Mariners Invent New Way To Lose; Discover Not New

whoa there emotion not allowed

The Mariners had been hard at work, for as long as they could remember. They had to take a shotgun approach to their tweaks, because they weren't certain what else to do, but after every tweak, they ran an experiment. No. Over and over, no, a flowing stream of no, a roaring cascade of no. It was ceaseless frustration, but the Mariners kept at it until the frustration ceased. At last, they'd developed a promising model. At last, it had passed their tests. They scooped up everything they could and sped to the patent office.

It was there that they laid everything out on a counter. A patent officer spied them out of the corner of his eye and ambled across the room. The Mariners didn't wait for him to arrive before they eagerly started explaining what they'd developed. The officer listened and furrowed his brow. When the Mariners finished talking, he raised a finger and sat down behind the desk. With a few keystrokes he logged into the computer, and with a few more he completed all the research he needed to.

"I'm sorry," said the officer, plainly, "but it doesn't look like you've invented a new way to lose at all."

The Mariners looked at one another, concerned and bewildered. They looked then at the officer, then at their model, then back at the officer. They were waiting for him to say he misspoke. They were sure he would say he misspoke.

"No, this is a very old way to lose, as it happens."

The Mariners stood together, speechless. One put his hands in his pockets and turned around, shoulders hunched. He kicked at the floor.

"As a matter of fact, it looks like you've lost in this way before, literally like all the time."

Half of the Mariners looked at the ceiling. Half of the Mariners looked at their shoes. They sighed, in chorus. The patent officer paused, then logged out of the computer. Standing up, he swept the plans into the garbage bin, and returned to the opposite side of the room without saying another word.

***

The Mariners played the Athletics beginning at 12:40pm Wednesday afternoon, and you are reading this having probably not watched it or even closely followed it. It can be hard enough to muster the courage to watch the Mariners play the A's at night, when you have available time. During the day, when you're at work or in class or doing whatever it is you do in the early afternoon, the Mariners just aren't a priority for most. Most either can't follow the Mariners, or they don't bother following the Mariners.

So you're reading this and you're curious whether you missed anything you ought to know about. Maybe you've already read other accounts of the game, or maybe you haven't, and Lookout Landing is your sole or primary source. In that event, we appreciate it. In any event, the answer is no. You missed absolutely nothing you ought to know about. I watched this baseball game, I watched the Mariners lose to the Athletics 2-1, and not a single thing happened that will in any way change the way I think about anything.

This game isn't going to change the way I think about Jarrod Parker. I don't spend a lot of time thinking about Jarrod Parker anyway, and as a matter of fact I can't remember the last time that I did think about Jarrod Parker before this afternoon, but I was shown nothing. Ooh, check it out, Jarrod Parker generated good results on paper. He did that against the Mariners in Safeco Field and the same thing could probably be accomplished by this pair of eyeglasses sitting by the cup of water sitting by my laptop. The eyeglasses might have trouble throwing a baseball but the glint in the sunshine would work as a distraction.

This game isn't going to change the way I think about Kevin Millwood, in large part because Millwood didn't last much of this game. He wasn't pitching poorly, but he did re-injure his groin and now he's probably going on the disabled list. Which probably means more Blake Beavan, as if this day wasn't already scintillating enough. Millwood is an old man who's had his ups and downs and old men get injured and re-injured. Especially when they don't go on the disabled list after the first injury.

This game isn't going to change the way I think about Hisashi Iwakuma. I look at his numbers and I think "there might be something here, there are some positive indicators," then I watch him pitch and I come away not the least bit surprised when he gets hit around. Not that he got hit around today, and in fact he gave up just one hit today in long relief, but that one hit was a long, tie-breaking home run on a low slider that just didn't have any bite. I would be very interested in knowing what Iwakuma would do with 180 innings, on another team. I don't think I have a desire to see him really get stretched out as a Mariner. He doesn't strike me as the solution to anything.

This game isn't going to change the way I think about Brandon League. I don't know what could change the way I think about Brandon League. I like the idea of League trying to throw more offspeed pitches, but it doesn't do him any good when most of them are balls, and now that League isn't the closer I'm kind of over him as a Mariner anyway. He doesn't serve much of a purpose now, and he's a free agent in a matter of months. I am no longer particularly concerned with whether or not Brandon League gets shit straightened out.

This game isn't going to change the way I think about the offense. Today, the offense was John Jaso, and we know that Jaso is a capable hitter who doesn't get to hit enough. The rest of the offense was the same miserable Safeco offense, and there was no indication that Justin Smoak is about to become a quality player. There was no indication that Dustin Ackley is about to become a quality player. Mariners fans now are most interested in whether or not the Mariners' young players make progress, and this afternoon there were no signs of progress. There was no moment where it was like, yeah, that's what's going to get this player going. There were plenty of moments where it was like, yeah, this player needs to get going. Interested in progress and development? Don't be interested in this baseball game. It was not the baseball game you were hoping for.

The Mariners and A's just completed a three-game series with nine runs in it. The middle game was okay, and I don't think just because the Mariners won, but most of the middle game was difficult, and the two pieces of bread in the mayonnaise sandwich that was this series were certainly difficult. Difficult to get invested in, I should say, not necessarily difficult to watch. Rather, this was very easy baseball to watch, because it required nothing of the viewer. Emotions weren't bent and stressed. Eyebrows weren't raised, sweat didn't bead. It was easy to just let this baseball wash over you, to surround you and protect you from that which might have the temerity to make you think even for a split-second that a shred of you might care about it.

I don't remember if I've referred to the Lake Nyos disaster before on the front page of this website. Probably, I have, but now I'm going to do it again. Lake Nyos is a lake on the flanks of a dormant volcano in Cameroon. It lies above a magma chamber that releases carbon dioxide, and the carbon dioxide goes up, into the lake's water. Unsurprisingly, there have long been settlements near to the lake. In 1986, for reasons still debated, Lake Nyos suddenly outgassed. Tons upon tons upon unfathomable tons of carbon dioxide were released by the lake in an invisible cloud, and the cloud poured down area valleys, hugging the ground and suffocating thousands of people and livestock. Many of them died in their sleep, simply going to bed and never getting out of it.

When the Mariners play the Athletics, far more often than not it's as if the television releases an invisible cloud of carbon dioxide into the living room. It might not be sufficient to kill you, but it will weaken you. It will leave you powerless to do anything, whether that be change the channel or even pay close attention. You breathe the gas into your lungs and your blood and all you can do is sit, eyes open, pointed at the screen but not receiving what it broadcasts. You are effectively rendered a vegetable, without the feeding tube. When the game is over, the gas venting stops and you gradually come to, but you feel groggy, uncertain of what happened while you blacked out.

At the moment I'm feeling pretty down about the Mariners, and I hope the fact that they were playing the A's was a contributing factor. Tomorrow they start playing the Red Sox, and those games can be fun, invigorating. But they can also be embarrassing so it's not like the Mariners can depend on their opponents to liven things up. After the Red Sox come the Orioles, by the way. And then after the Orioles come the A's. So you sure as shit better enjoy this next week because that gas is coming back. It's all been released, but the chamber's re-filling.

There are 85 more baseball games. The first half is the easy half to care about.

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