Well, the Mariners won their baseball game today.
So did the Royals.
So did the Athletics.
So did seemingly everyone else who has an impact on the M's playoff hopes.
I could end this all here. I could. I'm not going to, obviously. You can tell because there are a bunch of words below this sentence right here that means I kept typing after this one.
A few days ago I wrote my version of an obituary for the Mariners 2014 season. I still stand by my words there, especially because what lies ahead is a hope that the Mariners will win their two final games of the season while the Athletics lose their final two. That scenario is the only one in that allows for the Mariners to enter the playoffs this season, and while we were all hoping for that, we should really realize that the fact that we were accounting for this in late September is a pretty big fuckin deal. Man, there is going to be a lot of stuff written on this website over the next couple of months about this very deal, and I don't want to exactly jump the gun on all of it, but I can't wait until we can start talking about 2015, because 2014 has fallen into the realm of either epoch-defining story or historical footnote, and I tend to align with the latter.
The good news is that Iwakuma looked much more like his usual self than his past couple of starts. Of course, this would have been incredibly useful during, oh hell, I don't know, ANY DAY IN THE LAST MONTH...but it looks good for the future. Six and a half innings with four strikeouts is good news, and his two homers given up are completely in line with his usual dinger problem. If Iwakuma was struggling with all the other starting pitchers, a healthy start like tonight's bodes well for whatever will happen next season--I don't know his Nippon innings limit, but he clearly was pressing against time this season. Something to pay attention to going forward.
Kendrys Morales and Michael Saunders were the offensive heroes tonight, and while nobody knows what Lloyd wants to do with either (a strange apparent fascination with Kendrys and a textbook platoon with the Condor), you have to just kind of let that whole thing happen. The Mariners aren't out of the playoffs, but they could be in a matter of hours, and it will be interesting to interpret at-bats before that fact and after--these two being at the top of the list.
So again, the Mariners need to win their next two games and hope the A's lose their next two--which gives them a chance for a one-game playoff before the one-game playoff that is the MLB postseason. A lot of people are going to be pissy about the way these final weeks went down, and rightfully so. But I realized in all of this that I'm not going to be as active on this site--my home--until next March, and that's kind of depressing. In all reasonable likelihood, the Mariners aren't going to be in the playoffs this year, and we all knew that was going to happen.
And with that in mind we should remember that this was a huge step forward, and that Kendrys Morales and Justin Smoak may not be getting crucial at bats late in 2015. We should remember that this isn't a thing guaranteed to us as fans, and that process keeps moving ever forward toward a singular goal, and that woah, I haven't talked about this game at all, but seriously, who gives a shit. If the M's are still in this in a week, we can talk about the games. Until then, every pitch--every swing is a gift from time and memory itself, and instead of resting on each moment like a coded result from a videogame, we need to just breathe it in, because this is all going to be over in a few short hours.
I want to have a moment with each and every one of you on opening night next season. Or on the one-game playoff that will happen when the M's tie the A's. Or in the off-topic thread when everything crumbles into oblivion after the M's drop the ball like usual. Regardless, we are all staring at our reflections in the water of the offseason that look back at us with disdain, and we should realize that nothing in baseball is given and that we have to enter this next step whether we want to or not.
Tonight the Royals made the playoffs for the first time since many of us were born. The M's didn't. But that next step doesn't need to be the end for what we hope from this team. Even if it takes another year to get there, we are going to replicate this thread with happy comments in x-amount of years. I'd say I'll see you then, but it's possible "then" is two days.
Or next year.
Or ten years.
Or nothing of the sort. We will just have to wait and see. Until then,