I get a lot of my writing ideas doing the dishes. I also get a lot of them in the shower, too. I'd say 95% of my original ideas come to me when I'm either doing the dishes, taking a shower, or out on a jog. The dishes one is really convenient, because it means I'm a boyfriend who wants to do the dishes. I'll watch a Mariners game, we'll have dinner, and then I'll take that opportunity to do the dishes so I can think about what I want to write.
Today it worked out, in that doing the dishes gave me an idea after another miserable game. I don't know if it's a good idea, but it's an idea, and it's the idea I'm running with since it's too late to want to start all over.
Think about how many times, as a baseball fan, you've been told or heard someone else be told that the season is a marathon, not a sprint. It's everybody's favorite cliche reminder, especially early in the year, and it's quoted with such frequency that more often than not it falls on deaf ears. Begin a sentence with "The season is a marathon" and you'll lose most of your audience by the end.
But it's a cliche that, at its heart, conveys the right message. The season is a marathon, in that the season is really really long, like obnoxiously long, and one should never dwell too much on small-sample outcomes, because they just aren't that important. Think about how often fans freak out about individual games. About individual tough losses. About individual questionable decisions, with the bullpen or on the basepaths. People can make such a big deal about one game, or about one part of one game, but in the grand scheme of things, it's one game out of 162. The season is a marathon, not a sprint.
So often, fans have to be reminded that the season is bigger than the game they're watching, or the game they just watched. They get so wrapped up in every little detail that they lose sight of everything else. It doesn't matter what the team did a few days ago. It doesn't matter what the team did a few weeks ago. What matters is what the team is doing, or just did. This is a poor and reactionary perspective, the possessor of which needs to remember to take a step back.
I was thinking about that. I was thinking about how easy it usually is to block out the greater context and focus on what's immediate. This guy screwed up. This guy should've done this. This guy really delivered. This outcome was significant.
And then I thought about the Mariners, and how the running narrative these days is the greater context. We can't ignore it. We can't block it out. The context is what this team is. This losing streak has grown so long that it's become the team's identity.
Nobody's making a big deal of the individual games these days, because the individual games don't matter on their own. They're just part of this unstoppable loss machine that's always on our minds. We can't think about anything else. The Mariners have lost 16 games in a row. How could anyone expect us to think about anything else?
When Mark Teixeira homered in the bottom of the first, I thought "that was a bad pitch, and the Mariners are going to lose their 16th game in a row." When Derek Jeter homered in the bottom of the third, I thought "that was a cheap homer, and the Mariners are going to lose their 16th game in a row." When everything came apart in the bottom of the fourth, I thought "that was an embarrassing inning, and the Mariners are going to lose their 16th game in a row." And so on like that. Every remarkable and unremarkable event was considered right along with the fact that the Mariners were headed for their 16th consecutive loss.
The streak is everything right now. It is impossible to ignore. It is impossible to think about any little current thing without also thinking about the streak. That's what this team has achieved. We don't need to be reminded that the season is bigger than one game, because all we're thinking about is a string of 16 games, 16 games that have defined the season. Tomorrow it will probably extend to a string of 17 games. I'll watch, and the whole time I'll be thinking, holy crap, 17 games.
I don't know if this makes sense. I don't know if it's made sense all the way through, or part of the way through, or none of the way through. I guess if it doesn't make sense, I have an excuse; the baseball team I write about has lost 16 consecutive games, which is one of the very longest losing streaks in baseball history. This streak is beyond the realm of the depressing and it's long since entered the realm of the absurd. You could see that in the ROOT Sports postgame show when personalities like Angie Mentink, Brad Adam and Bill Krueger couldn't help but chuckle about the circumstances. It makes you laugh. There's no other response.
One can only hope that this trickles down to the players. For a while, during any losing streak, the pressure mounts. Players begin to press as they feel like they need to do something extraordinary. Maybe there comes a point at which the pressure disappears. Maybe, after long enough, the players circle back to being loose again. Maybe it takes 30 games. Maybe it takes 20. Maybe it takes 16.
Who knows. Who knows about anything anymore? The Seattle Mariners were a .500 baseball team, and then they lost 16 games in a row. And then maybe more after that. The Mariners are no strangers to finishing off seasons with dull, pointless baseball, but they get there in some of the most unbelievable ways.