Back in middle school, I used to like this girl named Taylor. She was smart, pretty, athletic, developing, aware of me and what my name was; she was everything you want in sixth grade, and better yet, we shared a homeroom. Almost every day I would go to school and think "maybe today's the day I get to hang out with her and we talk." Not that I ever really did much to engineer a connection, mind you - I was a scrawny preteen with a bad haircut and too little self-awareness to not wear shorts - but dork hope springs eternal, and each day I would put my trust in fate to bring us together and give Taylor a reason to ask me a question. Sometimes she would. Sometimes she'd say 'hey'. I remember clinging to the slightest glimmer of an indication that she was even the least bit interested in me. And that's how things were for a good long time. I don't recall how long it lasted or what eventually made me move on to something else, but for at least, I dunno, two years I hung on to this crush just waiting for everything to come together so that I could sweep Taylor off her feet. My chance was always just right around the corner.
That was the life I lived. Make note of the hopefulness and the innocent naiveté. That's not a life I get to live anymore. Had my life back then mirrored my Mariner fanhood of the past few years, I would've liked Taylor, and we would've been assigned to the same project, and when we got to talking she'd tell me she only likes black guys with muscle cars and Aussie accents and not little gay fairies whose mothers won't even spring for an extra phone line. Then she'd pants me in front of everyone and I'd scream "WHY! WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT?!" while crying and she'd laugh and high-five Rusty Greer.
This is a team that just gets how to lose. I mean, they get it. Not so much the 2009 incarnation of the M's as the recent M's in general. When they get tired of competing and playing meaningful baseball, they put their heads together and make no secret of their intentions to stop. Whether it's by getting destroyed, losing a bunch of games in a row, or getting destroyed in a bunch of games in a row, this is a team that leaves no question as to when it is finished trying to stick with the big boys. Which, in a way, is nice - some people don't like to be led on - but to be so abrupt and emphatic about it always seems just so uniquely us. What's that you say? Outscored 42-10 in four games? That sounds like my.
Thank goodness for Jack and the rest of the front office. Were it not for this organization suddenly finding itself in competent, glorious hands, this collapse would probably be killing me all over again.
Now for the game note lighting round:
- I don't know that the necessarily deserved all seven of those runs - Felix was just undone by groundball singles in the sixth - but Felix didn't have it. For the first time in what feels like ages, he didn't have it, and were it not for the fact that he's been so excellent and that the games don't really matter anymore, I'd probably be more disappointed. It's hard to see him struggle like this when the opposition runs out a lineup with six righties. The opportunity was there for Felix to have another awesome game. He simply never found his command, and when he doesn't know where he's throwing his fastball, he's going to have games that look a lot like 2006 and 2007. Oh well. No reason for concern unless this becomes a pattern. Felix has earned the right to throw a few clunkers.
That looks like a man who's wondering what to pack.
- I had no idea that Dirk Hayhurst was up in the big leagues. That's impossibly cool. A shame that he sucks.
- Said Bill Krueger during the pregame show (paraphrased): "In honor of all you techies, and of course USS Mariner, look up from the spreadsheet and watch the game for once." Did you know that Bill Krueger had a worse career ERA+ than James Baldwin and Omar Olivares? Sherwin-Williams sells paint in gray, light gray, and Bill Krueger.
- I wonder how the team chemistry is doing right now.
- When Franklin Gutierrez flat-out drops an easily catchable ball near the fence, you know that something is wrong. I'm not going to say that the team was underprepared or just going through the motions, because that wouldn't be right of me to suggest, but the confluence of so many negatives over these past four games has made this look like a team that watched Joe Nathan last Thursday and then decided to curl up and die. I wonder how many more times I'll say "this is when we really get to see what Don Wakamatsu is made of."