Cautious Optimism With The Mariners Until The Bitter End

As of this writing, the Mariners are two games back from the Wild Card. Which WC? I don’t know. If you’re reading this, you probably know more than I do; if I were to follow every little thing at this point, I would be a wreck. Yesterday in Toronto they could have been mathematically eliminated. They won instead, sealing the door tight on what has been a terrible road trip that frankly, I didn’t have any words for. It’s hard to write about the team when Felix gets lit up as badly as he did the other day at Rogers Centre. What am I supposed to say about Felix walking a run in. Felix Hernandez walked in a run! *twitch* It hurts me to write that. Hurts worse to have to italicize it for emphasis. This whole trip has been a disaster. I know we are at the mercy of MLB scheduling, but they could take it into consideration how far away we are here from pretty much everywhere else that has a major league team. No, I’m not going to be one of the people who will blame scheduling on the Mariners elimination (pessimistic? I don’t think so); but when the cameras panned to Kyle Seager in the dugout during the game the other night as the Ms were losing by one run, the guy looked far older than his 26 years. It shouldn’t be that difficult to maybe not have them sent to another country 6 hours away at the very end of the season; but I know I’m barking into the wind. MLB, like the honey badger, does not care.

One of the things that has made it particularly difficult to really get into the tail end of this season (other than the yo-yo win/loss that we have been dragged through), is the basic fact that Seattle just never seemed to care whether or not it had a winning baseball team. I work downtown. I walk from work to go see ball games. I ride the bus, and I have been out and about in my own neighborhood. You don’t see people flying flags with Mariners logos on them. Nobody wears jerseys unless they’re physically within three blocks of the stadium and it’s game day. No Mariners car flags flying, no compasses created in office windows using Post-Its. No “Blue October” or “True to the Blue” signs anywhere. It is as if the Mariners don’t exist to the city at large. Even when they were really ramping their season up after the ASG, people still seemed fairly indifferent. All I have seen all season is Seahawks logos everywhere; even when football was far from starting again. And y’know, that’s great. I get it. They just won the Superbowl, it’s been a long hard road for them, etc. But based on what I’ve witnessed this year, I’m not sure the city of Seattle would really care much if the Mariners went to the playoffs, or won the World Series. And it bums me out. We as a fan base have to do better.

To that end, I’ll be at all three games of this last series. I am absolutely prepared to watch the Mariners mathematically eliminate themselves from playoff chances. In fact, I’m prepared to have it happen tonight, as Iwakuma takes on Jered Weaver. I don’t want it to happen, but I am prepared. I am also prepared to stand up on Sunday and cheer them, win or lose, because this team has given us one of the best seasons since I’ve been a fan. Baseball has been fun this year. It’s been meaningful, it’s been exciting, it’s been interesting, and it’s been enjoyable, dare I say! With my early work schedule, I have watched far more games than I did last year, because I really wanted to see what was going to happen, rather than resigning myself to movies or outdoor activities because I felt like I knew what the outcome of the game would be already. I have enjoyed seeing Kyle Seager come into his own, transforming from an uncertainty to a hitter that pitchers on other teams may be kind of afraid of. His defense has been Adrian Beltre-esque, and he has the upside of a bit of power in Safeco Field. He made the ASG this year, for the love! It’s been fun to see Logan Morrison go from a guy throwing his bat into the dugout wall that comically bounced back into his own face (a very Mariners event, if you think about it), to a guy who has flashed some awesome moves at first and also at the plate. I haven’t witnessed Robinson Cano “not hustle”, either at second or on the base paths, so maybe it was you, not him, New York. Our defense and pitching, once again, has been great this year. The offense has increased. I feel like all we need to do is make one or two more trades this winter or spring to put us up over the top of a ledge we can just about reach if we stretch real hard. We are closer to the post season than we have been in a while with this lineup, and I hope we can work something into the little booster seat we need to make it into the postseason in 2015.

I have to be honest, I’m a little glad it might be over this weekend. I wouldn’t have any issues with the maybe/maybe not of this last month, if the maybe part had been a little more wide open than it was. I would be more excited if we were a few more games up in the standings, hadn’t done so poorly this year against teams like Jose Altuve the Astros, and I thought even remotely that we could handle maybe having to face this year’s Baltimore Orioles team. I will gladly watch a playoff game, if that is what is to happen in the very near future, but with a 3-game series against the AL West champs, and one game away from mathematical elimination, I harbor doubts. I’m supportive, but cautious. That may always be the way things will have to be for me and the Mariners. I normally only go to the last game of the season every year as a tradition; but this year, I felt like I need to see the whole series. This team has meant that much to me. I’m totally poor now, but it’s so worth it to me to be there this weekend. I want to be trolled with wins, Mariners. Make it so!

See you at the ballpark!


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