Show's over. Go home. Nothing to see here.
The Mariners finished the 2005 season 24 games below .500 and 26 games out of first place. Highlights were few and far between, while agony and tedium seemed to have a death grip on our souls. And yet, as much as that last month just seemed to drag along, like it couldn't end soon enough...well, suddenly the whole year just feels like a blur. I remember Sexson's Opening Day home runs like they were yesterday. Ditto Madritsch's injury, Dobbs' big triple against Oakland, Olivo's go-ahead single against New York, and Sele's home shutout of San Diego. You wouldn't think that a season could fly by when the team sucks, and you have to spend a few hours after every game explaining to people what happened and why you bothered to watch in the first place, but 2005 found a way. Weird. If this feels like a blur, what's it going to be like when the Mariners are good again?
The season ended rather appropriately. In a sense, you could say that it was bookended by Richie Sexson - his first-pitch home run back on April 4th instilled in us all a wonderful sense of hope and optimism, while the last pitch he saw was a called strike three, the worst possible way to end the worst possible season. Not that Sexson was anything short of spectacular all year long, and I'm very thankful for that, but it just seems fitting for the best player on the team to throw in the towel and go out with a whimper. It wouldn't have been right to, say, bid farewell to the season after a Jaime Bubela pop-out. It was destined to be this way.
And now, nothing. No more Mariner game threads, win expectancy charts, or Matt Thornton hate mail for six months (or, in Thornton's case, hopefully ever). Sure, there're still another few weeks of baseball left to go, and we'll be talking about it here every day, but the team we all love has gone into hibernation (officially), and it's a strange feeling.
Sweet, sweet, glorious freedom!!
Biggest Contribution: Raul Ibanez, +18.5%
Biggest Suckfest: George Sherrill, -45.2%
Most Important Hit: Ibanez homer, +24.6%
Most Important Pitch: Chavez double, -20.2%
Total Contribution by Pitcher(s): -33.9%
Total Contribution by Hitters: -40.8%
No recap today. No reason. There'll be plenty of time to talk about the team over the winter. For now, rest up and take solace in the fact that, while you're going to sorely miss the action by December, the next few weeks, at least, are going to be pretty nice.
To all you guys: Thanks. Thanks for reading, thanks for writing, and thanks for being far more entertaining than the Mariners ever were.
Up next: home game against Anaheim, 4/3/06.