PHOENIX, Ariz. -- If Monday night's results mean anything, the Mariners might be set to make a second half run at the AL West title despite a recent slump leading into the All Star Break. Seattle limped into the July break having dropped five straight games and scoring just 301 runs over 91 games. Dead last in most offensive categories, the Mariners were a long shot to provide any heroics during Monday's annual Home Run Derby. Vegas pegged them at an astounding 50,000-1 to win coming in.
"Nobody believed in us except the guys in this clubhouse," said Shortstop Brendan Ryan in a post-event interview while doing a handstand and playing a banjo. "They figured that just because we didn't hit a lot of home runs that we couldn't win a home run derby, well I'll tell you what, tonight showed that you can measure home runs, but you can't measure heart."
The night began like almost all others for the Mariners. Though failing to score any home runs, they did not allow any either, showing off their staunch run prevention talents. As the evening progressed and the sun set, more and more teams slipped up. In the biggest surprise up to that point, the high-powered Toronto Blue Jays fell first, when they hit four home runs but slugger Jose Bautista made ten outs all by himself. "I tried my best out there and I managed to hit a few dingers," the current regular season home run leader mused later, "but as a hitter, my most important job is to not make outs and I failed at that tonight. I let my team down and I let myself down."
As poor as Toronto's performance was, it was no match for the Boston Red Sox. They seemed like good bets to win coming in having 25% of the player pool and combined, Adrian Gonzalez and David Ortiz (mostly Adrian) hit 40 home runs. However the pair also made an almost unfathomable fifty outs! That's almost two entire game's worth.
It didn't stop with Boston though. The Cardinals, the Yankees, the Brewers, the Blue Jays and the Dodgers all ended up in the negative for the night. That left the shocking Mariners -- and 23 other teams -- with nary an out on their credit. Though it was technically a tie, no team came in with lower prospects for an offensive display than Seattle and so in the battle of expectations, the Mariners were the clear winners. A parade is said to be planned for later in the week to commemorate the crowning achievement.