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Confessions of a Mariners Fan

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EDITORIALS/ANALYSIS

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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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.

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.

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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.

05122016

Go Mariners.

 

 

If This is the Beginning, PT II (28/162)

I keep waiting for something to go horribly wrong. I wait anxiously for the moment that the baseball gods throw a big, fat middle finger to Seattle yet again. This team? How they’re playing? It is just almost too good. Many people who know me (or at least read what I write), know that I came into full Mariner fandom right around the end of the last era of justifiably “good” Mariners baseball. Even factoring in my age, I am well versed in the stories of the past. The stories of ’95 and ’01, the stories of Junior, Edgar, Moyer, Johnson and Buhner. These stories have been told time and time again, in an effort to placate fans of  present, to remind them why they started believing all those years ago. They are the stories that many people tell their children, to try and forge a love that could not be rationalized based on the current state of the franchise…. At least, before right now.

That statement above many seem very silly to say with only 20% of the season complete, but I’ve heard online rumblings of this team playing very similar to the Mariners of 21 years ago. “Refuse to Lose,” was name and winning was the game. These 2016 Mariners are playing extremely fun baseball. Everyone is contributing, from the top of the order down, every guy is playing for the guy next to him. Baseball is not always fun. When it is, and when everything is clicking, it is an unquestionably good feeling.


Yesterday when the heartbeat of this team, Felix Hernandez, got knocked out after 4 innings, Nelson Cruz screamed in that dugout “We got this. We are going to win.” You cannot tell me that this team does not believe in each other. They want to be better than the past, and give the fans reason to believe in them again. Show me someone who does not believe this team is different, then I’ll show you a liar… or an Angels fan. Usually it’s one in the same.

Today, the Mariners very well could have lost the first game of this series against the Houston Astros. Jose Altuve continued to torment Wade Miley with a first inning home run. Robinson Cano singled in a run in the 3rd to even the score. Evan Gattis singled home a run in the 6th. Seth Smith singled home two runs in the 7th (his first hit against a lefty this year). In the top of the 7th, Jose Altuve hit a 420-ft double (because center field hill), and brought in the tying run. For many years, a tied game going into the late innings of a game was usually felt fairly disheartening. However today, or really any game over the last couple weeks, did not feel like that.

In the ninth,  Leonys Martin hit a 1-out single and Norichika followed that up with a walk. There were two men on, 1-out and a very good and hot hitting Robinson Cano was up. He took the first pitch for a ball. The second pitch he saw, he did this:

Three. Run. Double. 6-3 Mariners. Steve Cishek came in closed the game in the bottom of the ninth, and the Mariners had their first 4-game winning streak since September 1st of last year. The Mariners have now won 6 of their last 7 games and are 8-2 in their last 10 games. They have a +32 run differential, a number that leads the American League. After 28 games in 2015, the Mariners were 11-17. After today’s game, they sit at 17-11, first place in the AL West by 2.5 games. Positive numbers don’t always translate to a positive overall performance on the field, but these numbers sure are fun to look at.

As mentioned earlier, it may be too early to assume that the 2016 Mariners can merit the same type of gritty success that the 1995 Mariners coined. However if it is the beginning… I know that we’ll be ready for it. I know that the fans have held on for the last 15 years will rewarded for their loyalty, and new fans with be birthed in the midst of the good fortune. If this is the beginning, we will be ready. Yes, the players deserve it, but the fans deserve it more.

Go Mariners.


P.S:

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Mariners do the Thing, in 1st Place (26/162)

As I write this the Seattle Mariners have once again found themselves holding first place in the American League West. It is a good feeling, it is a great feeling. Let’s all celebrate! This win marks the Mariners SIXTH consecutive winning series. Baseball is fun right now.


A month ago, the Mariners got swept at home by the Oakland Athletics in the first home stand of the year.  Their bats could not string hits together against the likes of starting pitchers Eric Surkamp, Rich Hill and Chris Bassitt. Yesterday, they hustled out a 4-3 win against Kendall Graveman. Today, the Mariners absolutely lit into Oakland’s prize possession, Sonny Gray.

Scoring got started in the third inning with a two-run home run by a slumping Leonys Martin. In 2015, Leonys Martin hit a total of five home runs. He now has five home runs in 2016. Shortly after in the fourth inning Robinson Cano went opposite field for a solo home run. Norichika added a run on a single in the 7th, Ketel Marte scored on the play. Five straight hits in the eighth was punctuated by a Leonys Martin bunt single, RBI pop up “single” by Adam Lind and a three-run home run by Kyle Seager. Kyle’s home run brought the score to 8-1, Mariners.

Hisashi Iwakuma’s valiant pitching efforts are not something that should not be lost in the excitement of the offensive fireworks. Tonight, Kuma bear earned his first win of the season. He did it by pitching out of a bases loaded jam in the 2nd inning, pitching seven strong innings and allowing a single run. He had only 88-pitches, 56 for strikes. Kuma added to a positive trend by Mariners starting pitching:

There are no words that can fully capture the excellence of this double play:

Just, wow.

Oakland got their first run off a Jed Lowire single in the 6th. After reliever Tony Zych got put on the 15-day DL this morning, Steve Johnson was called up from Tacoma. He made his debut in the 9th inning of today’s game, and gave up a solo shot to Khris Davis.

Final Score: Mariners 8- Athletics 2 


We want to able to pinpoint what is different this year.  What makes 2016 feel just so much better than seasons’  past. As humans, our curious nature wants to delve into the numbers, watch the footage and try and to figure out where the change happened. It’s hard to just accept the good feelings, but that is what we should do.

About a week ago, the first time the Mariners had a little taste of what first place felt like, I tried to air on the side of cautious optimism. After years of cemented dread, it seemed silly to put too much faith into one month of playing. It still feels a little bit like that, but little by little, series win by series win, the dream of being “good” again starts to grow tangible.

It may be too early to make the assumption that we have turned a proverbial corner. However, there is no better feeling than watching my favorite baseball team enjoy playing the game together. The Mariners are playing incredibly confident baseball right now. Sit back and enjoy the fun with them. We’re in first place, y’all.

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Let’s get this sweep tomorrow, boys.

Go Mariners.

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First Place (19/162)

In case you have not heard, on April 25th, 2016, the Seattle Mariners became the division leaders of the AL West. This may be premature excitement. “It’s juussst April”, they say. “It’s the Mariners, don’t get too excited”.  Well, you know what? I’m going to be excited all day long. I will revel in the fact that on April 25th, 2015 the Mariners were 7-10, and they were on their way to losing the series to the Minnesota Twins. Until 7:10 pm tonight I will proudly shout from every rooftop, that my team is atop a division that they have not lead this late in the season, in the last seven years.


I’m already late to rehashing the events of last night’s good Mariner baseball game party, so I’ll go ahead with my favorite narratives of the night:

Taijuan Walker: The moment I walked into my office this morning, a coworker approached me and said  “I’m not really excited about first place (yet), what I’m really excited about is Taijuan”. There is a lot of truth to what my coworker said. While first place is of course something that evokes happy feelings, should we be happier that Taijuan Walker seemingly grew up into the ideal of the pitcher that has been projected on him for years, right before our eyes last night?

His curve was beautiful, his splitter was working on a whole other level and even well after 110 pitches, his fast ball was still touching 97 MPH. Aside from the 2nd inning, he dazzled all night. Just look at these numbers from BrooksBaseball:

Tai42516.PNG

100 Club: Two of our guys reached historical milestones last night. In the 4th inning, Kyle Seager hit his 100th career home run. This home run came just a day after he hit home run #99 off Angels’ Matt Shoemaker, and Kyle absolutely crushed it.

Closer Steve Cishek also notched save #100 of his career. He stressed the living bejesus out of every last one of 14, 832  in attendance, giving up a single, walk, single before pocket Altuve grounded out to end the inning. He is now 5/5 in save opportunities with the Mariners this season.

Defense: Last night’s Mariner defense made my tender baseball heart flutter. We did it with an authoritative confidence that made our play seem easy and fluid. One of my favorite #CatcherWhoRakes, also had a fine defensive play  (Iannetta throws out Gomez) in the ninth inning. With two runners on, two outs and lead to protect, Kyle Seager makes an incredible defensive play to throw out Carlos Correa at first:

Can’t forget about Leonys: While there were many other fine things about this game, one of the best things was this picture of Leonys Martin after he hit a game tying home run in the 3rd:

He was so  happy, we were all happy. I love baseball. I love everyone.


 

For the first time in recent history, the Mariners flag will fly first today at Safeco Field . Even if it’s only for this one night (oh please oh please let it be all the nights), it is a welcome sight. See everyone at the game tonight.

Go Mariners.

(18/162)

The Seattle Mariners won their third series in a row against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim yesetrday, concluding a 6-3 road trip. There was a lot of good things that happened over the last three series, including a 42-28 positive run differential against our opponents, that has me excited for the boys to return to Safeco today.

Today’s game featured a 32-minute 1st inning, in which the Angels and Mariners scored a total of 7 combined runs. The first inning for the Mariners saw a whole lot of good things. Norichika started things off with a lead off walk. Seth Smith got his first hit of the day, on a single to left field. Robinson Cano flies out to advance the runners, and Nelson Cruz scores Norichika on a single + error to off season defensive acquisition, shortstop Andrelton Simmons.

Kyle Seager was up next and lets just say I’m pretty pleased with of myself for what happened next:

That’s right folks, Kyle Seager hit his second career home run against Matt Shoemaker and made the score a very satisfying 4-0 lead. Once Leonys Martin strikeouts to end the inning, the ball is turned over to Wade Miley. Miley was coming off his worst start of the young season in Cleveland, so this start was important to build confidence and momentum. Miley gets the first two batters out before allowing a single to Mike Trout and a 2-run home run to Albert Pujols (breaking an 0-26). Kole Calhoun then walks and is doubled home by Geovany Soto. Thankfully that was the last run he would give up until an 8th inning home run to Yunel Escobar. Even with the home run in the 8th, Miley remained fairly dialed in after the first inning:

Mariners offense was homer happy Sunday afternoon, seeing 2-run dingers from both Leonys Martin

and Seth Smith:

That last home run put the icing on the cake of a wonderfully productive road trip, and the Mariners win the game 9-4. One could only hope that the momentum created in the last nine games, will be sustained at home. Here is to a wonderful home stand, boys. Can wait to cheer y’all on in person. See you at Safeco, everybody!

Go Mariners.


 

P.S – Let’s not forget about the bullpen:

 

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