^that is a 42 year-old Ichiro pitching. Literally nothing to do with the content of this article, but it should make everyone smile.
Well, guys. This season is officially over. There is no more hope for that winning streak that will vault the Mariners into the playoffs, not even the greatest of homeruns (thank you Nelson for your efforts) that could go back and change the scores to those 1-run games and no amount of “oh my goodness Fernando, why” that could change those blown leads. It’s been a weird season. A season of what-ifs. A season spent trying to reason why things did not go as predicted. A season that allowed us (well, most of us anyway) to reason possible scenarios with ourselves that could be “that moment”. That moment that would launch us out of mediocrity and back into hearts of sports fans across the country. As we all know, that moment did not come. It wasn’t in the cards. We played till game 162 and not an inning more-which is funny because if you’ll remember, a lot of those got played this year too.
I am 22 years old and have been a Mariners fan roughly my entire life. In that magical ‘95 season I was a little over 2-years-old, and in the equally(ish) magical 2001 season I was just 8-years-old. My point here is that there is no possible way, as hard as I may try, to vividly remember the brightest spots of the franchises’ 38-year-old history. My lone memories come solely from looking at pictures of myself or my family throughout those years, at the Dome, at Safeco. I wish I could recollect a specific memory, but the truth is that I really can’t.
I only really mention this period of time not because I want to discredit myself, but because I want to give context to a few things. One being the level of dedication it takes to stay committed to a team that has only posted 3 winning seasons in the past 10. For a commitment phobe like myself, that ain’t easy friends. However the main reason I give this context is because the majority of this city has long forgotten what it is like to have a winning baseball team, myself included. I can’t remember the roar of the Kingdome during the Edgar double nor can I remember the excitement on everyone’s faces when the house that Griffey built opened in June 1999.
What I can remember over the past decade is my uncanny ability to make the little moments matter in an attempt to outweigh the bigger picture. Ichiro eclipsing George Sisler’s single season hitting record on a cold day in 2004. The hope that came with the 2009 season after losing a club worst 101 games in 2008. In that same 2009 season welcoming back The Kid. How happy everyone was that this highly favored publicity stunt would singularly bring winning ways back to Seattle. Opening day 2011, Macklemore singing his personal dedication “My Oh My” to the late-great Dave Niehaus. The only voice Mariners baseball had ever known, who had passed away late 2010. August 15th, 2013, The King, Felix Hernandez himself pitches the first perfect game in Mariners history. It was probably 90+ degrees that day, I was in the sun the whole time and cried the biggest happy tears of my life. Two years later in 2015, almost to the day, Hishashi Iwakuma pitches the first no hitter of his career. What is it about those day games, guys? The smile on Kuma’s face that day was enough to erase the bad memories of this whole season.
The Mariners have been playing bad baseball for a very long time. Sure we have had good streaks, but not often and consistent enough. Does that mean I’m giving up on my team? Absoultey, positively no. I will be in Safeco one October night (in the near future) cheering on my boys along with 47,000 other people. It will happen. I will never lose faith for playoff baseball in Seattle. We will win a World Series. When it does happen… Well I can’t promise the specifics, but all I know is I will be somewhere in Safeco, happy crying my eyes out. Please boys, don’t make me wait too much longer.
Thank you for another season.