Each baseball season is made up of many, individual moments that make up the whole. But they're also more than just moments in time. They're emotional memories where our hopes were rekindled and our love for the game renewed. In these memories, we find joy, frustration, elation, and heartbreak. We might look back on 2014 and see a turning point for the franchise or it could be just another hopeful blip in a series of disappointments. It doesn't really matter what the big picture is right now, let's just enjoy some good memories and some awesome baseball highlights.
You've already seen some of the best community submissions and honorable mentions. Now it's time to get to business. I've combined the community's 330 votes with my own rankings to come up with a weighted aggregate score. Here are the best Mariner moments from 2014, as decided by you (and me, a little bit).
10. August 11 - vs. Toronto Blue Jays
Community Vote: 2.4%
My Rank: Unranked
The Lightning Game was by far the most popular community submission and for that reason, it is the tenth most memorable Mariner moment from 2014. This was a pretty awesome moment too. It happened during the first game of a crucial series against the Blue Jays who were, at the time, the second Wild Card team. The Mariners ended up sweeping the Jays and pushed themselves closer to Wild Card contention.
That shot of the left field bleachers with lightning streaking across the sky is incredible. And here's what Robinson Cano did later in the same at-bat:
That's a pretty amazing sequence of events.
9. June 1 - vs. Detroit Tigers
Community Vote: 15.2%
My Rank: 10th
Heading into Spring Training, Roenis Elias wasn't on anyone's radar. His success was one of the greatest surprises from 2014. By late May, he had put together some decent starts -- a 10 strikeout outing in New York and a few other wins -- but he was still raw and unproven.
This series against the Tigers would be a turning point for the Mariners. They were hovering around .500 and had split the first two games of the series. With Max Scherzer on the mound for the Tigers, many had written this game off. Elias had other plans.
The best part of the highlight reel above is seeing Elias command his curve to great effect against the Tigers. My favorite has to be his first strikeout against Miguel Cabrera -- the look of confusion and the turn to see what had just happened is perfect.
8. June 8 - at Tampa Bay Rays
Community Vote: 22.0%
My Rank: 12th
Felix Hernandez makes his first appearance on this list at number eight. Everything that makes Felix, King Felix is on display in this highlight reel -- precise command of all of his pitches, an unhittable changeup, and complete control of the game. A full two-thirds of his strikeouts on this day came off the changeup. Just look at the Rays flail at it. It's a thing of beauty.
This game was a classic Felix start -- the opposing team held scoreless and the Mariners unable to score any of their own. Felix wouldn't get the win but five runs in the ninth ensured the Mariners walked away with the victory.
7. July 21 - vs. New York Mets
Community Vote: 18.6%
My Rank: 4th
I had this moment ranked very high on my own rankings. In hindsight, it might have been too high but this catch was pretty incredible. I think Aaron Goldsmith put it best when he said, "Dustin Ackley just made the catch of his life." And in true Dustin Ackley fashion, there is no emotion after the fact. Dustin Ackley is a home run robbing, bearded robot.
6. August 24 - at Boston Red Sox
Community Vote: 28.0%
My Rank: 11th
There might be a bit of anti-Red Sox Nation sentiment that bled over into this poll -- it's a lot of fun to sweep the second-most hated baseball team on their turf. But this series was also a high point in the midst of the Wild Card chase. The Mariners were a half game behind the Tigers for the second Wild Card spot heading into this weekend series in Boston. Three wins later, the Mariners would be a full game ahead of them.
The first game of the series was already featured in the honorable mentions -- that 5-run comeback was an exciting way to start off the series. The last game of the series almost got away from the Mariners, however. Iwakuma was uncharacteristically wild but the offense was able to bail the team out to come away with the first ever series sweep in Boston.
Tomorrow, I'll reveal the top 5 Mariner moments from 2014. Stay tuned!