 8th when Joaquin Benoit loads the bases, and only gave up a groundout RBI to Adam Jones before retiring the side.

In addition to another consistent outing by Nathan Karns, the Mariners offense was once again the story in this game. After Nellie’s run-scoring single, Seth Smith made the game 2-1 on a single of his own in the 5th. One inning later, Adam Lind popped a fly ball over the left field wall for a three-run home run. After the aforementioned Joaquin Benoit return to the rotation, the score was 5-2 going into the eighth. But by the grace of the baseball gods and all that is new power-hitting Leonys Martin, the Mariners took some stress off the game with 2-run home run to center field. Steve Cishek came in and pitched a shut down ninth inning to secure the win.

Final Score: Mariners 7 – Orioles 2

Seattle Mariners at the Cincinnati Reds – The Vanquished 

Game 1: Hisashi Iwakuma v. Dan Straily 

After a 45-min rain delay, the 1st game against the last place of everything Cincinnati Reds  started. Kuma did not look sharp early, giving up three runs in four innings. He held on through six to earn the win, not giving up a run after the 4th inning and striking out six.

The player of this game was the Cincinnati bullpen. It was no secret that this bullpen was the worst in MLB coming into this game, and because the Mariners were only able to get one run off starter Dan Straily, the bullpen was a welcome sigh of relief. Going into the 7th inning, the score was 3-1 in favor of the Reds. This team had none of your doubts or disbeliefs, they started to chip at the lead and they never looked back. Seth Smith, Robinson Cano, Dae-Ho Lee, Ketel Marte, Nelson Cruz and Dae-Ho Lee again all contributed to the run parade.

#MOOD

Final score: Mariners 8- Reds 3

Game 2: Felix Hernandez v. John Lamb 

Twas “Dual Griffey Bobblehead” Day, but more importantly it was Felix day and the Mariners were out to win their 7th consecutive road series. Win they did. Aside from some cringeworthy moments in the 3rd and 5th innings where Felix loaded the bases for Joey Votto, but then got Joey Votto out both times, he looked like vintage Felix. He finished 6 innings pitched with 0 runs, 3 walks and 4 hits allowed.

The Mariners offense helped Felix out this game, scoring four runs off Reds starter John Lamb. Leonys Martin again came through with a solo home run in the second, but the real muscle for today’s game came from the beautiful Franklin Gutierrez:

In the words of Manny Acta, “Oh Guti you so fine.”

Final score: Mariners 4- Reds 0

Game 3: Wade Miley v. Alfredo Simon

This game started with Wade Miley loading the bases in the first inning, and in the process   gave up three runs. The Mariners were playing from behind for the second time this series, but for some reason, that was not scary at all.

Of all people to get the Mariners offense going, it was none other than Wade Miley. He started off the third inning with a lead off single, which is promptly followed by a single from Leonys Martin. Norichika Aoki grounds out to shortstop Zack Kozart, who forces Martin out at second and advances Miley to third. With Mr. “MLB leading RBI leader” himself at the plate, Miley scores easily on a single. One wild pitch by Pasta later, Norichika advances to second and is brought home on a Nelson Cruz groundout.

Miley gave back a run in the top of the fourth on a home run by Adam Duvall, but that was the last run that any Mariners pitcher would surrender for the rest of the game. The next inning, Lenoys Martin (sound familiar) hustled out a bunt single that was originally called out. After him, Norichika singles on a ball that was deflected off of 1st baseman Joey Votto’s glove, Leonys Martin gets to third and if brought home on a Robinson Cano sac fly. Nelson Cruz puts a notch in his OBP with a walk. Kyle Seager ties the game with a single that scores Norichika. Adam Lind gets intentionally (???) walked to bring up Steve Clevenger. Clevenger always seems to be the unlikeliest of heros, but once again he excited all of the PNW with the (eventual) game winning single that scored Nelson Cruz.

Final Score: Mariners 5- Reds 4


A few last notes before the Mariners come home to face the Oakland Athletics tomorrow night at Safeco Field:

  1. 5-1 on this road trip
  2. Leonys Martin has a .133 wRC+ in the month of May, and has hit 8 home runs on the season (tying a career high)
  3. +48 run differential (2nd in the AL to Boston)
  4. MLB high 18 road wins
  5. Won 9 of 11 series (4 out of the last 5)
  6. The Seattle Mariners offense is in the top 10 of these categories: BB%, K%, K/9, and BB/9. C the Z.
  7. 26-17 and 1st place in the AL West
  8. Currently: Screen Shot 2016-05-22 at 5.19.28 PM

Go Mariners. 

 

Mariners Players as Simpson Characters

It’s May 18th. The Mariners are a full game ahead of the Texas Rangers in the AL West (thank you Khris Davis). There is a lot to be excited about, but what could be more exciting than a mid-week comparison of our favorite Seattle Mariners Baseball Club/organization to Simpson characters? That’s right loves, nothing is better.

Per a highly productive conversation with Mariners Twitter last night, I give you the 2016 Seattle Mariners (plus a few extra), Simpson edition:

All words written are mine (except for the Mendoza anecdote, Thank you Joe), but all of the comparisons were given to me from the beautifully talented minds of Twitter. H/t to @whoisjoserivera, @1nceagain2zelda, @JoeVeyera, @matthiasellis, @Moose_Bigelow, @Leonard_Su, @jtsweezo, @TheDeeJenks and whoever else I missed through thinking through this idea with me.

Jerry Dipoto as Hank Scorpio: Jerry Dipoto has proved himself to be a sorcerer of some sorts, using his power to “rule the world, and his employees’ health”.  He is the ultimate leader, always putting the Mariners first, but also has the desire to destroy all the people who did not believe in him in process (Angels we’ll get to you later). THE SMILES!

Manny Acta as Bumblebee Man: Our charming, multi-talented third base coach. The comparison between the two probably end at the fact they both speak Spanish, as Manny is not clumsy and changes his clothes far more often than Bumblebee Man, but I had to include the team’s most prolific social media connoisseur. Bumblebee’s “Aye aye no buneo” could probably equal Manny Acta telling runners at third, “Aye aye no running if you’re not Ketel.”

Dave Sims as Dr. Hibbert: Funny, naturally good-hearted guys. They both have a tendency to laugh in situations that do not necessarily warrant a laugh, or come up with questionable responses to things. In short, “A-heh-heh-heh” = “Giddy up! Baby! Giddy up!”

Felix Hernandez as Bart Simpson: There is nothing quite like like our fearless leader. With his boyish antics and ability to get out of (most) trouble he faces, it is hard not to draw the comparison between these two. Look, they even have the same hair!

Nathan Karns as Lisa Simpson (purely personality comparison): Like Lisa, Nathan is kind of like the middle child of the rotation. Kind of forgotten about until he does something good. Lisa is smart and reserved, always perfecting her craft and always the one to save the day when no one expected it. Nathan was the surprise no one dreamed of, and is always the calming and rational voice at the end of the rotation.

Robinson Cano as Bartman: Bartman is the alter ego of Bart Simpson. Bartman is out to find Andy Van Slyke the man with the snake tattoo, and avenge his parents’ death. Bartman’s talents include climbing walls and gliding. Cano’s talents include stalwart defense, bubblegum popping and… gliding. Bartman is the cape-wearing, jewel-saving superhero of Gotham. Cano has been our own cape-wearing superhero of Safeco this year. Plus they are both really rich.

Nelson Cruz as McBain: Nelson Cruz is currently slashing .281/.379/.511, so it is safe to say that he has conquered the… MEEENNDOOOZZZAA. They are both also known for their philanthropic efforts, and for helping children. Also, very large muscles.

Joel Perlata as Dr. Nick: Wants to be good in theory, but no so much in practice. Dr. Nick and Joel are both of a Hispanic descent. Both have questionable credentials, but there *is* still a reason they’re both still around.

Wade Miley as Nelson Muntz: Nelson the character is often the antagonistic bully of the Simpsons crew. Like Nelson, Miley is the shortest bully of the bunch, but no one can stand up to him. Wade takes down pitch counts like Nelson takes Bart’s lunch money. It also could just be the hair?

Leonys Martin and Dae-Ho Lee as Lenny and Carl: Our beautifully diverse baseball friendship. Lenny and Carl are not the likeliest of friends, but they balance each other out. Although their post home-run handshakes probably have nothing on Leonys and Dae-Ho’s. Side note: Leonys and Lenny? Too easy.

Steve Cishek as Ned Flanders: They are both quirky, funny and godly men who love their families. Both Steve and Ned aim to do all right in the world. We may get upset if Cishek has a bad outing, but in the end we cannot stay mad at him. They are both of most pure of hearts, and they both have a side that is willing to accept Thousand Foot Krutch. Diddly-DANGERUPINTHISCLUBBBB!

Nori Aoki as Hans Moleman: They are both known for having extremely bad luck or extremely good luck (nothing in between), both are short, both *probably* run questionable defensive routes. Nonetheless, we love our Norichika.

Chris Iannetta as Superintendent Chalmers: “SKINNNNNER, if you wanna be a man, get a (expletive) out!” – Chalmers to Principle Skinner, probably.

Seth Smith as Principle Skinner: I have no words, other than Thank you Jose and Love you Dad.

Andy Van Slyke as Grimes: Grimes was probably the most annoying character on the show, he was not always present, but always giving his two cents when it was not warranted. Sound like someone we know? Ask yourself, is there really a difference? — “I can’t stand it any longer. This whole planet in insane. Insane, I tell you!” Andy Van Slyke to the Mariners current standings, probably.

The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim as the Unibrow Baby: Gerald Samson was a baby left at a discount store in Springfield. Gerald is often viewed as Maggie Simpson’s rival, much like the Mariners are the Angels’ AL West rival. Now I’m not saying the Angels are a lesser version of the Mariners, but Jerry is working out just fine in Seattle.

There were so many other fun comparisons that were mentioned, but I could not possibly list them all. Feel free to leave suggestions in the comments!

Thanks for reading, and as always go Mariners.

 

 

 

Believing in Something, PT II

The end of the last Mariners home stand ended on a down note, being swept by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. They lost two games in the 9th inning and dropped the last game due to a familiar performance of absent offense behind Felix Hernandez. After sneakily creeping to the top of the AL West standings, the Mariners were quietly impressing a whole barrage of people, drawing over 110,000 people to Safeco over the past weekend. The weather was amazing and people were ready to see what was going on with their local baseball team.

To the credit of every person that went to Safeco this weekend, the crowd was in full force. All three days, the seats were full and (mostly) remained full until the final pitch was recorded. When Steve Clevenger hit an RBI single in the 8th inning of Sarturday’s game, giving the Mariners a 8-7 lead, the level of engagement from the crowd was exciting and genuine. When was the last time there was that much investment in this team? In mid-May?

For years, I think there has been such a large population of people not willing to let themselves become apart of this fan base. Fear of losing, fear of fruitless trips to the ballpark and fear of standing up the public and saying “I’m a Mariners fan and proud of it.” Feelings to this level of angst and apprehension are not erased after a month of good baseball. That much is evident. However those types of crowds give me hope that the page is finally close to turning. People are loving the Mariners again.

I have a well documented history of not being able to draw a line between reasonable expectations and overly invested emotion in my favorite baseball team. I’m unapologetically apart of the 20% of people who consistently defend this team with every ounce of their being. So a lot of the time I take jabs and snide comments about this team very personally. This completely to my own fault, but when I love, I love hard. I don’t like things/people I love being talked down to, and I fight for these things fiercely.

Over the past few weeks, coworkers would proudly shout the final winnings scores from the night before at me, stop in and make polite small talk about that Robbie guy who was crushing it, or they would simply say “first place, huh?” with a smile and thumbs up in my direction. Yesterday when I walked into work, it was a different story. There was no polite chit chat or thumbs up. What there was, was a resigned, familiar nature of disbelief.

“The Mariners took one to chin, huh Cydnie? They got spanked.” To which I responded, “two hard fought losses and a tired offense on the third day does not mean we got spanked.” The response to that was “don’t be in denial honey, it’s a just a thing they do.” I was so shocked that I had nothing to say to this person, leaving them with a smug look of satisfaction that all but screamed “same old Mariners.” One person in one office building in Seattle is a very small (and hopefully) inaccurate sample size, but it was enough for me to start thinking about what the general fan attitudes were after this weekend.

Being a Mariners fan is a tricky thing. You caution yourself from being boastful when the team wins consistently, for the fear that winning will not be substantiated in the later part of the season. We have developed a mentality that constantly reminds us that eventually the other shoe is always waiting to drop. I wrote last week that this team was different, and I stand by that. However a large part of the different feeling that this year has created, will only remain with constant support from fans. I’m not saying this is the only thing that will help this team succeed, but it sure helps. So I could only wish that most of you do not share the same attitude as my coworker, but you revel in the good feelings of everyone who was apart of that eighth inning on Saturday. The Mariners already believe in each other, so why can’t everyone else believe in them?

The Mariners start a three-game series against a very good Baltimore Orioles team this afternoon. I would venture to say that all the extra support you’ve got to give would be much appreciated as they take on Mark Trumbo and Co. It will be a great series to watch unfold.

P.S We’re in first place again.

Screen Shot 2016-05-17 at 9.32.52 AM
Go Mariners.

Believing in Something

I would always get asked, “Why do you love the Mariners so much?”  To which I would usually respond, “The Mariners have never let me down.” 

On purely surface level, that might seem like an odd statement. What do you mean the Mariners never let you down? They’ve been letting you down your whole life. If you are qualifying that statement based on the Mariners playing record over the years, I guess I can see how that would ring true. However, the reason the Mariners have never let me down is because my relationship with the game of baseball has always gone beyond the game itself.

Now allow me to explain a little bit about myself. For a very, very long time in my life I struggled to find a place where I actually felt like I belonged. It was never the question of finding someone to talk with or share ideas, I could always get along with a variety of backgrounds. However the title of a people pleaser always got thrown around in conjunction with my name. I was never anyone’s last perfect puzzle piece, merely around when tolerated. I struggled with that for a very long time, in all walks of life, school, sports teams, friends, family, relationships, etc. Everywhere except for baseball. Baseball, and more importantly the Seattle Mariners, is where I knew I could always find a certain peace. Cliché level-100 as that may sound.

Since I understood the game and could function within the Mariners family, I knew I’d find someone or something that could constantly reflect my feelings. Baseball was just different. Good or bad, the Mariners were always there, late February-September (with a couple games in October if we were lucky). Regardless of how unsure the rest of life might have been, hits, fly balls, home runs, box scores and even strike outs were always something I could understand. Things that would never change.

As I’ve grown older throughout the years, my love for baseball, which began as a simple escape, has become a corner stone that shapes my life. I schedule work and other activities around it. I revel in the conversations that are cultivated and the genuine friendships I have forged because of it. I can always tune out whatever has happened throughout the day, watch a ball game and know that my feelings about this game and what it means to me could never change. No matter what the Mariners did on a given night, I could count on them to always be there. I never had to question if they were the right decision. The Mariners have never let me down. 

Why did I just spend 5-minutes of your life telling you my feelings, you ask? Well I’ll tell you why. This season, as many may know, feels different from the seasons of recent past. More people are becoming invested into the Seattle Mariners. We have won 7 of our last 8 series (only splitting a four game set in Houston), our second baseman has become everything we ever wanted, and despite our bullpen stockpile of guys that made you go “wait, who?” all off-season, we are standing our ground. We are now creeping dangerously past “it’s too early” onto “we are actually playing some real baseball and gosh darn it these boys may be good.” This is a very good place to be.

Cydnie. Get. To. The. Point. Oh yeah, sorry. What I’m really here to say is that the 2016 season of Seattle Mariners Baseball feels oddly close to the affinity that I formed for the team in the first few formidable years that I became a baseball fan. A sense of undoubtable inclusion that only comes with appreciation and love. It’s no surprise that team chemistry is an age-old secret ingredient for any group attempting to function as a cohesive unit. However, that element seemed to be missing from years past. The teams in the past years did not play like a family. They played like a group of semi-familiar, friend of a friend, strangers who didn’t know what their purpose was.

This is why I think this team is special. Why I think this year is different. Not necessarily because they are winning, although it does help, it is because everyone is playing for one another.  If you look at the Mariners 25-man roster, you don’t see a crop of former top-100 prospects or superstars that were attracted to team with a rich history of winning. For the large part, the men you see on this season’s team were carefully chosen and crafted to fit a specific vision. A vision that has *so far* worked out in our favor.

Whether it be a team leader firing up the team to come back from being down 8-4 to winning 8-9, the new lovable guy from Korea buying the entire team custom sunglasses or the wonderfully weird center fielder that really likes his ice cream… This team is different. Much like I needed something or someone to accept me all those years ago, this team is doing that for each other. They believe and accept each other and because they believe, the fans believe. Funny how that works out.

My experiences may certainly not be unique.  I’m positive many people have been rescued by their love of baseball. A love that I hope grows with this special team we have. This season is different, and I want it to remain unlike the other seasons in the past. And even if this this success comes crashing down tomorrow, thank you Mariners, for never letting me down.

Happy off day everyone, spend it doing fun stuff with people you love.

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Go Mariners.

 

 

The Happiest of Felix Days (32/162)

Last night was a very good baseball night in Seattle. There were about 15,000 people in attendance at Safeco Field, but the general happiness and positive vibes in the place made it feel like a few thousand more. Coming home from a 5-2 road trip, there was a joyous buzz surrounding the team and their winning ways.

Monday night games do not usually generate a ton of excitement, but this Monday’s game was special for a myriad of reasons:

1. Crowd favorites Brad Miller and Logan Morrison returned for the first time since being traded this winter. Shout out to the music/creative team for being a class act and playing John Sebastian’s “Welcome Back” during Brad and LoMo’s first at bats. There is no hard feelings toward them, but I’m going to say I was not too terribly upset to see them do this last night:

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As my friends and I said last night, “we like them, but we also want them to strikeout multiple times.”

2. Felix Hernandez is the winningest pitcher in Mariners history with 146 wins, passing Jaime Moyer. In a night where Felix may have worried us just a bit, he yet again, found a way to keep the game manageable. From the beginning, it looked like a prototypical offense behind a Felix start. The Mariners started the game 0-4 with RISP, leaving men on 2nd and 3rd in consecutive innings, before a third inning Nelson Cruz sacrifice fly scored Ketel Marte from third.  The only runs that Felix allowed were home runs to Corey Dickson (?????)  and Evan Longoria (less weird) before exiting with a 5-3 lead at the end of the seventh. He would earn the win thanks to Ketel Marte’s productive night. Felix now sits atop the Mariners pitching leader boards in overall wins and strikeouts.

I have seen Felix do a lot of amazing things over the course of his career. Some of the bigger milestones include: his otherworldly performances in 2009 & 2014, 2010 when he won the CY Young with a 13-12 record, the Perfect Game, the first Supreme Court 5 days later, the 1,000th strikeout in Boston, the 2,000th strikeout against against the Athletics at home in 2015 and last week when he surpassed Randy Johnson for all-time Mariners strikeout leader. He is truly amazing. Even in his ever looming (bad word) decline, he will be always special and he always be ours. We love you, Felix.

3. Ketel Marte. Even though Monday night had a large precedent for Felix, a certain Marte Partay stole the show. You could tell Ketel was fired up all night, excited and clapping every time he got on base. Marte went 4-5, the first 4-hit game in his young career, including the nothing cheap about it 3-run home run to right center field. In the words of Dave Sims (I watched the broadcast when I got home), “no he didn’t”. That home run would turn out to be the game winner, as Felix, Joel Peralta and Steve Cishek shut down the 7th, 8th and 9th innings. Way to Partay, Ketel, way to Partay.

4. The first place Seattle Mariners.  Coming into this game the Mariners only had a .5 lead over the Texas Rangers (which is nothing to even slightly upset about), but undoubtedly building on that lead would be of the most optimal situation. Since the Rangers has lost earlier in the evening, on a Todd Fraizer grand slam in the 12th inning, the Mariners would have be okay either way. However these 2016 Mariners have taken a liking to winning, and win they did. Beating the Rays 5-3 on Monday night gave the Mariners a 1.5 game lead and the West.

Ain’t she a beaut:

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Go Mariners.

Robinson Cano Named AL Player of the Week

Hello friends, happy Monday! The Mariners return home today after a successful 5-2 road trip. Tonight they will start a three game series against LoMo, Brad Miller, Erasmo and the Tampa Bay Rays. Felix Hernandez will go for the all-time win record for a Mariners starting pitcher, and it will glorious.

First, some great news to share. Robinson Cano deservedly earned AL Player of the Week honors. In the past week his triple slash line is an astounding .516/.516/1.000 with 4 home runs and a crazy 1.516 OPS. One Houston series later, Robinson leads the AL in home runs with 12. This is the first time he has won the honor since July 1st, 2012 with the Yankees. He has been electrifying to watch. With the way he has been playing, this will not be the first award he earns this season (2016 AL MVP). Here is the announcement from Mariners PR:

Good job, Robbie *Lloyd Mcclendon voice*.

Go Mariners.

 

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