This article is old news by now, but it’s only been now that I’ve had the chance to sit down and read it. Our dear friend Randy Messenger is making a name for himself over in Japan with the Hanshin Tigers, the team that has also given Kenji Johjima and Matt Murton more chances at playing the game. Messenger’s been converted to a starter! Never thought I’d see the day. The writer of that article, Brad Lefton, also has a snippet up on how Kenji’s been doing lately as well. It’s funny, at my desk at work I have the team photo from 2009, the one they give out every year before the last game. I took a good look at it the other day. In my short time in Mariners-Land, 2009 has sort of been my 2001. I wasn’t up on things enough just yet in 2007, and we all know what happened in 2008 and 2010. The 2009 season has been my holy grail, the year that I hold dearest so far. That 2009 team featured: Yuniesky Betancourt, Miguel Batista, Carlos Silva, Ian Snell, Sean White, Ronny Cedeno, Jose Lopez, and Endy Chavez, in addition to both Johjima and Messenger.
I submit to you, the (likely) longer-time-than-me Mariners fan that this factoid is more than a little depressing. That was a winning team, and I didn’t like a lot of those guys. Some of them not even a little. I have convinced myself that it will eventually be worth it in the long run, that my fandom will eventually be paid back.
But it ain’t happenin’ this year…
Tonight’s game was just like last night’s game – the Royals hit us hard, it rained, the crowd bailed on the game, and everyone on Twitter and elsewhere collectively groaned and swore a lot. Kansas City games seem to be like that a lot. The top of the 9th held some promise because Joakim Soria was not doing very well, and if the score had been closer, we might have actually won this game. IF.
My biggest complaint today is Erik Bedard. I hate saying that, but to say anything else would be a lie. Bedard has not inspired confidence, and no amount of wishing will make it so. I won’t dread his starts, but I won’t look forward to them, either, and I really wanted to this year. I had hope. It hasn’t taken much to bury that. I think that like most games I attend or watch, I’ll go into it with an upright attitude, and be happy about the fact that there’s baseball. But I won’t be grumbly or upset when Bedard crumbles because I know now that it’s probably going to happen.
Being a fan is a funny thing – no matter how low you go, you keep coming back for more, keep watching, keep going to the stadium, keep taking pictures, keep writing about it…and you do all of this totally willingly. If I had the sort of experience from any other product or event that was this disappointing, I would never buy the product again or go back to the same or similar event. Yet I now live on a tightrope of panic if I think that I won’t be able to afford at least 16 games. I take people up on the opportunity to go to more if I can afford it or if they’re offering. I make jokes about what a mess the situation is, while getting butterflies in my stomach at the very thought of being able to go to a game. What is wrong with me? The more I think about it, the more I’m aware that I’m very unable to answer this question.
All is not completely lost tonight; Ichiro broke George Brett’s hit record in Kauffman Stadium. This is pretty much all I know about George Brett. That and his famous argument over pine tar. But a record is a record, and Ichiro broke it, because that’s what Ichiro does. It simultaneously makes me proud and breaks my heart that Ichiro Suzuki is a Seattle Mariner.
As I post this, Eric Wedge is attempting to put a good spin on tonight’s loss. I am OK with listening to tomorrow’s game in the morning rather than watching it. I have a friend’s baby shower to go to tomorrow night, and I need an evening off.
EDIT; I probably should try to take some degree of consolation in the attempt at a comeback in the top of the 9th, but I can’t talk myself into it. I appreciate the idea of not hanging on to the results, that every bit of goodness is worth looking at, but only winning wins ball games. You don’t make it to .500 with good intentions.