Sacrificing a season to abandon the excess baggage: Ketel Marte (.318 WPA)
The Phillies: J.C. Ramirez (-.326 WPA)
Oh, hello there.
No, please, stay seated. This won't take too much of your time.*
My name is A Tied Baseball Game.
You may recognize me from other such baseball games as April 18th and May 21st and ah, hell, about 140 other individual instances of extended monotony and violent complacency from this here baseball season.
*it's going to take a lot of your time
It's been a hell of a year, hasn't it? First we saw the newspaper clippings--those eternal nods to golden potential--and then I showed up, like an unwanted visitor guzzling beers from the fridge in the garage and bringing up yet another political conversation right when you thought the conversation would die down enough to say you need to go to bed. A canker sore. A zit on the first date. That guy in your Intro To Philosophy class who read one Derrida book and now knows The Answer to everything, thank you very much, as the brain in a vat experiment is, as we say, of the utmost importance.
I know, I know. And in a way, I almost have to apologize. You didn't really expect the season to blow up like this. I mean, you had the single season leader in home runs fresh off a new contract. An All-Star third baseman. One of the three best pitchers in the game. Robinson Cano. You didn't even worry that contingency was the glass centerfielder from 2010 and the Ice Cream Man, and why would you? A game away from the postseason, a returning historic bullpen. James Jones was in Tacoma! What could possibly go wrong?
I mean...what would it have even been? Injury? A meteor? The Black Death? Maybe Jurassic Park, or Yasiel Puig or something? I don't know. But in any case, you would not have exactly expected mediocrity to be the killer. Ha. My friend. We have yet to be formally introduced.
Now, don't get too upset. I gave you many great things this season. There was the walk off to the glass man, redeeming his entire career with one pitch after ten years. There was Ranger Blood. There were more and more and more of them, seemingly on every Sunday afternoon as the man responsible for writing these things found himself once again shaking his head, thinking yes, yes, of course.
But of course, it would be absolutely selfish for him to think of himself as the only one effected there. You watched them! Hell, you were probably at some of them. And what about those players, playing in them? Wasting the last of their green energy bar right below their hearts in the top left corner of the screen, with the advice--save your energy--echoing throughout the empty green seats surrounding the perimeter like a reminder of what could have been or at least your mother telling you what to do as a child.
I really didn't want to hurt you. I mean, a popup to close the tenth, sure. In major league history, that's probably happened over one thousand times. But a popup to close the tenth on the second-to-last game of the season between two pathetic teams in the same division? Between two teams who started the year with such high hopes and earnest reason for belief? You can't exactly call me an asshole, but I suppose my timing could be....well, a little better.
You say that, of course, as if you forgot that you have spent this entire damned season with me, hitchhiking my way into your front seat with that mildewy smell of autumn rain to remind you that it's no longer May, when losing streaks meant very little. I fucked up Tom Wilhelmsen tonight, but you can't really get too upset because I've fucked up just about every single person on your beloved franchise this year without mercy. I mean, look at this:
Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) October 4, 2015
See that? That right there was a laser, rocket, monster line drive blast from a man who has a hole in his digestive tract, and who is still playing baseball for some godforsaken reason. And he took a pitch and deposited it many hundreds of feet beyond where it was hit, and then you know what? IT DIDN'T EVEN MATTER! I just showed up to the corner of Edgar and Dave, no tickets purchased, and found a fuckin' little crack in the side of the wall and made my way in like I owned the place. It's just what I do.
And you can't blame me, really, honestly, you can't. Last year I spent some time around the park but I just didn't feel quite as welcome as I have this season. I mean, sure, I made my way in from time to time. Yoervis Medina and I were good buds, and I always knew that when the going got tough I could call Fernando Rodney to score a stash or two. But Yoervis isn't answering my calls anymore, and I can't even find Fernando although they are telling me he's on a great team making their way into the playoffs for the first time in quite some time. But the good news is that I don't even need to.
And you know why? That's because I can show up to Safeco whenever I want, and just sit down, wink at one of those obnoxious seat police (I'm not spilling beer or anything, what do you think I am, a monster?), and watch as chaos just seeps its way into the fabric of reality all around me. Want to go watch a meaningless, fun baseball game towards the end of the year and drink a couple of beers? Ah hell, I'll make sure that alcohol-serving innings 1-7.5 last one hour and dry innings 7.5-13 last like four or so. Enjoy seeing the Mariners pull a win through the reeds? Eh, I'll allow for you to take the lead, and then I'll just bleed it out until it's dead, dead, dead like your hopes for relevancy once a front office allowed your team to field a catcher hitting under .100 without a backup plan. The truth hurts doesn't it. Well don't blame me.
Anyway, look, we hung out for a few innings today, and then Marcus Semien hit a dinger and that's only because I got a little tired--have to save some energy for ruining next season, don't I?
You can be assured I'll return next season. It's been fun, it really has.
But until then, I'm gonna just make myself right at home in your team's locker room, belly out next to your mascot like I belong here.
And look, it's been a great year, really, it has. I want to thank you for making me feel so welcome, for trading one bald baseball mess for another. And as we get ready to close this here season on out tomorrow, I just want to sit back and remember the good times, the walk-offs and the walk-ins, the fist-pumps and the head sinks as we close out the bottom of the thirteenth inning on a plea for, well, ending this damn madness.
I'm gonna miss you.
I only hope you don't miss me.