One of the more rewarding things that I have always gotten from the game of baseball is a sense of community. A community that eventually turned into one big, happy family. While I do value the variety of experiences that being a baseball fan provides, that ideal of family is at the core of my experience. This week the Mariners play the last games of a once promising 2015 season. More than 6 months after the World Series predictions and the Sports Illustrated cover that had displayed a roaring Felix Hernandez and an always smooth Robinson Cano with the title screaming “It’s Time to Believe,” here we are singing the same sad song we’ve sung for the past decade. In times like these (and by times like these I mean every season and gosh darn it why can’t this team just get it together), you need people you can both celebrate and commiserate with. In normal life, those people are usually your family members. In baseball life, your family members are the people who you spend 162 games with, feeling more or less the same emotions while supporting every Mariners team that rolls out onto that field every April-September (give or take a spring training or playoff series). We continue to hold on to them, no matter how reluctantly, because you can’t give up on your family.
This past week, the Mariners welcomed a new member to their family. After the GM position was vacated for the 8th time in the club history, the Mariners hired former Angels (yuck) GM Jerry Dipoto. Dipoto was impressive in his introductory press conference, but the skepticism remains. As a hurting franchise we need someone to come in here and hold our hand and walk us past the heartbreak into a promising future. Right now Dipoto is similar to the super positive, nice but quirky member of family that everyone is hesitant to invite to the family functions (I know you have one too…. we all do). Right now, we’re hesitant to trust Dipoto’s abilities and his perspective on the Mariners future. We want to invite you to the family functions Jerry, we really do. Please do good things, please please pleaseeeee!
Through my years of being a spectator of many professional, college, and minor league affiliated sports teams I have never found the love I’ve found with the Mariners anywhere else. Baseball has allowed me to develop unbreakable bonds and relationships that I will carry for many years and beyond. All because I went to a baseball game. I have also had the opportunity to take many people to games and help them experience the love I have gotten over the years from my baseball family.
In my professional opinion (lol professional) a sports team’s “value” is often defined by their star players + the amount of wins they produce + those wins eventually leading to some type of recognizable accolade, a championship, pennant, what have you. If a fan does not go beyond the surface level of the recognizable names or the amount of public praise a team gets, it’s very easy to overlook anything else that is awarded through being a sports fan. You don’t get the chance to find that family that is waiting for you. Head to Safeco this weekend to watch the Mariners play 1, 2 or 3 of their last baseball games. There will be fireworks, some pretty cool prizes and some really good beer (helllloo oktoberfest!). We may only have a few star players and definitely not enough wins to make us champions, but the Mariners are always champions in my hearts (sorry one cliché statement per post, it’s a rule).
Thank you to the 2015 Mariners for a season of wonderful memories, but most importantly thank you for being a family that I can always count on. Happy last series of the season y’all!