The Mariners Have Exceeded Expectations

I was not able to watch either of the last two games in Anaheim, and particularly glad about Wednesday night’s. Whatever the opposite of enjoying seeing the Angels clinch the AL West is, that is what my experience would have been. I didn’t get to watch last night’s game either, and I am glad we split the series, but winning 3-1 on a day Felix is pitching against a bunch of LA’s scrubs…eh, it feels kind of hollow. Particularly because we tossed all our regular guys out there.

But a win is a win, and the Mariners are still hovering at a game back out of the Wild Card. I think the invention of the second Wild Card is what is causing me to shy away from watching these late season PST games. Not only is it that I cannot stay up until the last out anyway, (and I hate starting to watch games I can’t finish), but the up-again, down-again thing is killing me. I am glad that MLB sites have added the WCGB stat to their standings lists, but it is hard for me to deal with the yo-yo of the winning and losing. The upcoming Houston series should be much easier for me to watch, at least, but I can’t keep up/remember who else won or lost on any given night, and even though I love this game and love this team, I am experiencing copious amounts of not wanting to look. I think if we were doing much better, this wouldn’t be an issue. But this teetering on the edge thing is making me crazy. Especially with only a handful of games left. It has been far less anxiety-inducing to simply make checking the box score in the mornings a priority, rather than the three hours it would take for me to have an ongoing heart attack.

That said, I am very much looking forward to next weekend, and spending the last three days of the regular season at Safeco. I am not completely sure how I will make it work financially, but I will give it my damnedest. I am still milling over whether or not I will get a season ticket package for 2015 right now; it would grant me access to playoff tickets, but it’s also a lot of money I just don’t really have laying around at the moment. I don’t feel like I can give up the yearly tradition of attending the games at the very end of the season, especially not this year. I know that it is probably terribly boring for the five of you to read about my finances (or lack thereof), but this is important to me every season since I have been a fan. I don’t make a lot of money, and even the LF bleachers are rising in cost. I will take CF if I have to, but there are people on StubHub charging more than $30 for those seats as well. Basically, I’m going to have to spend a ton of money before I get priced out of the games. This is an expensive hobby; even just doing the home stand Fridays thing has been eating my wallet alive.

If you would have told me back in April that this would be going on, I’d have told you to stop huffing paint. Certainly, there have been some fairly bleak moments in this season, and we still need to work on building a far more consistent offense (I will probably harp on this until it happens) and we need to be getting our star pitcher runs effective immediately (I die a little inside every time Felix is left with a loss or a no-decision), but there has been a good vibe about this team this year, for sure. I have really enjoyed watching Mike Zunino become Mike Zunino. The guy’s average is terrible, but his defense is wonderful, his game calling is great, and his HR record this year has been a thing of glory. Y’know, for a catcher. I don’t worry when I see his name on the roster for the day. Kyle Seager has been a stellar surprise. I finally feel like we have another Adrian Beltre on the corner. And no, of course there can never be another Adrian Beltre, but what Seager may lack in defense (though I haven’t seen too much lacking this year), he certainly makes up for in offense. Beltre may be more suited for Arlington, but Seager is definitely home right here in Safeco.

I can’t go into many more, though I would certainly like to give others as much praise. Logan Morrison started out rough and became much better, filling a rather questionable gap at first, Brad Miller has been serviceable at SS, and I still am 100% comfortable with anyone Lloyd McClendon has tossed into the outfield this year. We need better offense, certainly, and we are getting there, but this year has been a great surprise, and it’s been a fun ride. Part of me (the anxious, wound-up part) wishes that the season was over next Sunday. The other part, like a gremlin, wants to see what kind of a wrench we can throw into the works into the post-season. I harbor no illusions that the 2014 Mariners are going to face whole series of really huge games after the last out is recorded next Sunday…but we could make it difficult for some other teams to go where they want to go. That’s baseball.

Bring it on, Houston.

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