By now you've probably seen this:
This little WASP-y kid/punk/pariah/hero reached down to pick up a fair ball hit by Dustin Pedroia that kept runners on second and third in the bottom of the first, thanks to MLB's fan interference rules. And that was a good thing for the Mariners, really, because Pedroia's ground ball was probably going to trickle down into the gutter underneath the Green Monster, taking its time to find the glove or outstretched hand of an exasperated Dustin Ackley.
I am starting this recap with our little hero here not because it dramatically impacted the outcome of this game, but rather because those final frames--his forlorn, defeated face resting in his shaking hands--are a nice representation of the baseball game that was just played between the Seattle Mariners and the Boston Red Sox.
If you haven't been paying attention, you may not have realized that the Red Sox are terrible right now. Well, hell, maybe you would have missed that even while you paid attention--37,000 Bostonians hooting and hollering inside baseball's equivalent of St. Peter's Basilica today seemed blatantly unaware that while their team was sitting in the cellar of the AL East, they had become almost irrelevant to things like the Twins scoring thirty-something runs against the Tigers in 40 hours while the Mariners chase a Wild Card spot for the first time in a decade.
See, it's not like Red Sox fans are dumb. They aren't. They know their team is bad right now. But there is an enormous difference between bad and irrelevant. And if ESPN has taught me anything, its that the Red Sox are never irrelevant, not when Bobby Valentine is driving the car into the ditch, not when A.J. Peirzynski is DFA'd out of the blue, not when there are beards to be grown and then shaved and then grown back and listicles to be written about it, and certainly not when the Saahx have a few more opportunities to throw Big Papi at the plate for a dingah or two.
But instead, a bunch of no-name benchwarmers from whatever is over there in Washington State came in and gained ground in a playoff hunt that these fans aren't going to even be paying attention to. The nerve! And even though literally everyone around my seat in the Right Field bleachers today stopped paying attention in the sixth in order to try and start the wave, which was much more important than the baseball being played at that exact moment. Look at this:
Hear this energy? The booing? They aren't booing because the Sox were down 7-3. They were booing because some people sitting next to first base decided they would rather watch the game than stand up and do the stupid wave because they paid a lot of money for those tickets and why are you even at the game can't you just get drunk and watch it from home?.
In a matter of minutes, though, Yoervis Medina recorded his fifth strikeout in only two innings, and then everyone was doing the wave. Well, almost everyone anyway. The point of all this is not to poke fun at Red Sox fans as much as it is to show what it's like when your team that is usually really good has a down year--inside each of those fans was our little pouty-face McGee up above, but their anger and disdain was sublimated into making up a game to distract themselves from the game that was being played below them that was made up to distract everyone from the fact that life is short and then you die and soon afterwards nobody will ever remember you lived at all. Whew! Baseball is really something, folks.
So yes, Red Sox fans seemed oblivious to the fact that the M's have forgotten how to lose, and can probably only name a single Mariner in the first place. And while the Mariners decided to show up a little sooner than the ninth, which is fun and all but let's be real, they certainly continued their trend of taking a hot minute to do anything. Today it happened in the fourth.
Chris Young wasn't his sharpest today, lasting only 3.2 innings and giving up five walks with three earned runs. Young's command was shaky from the get go, earning him a mound visit in the first before giving up singles and doubles and sac flys like it was Christmas morning. But then in that beautiful fourth inning, the M's strung together another bizarre sequence of events, events that let all nine Mariners to get an at bat, giving Kendrys two. After back to back singles by Kendrys and Kyle Seager, Chris Denorfia doubled in the first run of the game. 3-1 Red Sox.
Endy Chavez was up, and although the entire right field bleachers began to debate whether or not it was actually Endy Chavez at the plate, a lengthy exercise during which I wanted to open my shirt and show them my scars for proof, he struck out to give Chris Taylor a chance to knock in another run. 3-2 Red Sox.
Red Sox starter Brandon Workman was over eighty pitches at this point, and manager John Farrell had no one warming up in the pen. Which was good news for the Mariners, because his command was at the point where he sent in a run on a wild pitch during an at bat to Jesus Sucre, and then he was forced to throw things over the center of the plate, leading to events such as Austin Jackson singles and Dustin Ackley home runs that fall less than three hundred feet (thank you, Fenway).
Wouldn't be an M's home run without the requisite "oh boy" from Blowers, now, would it?
By this point Farrell had seen enough, and Workman was pulled. In a matter of minutes it was 7-3 Mariners and that's about all that happened through the rest of the game. Yes, the next hour and a half passed without incident, except for a little tantrum from David Ross on a check swing call and an accidental beaning of David Ortiz by Charlie Furbush, which of course meant retaliation mode for the Boy Scouts of Major League Baseball. So of course, Robinson Cano firmly felt a 93 MPH first pitch fastball in his lower back in the next inning.
It was pretty funny too, because Cano got the shit booed out of him during every at bat of the game, but during the second time through the order the guy sitting next to me turned to an older man behind him mid boo and said "Yeah, but let's be real, he's a hell of an athlete," to which the Sperry-wearing polo clad gentleman nodded in firm agreement, repeating "Hell of an athlete." After they shared this moment they both immediately went back to booing. It was the most Boston thing I had ever seen, and I've seen Good Will Hunting about nine times.
So yes, the Mariners took the season series from the Red Sox, and there is still one game left to be played. They hold a 1.5 game lead in the wild card thanks to whatever is happening to Detroit right now, and I want you all to savor this like it will never happen again, because it may not. The Red Sox on the other hand? They just have to inconveniently wait 'till next year, sending everyone out of town to buy new toys like an expensive toolsy Cuban outfielder and probably Giancarlo Stanton, because that's what the Red Sox do.
All I know is that in the sixth The Wave was washing over me like baptismal waves while Tom Wilhelmsen threw 98, and the Mariners took a big step toward something that I'm still having trouble wrapping my mind around. They say the wave was invented in Seattle. If that's the case, then we gave them all two things to take home today.
I'll take the first one, personally.