Last season ended with tears. This season didn't, but only because I cried them all out back in May.
The usual thing to say at a time like this is that, as bad as the season was, it feels like it really flew by. And it's true, if you just sit there and think, oh, baseball's over. At first, it doesn't feel like theplayed 162 times. It feels like they just lost a game, and that tomorrow there should be another game.
There isn't another game, though. Not for us (and not for 21 other teams, either. High five!). And it's only when you think about all the things that we've been through that the true length of the season comes into focus.
This season, we heard the story about Ken Griffey Jr. falling asleep.
This season, Ken Griffey Jr. retired.
This season, the Mariners had Milton Bradley.
This season, Cliff Lee debuted with the team 11-11 and a half-game out of first.
This season, Eric Byrnes blew a bunt and rode his bicycle out of the clubhouse.
This season, the M's traded for Russell Branyan.
This season, Russell Branyan hurt himself on a table, and again in a pizza place.
This season, the Mariners had Chad Cordero, and Jesus Colome, and Kanekoa Texeira, and Ryan Garko, and Ian Snell.
This season, the Mariners lost three-straight one-run games in Chicago.
This season, Mike Sweeney was bad.
This season, Mike Sweeney was good.
This season, Mike Sweeney got traded.
This season, everybody got fired.
This season, the Mariners had hope.
2008 was bad. As I recall, 2008 was miserable. But - and maybe my memory is just skewed, although I don't think it is - I think this - 2010 - was the longest season I've ever experienced. I think it's because the expectations were so high. And I know I'm not alone. This was probably the longest season for many of you. This was probably the longest season for a number of writers. This was definitely the longest season for Griffey, and Chone Figgins, and Jose Lopez, and so many players and coaches. This was a nightmare, and it was practically a nightmare from start to finish. A team that many of us figured could at least contend for the playoffs never came together. It never came close.
I'm torn between wanting to give this season a proper sendoff, and wanting nothing more to do with it for the rest of my life. The Mariners scored 513 runs. In an entire season. Can you believe that? Thescored their 513th run on July 23rd. Last year's Mariners scored their 513th run on August 28th. The Mariners allowed six more runs in 2010 than they did in 2009, and they lost 24 more games. If there's any winner out of all this, it's us. It's those of us who managed to stick with everything this year - maybe not on an everyday basis towards the end, but those of us who kept paying some semblance of attention. Because, now, look what we can survive. This season made us tougher, and it gave us a greater understanding of how much we can tolerate. Turns out we can tolerate some of the dullest, most listless baseball the Earth has ever seen.
It's often recommended to fans of bad teams that they enjoy the baseball they get while they can, because soon enough, it'll be gone, and bad baseball is better than no baseball. I no longer believe that. No baseball is better than this baseball. I don't like the winter. Once the playoffs are over and a few weeks gone, I'll start to miss baseball, the way I do every year. But I won't miss this season. I'll miss Felix, but I won't miss the rest. 80% of the time for the past several months, tuning in for three hours has been agony at best, and uninteresting at worst. This season can go straight to hell.
The optimism that all of us have lost will surely come back. By the time spring training shows up on the schedule, we'll all be talking about what has to go right in order for the M's to contend. The function of the offseason for a fan, though, is to recharge the batteries, and after a season like this, I'm going to need every last day. I'm drained.
Thanks to Felix and Ichiro for providing most of the highlights. Thanks to the TV and radio guys for achieving the impossible and sticking with this team for every single game. Thanks to the journalists, who so frequently managed to find something interesting to say about the season equivalent of Cleveland. Thanks to Matthew, for all of his help with the site. Thanks to Ms. Jeff, who put up with having the Mariners on TV every day she got home. And thanks to you guys, who make everything worthwhile. You guys care enough to know that sometimes it's just not worth giving a shit.
Kiss my ass, 2010. May 2011 shortly come by and kick you in the balls.