The Desert of Mariners Baseball

Mark Thompson

I think I see an oasis just beyond the horizon.

The hardest part of writing about baseball on anything resembling a regular schedule is the generation of ideas. My typical process involves a wandering mind while driving and doing the dishes. I let my subconscious run wild and focus on something else and hope for a synaptic miracle. Short of that, I forcibly perch myself in front of a computer and waste the minutes away with self contempt. Sometimes, I even watch baseball.

There hasn't been much to watch. If you've been watching, if you're the kind of fan who tunes in day-to-day no matter the team's record, no matter the team's talent, then my turquoise-billed hat is off to you. You are stronger and more dedicated and probably a nicer person than I. The Seattle Mariners are a bad baseball team. They can't really hit and they certainly can't field or run the bases. There have been flashes, moments worthy of hope and optimism, but then they were gone. They return from time to time but like most blinding and brilliant instants, they are surprising more than expected. It's September, the Mariners have 65 wins and 79 loses. Our best player is hurt, our uninspiring general manager is an exercise in inertia, and now even Taijuan Walker is finished. My mind, as you may have already guessed, is barren, dry, a desert.

I mean, even Jeff and Dave haven't posted anything in quite a while. When those two have run out of things to say about the Mariners, then you really know things have gone stale.

When I first attempted to type "Jeff" I accidentally typed "Jedd" and didn't notice for a few minutes.

The Astros currently lead the Mariners 6-1 in the bottom of the fifth inning.

There is one out.

I hold on to baseball in a variety of ways. My fake teams. The playoff races. Offering sacrifices to the gods in exchange for the health of Felix Hernandez. I take Kyle Seager for granted. I read about the Pirates and I allow myself to dream. I take stock of teams that have most recently resembled the Mariners and I chart the different ways the waves broke on their journey to shore. I mix metaphors. I watch Nick Franklin fling his baseball bat into the stands. Two men fight to possess it. The older of the two has the high ground, he pulls upwards with all his strength and exhales with an intimidating tenor. The younger man hangs on for dear life. The older man, he's wearing an orange T-shirt, laughs and looks at the people to his left and right. He makes a joke to ease any concern. Nothing to see here folks, I am simply not willing to let go of this baseball bat. Neither man makes eye contact with the other. The silent battle goes on for a few more seconds, the younger man eventually letting go. He sheepishly returns to his seat. I wonder if the two ever shake hands. Brad Miller stands in the batter's box with that stance of his. He strikes out. It's going to be 88 degrees tomorrow in Seattle.

Oh, look, the Mariners have traded Brendan Ryan to the Yankees.

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