This morning for work I met a nice lady who lived on some old farm land. She walked the property, told me its history, explained where the old farm house had stood, showed me a wood shed she had built out of reclaimed wood from an old barn. As she was telling me about that wood shed her eyes took on a humorous glint and with a sense of pride that she hadn't expressed for anything else on that land she told me "That's where I put the time capsule".
She explained how years ago she had put newspapers, coins with the year of the capsule and other items she considered culturally relevant and personally significant. She put them in a concrete box and buried them under a wood shed. She told me this and smiled "You can't be telling anybody about this now you hear?" The idea that somehow well into the future someone would tear down her wood shed and find that time capsule was something that brought her a great deal of happiness. We all want to leave a legacy I suppose.
Regardless of final outcome the Mariners' season is winding down. Although its peak is yet to be determined it is almost certain that the 2014 Mariners will represent the most enjoyable season in over 10 years. As I am discovering through for many (see: young people) this team is the very first time their love of baseball and the Mariners has been rewarded with a whole season of interest.
Being weakened by a love of sentiment I started thinking of my own personal time capsule for the team, knowing and hoping that the greatest memories could still be to come. But while we wait for the Mariners and Angels to broil for 4 days in Anaheimian hell I thought it might be nice to talk about the things we want the future to know about this team.
- Rightly the praises for Felix Hernandez' changeup are loudly sung here, there and everywhere. It is his best pitch and one of the very best pitches in baseball. But at his best in 2014 I cannot shake the image of Felix Hernandez commanding his fastball with 2 strikes, particularly against left-handers. After a series of changeups, curveballs and maybe even a slider inside Felix would get fed up with the battle and fire a 93 MPH bullet an inch or two off the plate. Mike Zunino would catch it, put on his Tanooki Suit and stay motionless. The batter puts his head down as the ump raises his fist. Strike three.
Ground ball up the middle, Robinson Cano to his right. Robinson Cano is far from svelte, and he moves with what appears to be a stiffness that should make what happens next impossible. But Cano goes right, he goes right again, he bends over, picks the ball an inch off the ground and, there really is no other way to put it, whips the ball across his body to first.
In the history of the Mariners there are a few iconic images of defensive skill. Griffey climbing a wall, Vizquel barehanding a ground ball, Beltre charging a bunt. Robinson Cano on a ground ball up the middle may not be a thing for too many more years but for 2014 it was every bit as memorable as those others.
- Kyle Seager's stride. I've tried to figure out what Kyle Seager looks like when he runs. There are times he reminds me of a character from The Far Side. Other times I think Oompa Loompa. He has a squat, over muscled lower half that makes his upper half rock left to right like a metronome. It's comical, at least to me. But what looks awkward in one context all falls into place in another.
Everything about Kyle Seager's stride screams of a practiced, brutal efficiency. There is the slight raise of the right foot, as the weight is gathered towards his left, a slight pause as the hands dip for timing. Time stops for a frame. Then everything explodes. The right foot savagely stomps the earth, the thighs and hips rotate violently clockwise and the hands are fired like a bullet at the baseball. Every bit of leverage capable is achieved. The baseball is kissed to ash and we all jump and dance.