This game was played against the backdrop of a momentous day for the region's sports fans. David Stern successfully convinced a group of 30 billionaires to continue a business model built entirely around extorting millions from municipalities under duress, denying Seattle the return of our beloved basketball team. The news was expected, but expecting misery only does so much to shield oneself from the emotion. There are so, so many reasons that being a fan of sports is a foolish choice, and today was an exceptional argument for taking all the time we spend reading about, writing about, discussing and watching professional sports and devoting it to experiences of true depth and purpose. The Mariners game started and I just didn't feel like paying much attention.
Then the Mariners scored 7 runs in the top of the first and crushed the Yankees 12-2. There's no correlation, other than the one our pathetic emotion-filled brains make when turning every event into a damn narrative. The Mariners presumably aren't fans of the Sonics. The focus of the players is to go out and win the day's game. I'm sure "winning one for the folks back home" never crossed their minds. But after the hollowness of the afternoon it was nice to see something real. Here's a team we DO have. They've been kind of crappy for a long time, and they make me angry. But they're real, they aren't going anywhere, and I'd take a million seasons like 2010 over the way the NBA has made me feel the last six years.
Mariners, I'm glad you exist. There are times where you're the homeschooled cousin that wears jeans while playing pick up basketball in 80 degree heat, but you're family and I appreciate that you have never left. Seattle, you are beautiful and I love you. Keep ya head up.
- What are we going to make of this team? At the 40 game mark they are tied for 2nd. Granted, that has more to do with the disappointing (for them) starts for the A's and Angels than it has to do with the Mariners themselves. And it should be noted that the Rangers are currently playing like the only kid on a little league team with a mustache, and a 7-game lead at this point is more than likely insurmountable. But 2nd beats the hell out of 4th, 3rd and 4th... which is where the Mariners have been after 40 games the last 3 years. I'm still not sure that this team is much better than the last two, but for 3 weeks, before all hope was lost, they've played 11-6 and made the season officially enjoyable. Every day it lasts from here on out is a treasure you should clutch and hold tightly to your chest.
- The top of the 1st: Fly out, walk, single, single, single, walk, home run, single, ground out, double, strikeout. Phil Hughes was once the number 4 prospect on BA's 2007 top 100 list. He was ahead of, among others, Andrew McCutchen, Evan Longoria, Ryan Braun, Joey Votto and Justin Upton. Through a combination of injury, control issues and dinger-itis his career has largely been underwhelming for a prospect of that stature. But "underwhelming" and "getting knocked out in the first inning by the Seattle Mariners" are very different shades of suck. Get some sleep, Phil. Tomorrow's the first step up from the bottom.
- Raul Ibanez leads the Mariners in slugging. His ISO is .303. Since May 4th his OPS has gone from .564 to .798. In 10 years young ballplayers will still be flocking to Raul for wisdom on how he squeezed every ounce of ability out of himself and did it for so long. "Hard work, clean livin' and the love of a good woman," Raul will say before he suits up to play DH for the 2023 Seattle Mariners, whom he will also lead in slugging.
- Fun with math: Kyle Seager is currently getting paid $608.59 for every point of OPS. Josh Hamilton is currently getting paid $27,929.37 for every point of OPS. Josh Hamilton's salary almost doubles in the next four years.