Day 5 - The Phoenix rises
- The Box score
The LL Recap
I cried. Just a bit. Guti deserves that moment right there. I don't know if I deserved to watch it or experience it with him but I certainly feel like I needed it. 11-8, Mariners.
The player quote
"To be back with Seattle again," he answered when asked what his favorite part of being able to play after his long road back. "I really love this team. To be back with my friends, and all the fans in Seattle, I really appreciate all of this."
When Franklin Gutierrez was called up by the Mariners on June 24th we were happy, as this was the culmination of many years of difficult rehab and mental torment. Our expectations were minimal, and the Mariners made it very clear that Guti would be playing only as his fragile body allowed. He hit a home run on July 7th off Kyle Ryan, and in my mind that was enough. Guti had made it back, he had won.
A week later on July 12th Gutierrez was scratched with a tight back, and wouldn't play for another six days. During that layoff I almost hoped Guti would just retire. He'd been through enough, and his return to Seattle was a triumph over more adversity than most humans can claim. I didn't want to watch him fall again, not while the rest of the team was so miserable to watch. I have been cursed with a small imagination, and draw limits on myself and others far too quickly.
It probably says something sub-optimal that the closer something or someone is to my heart the less good I expect to come to it or him. Maybe that's the Mariners fault, or maybe that's why I root for the Mariners. I don't know, and frankly would rather not explore that part of my sub-conscious right now.
I never expected a moment of beauty for Franklin Gutierrez like when he lifted Netfali Feliz's 1-0 fastball deep into a chilly Detroit sky. Right then and there I again would have been happy for him to quit, and walk off the field a champion in every worthwhile sense. But Franklin Gutierrez spent 2015 teaching me to quit drawing limits on things. This moment, as beautiful as it was, was merely the opening act in a 3 month stretch that came damn close to redeeming a truly awful baseball season.
Through all the upheavel, surprise, excitement, sadness, and exhaustion that has been Jerry Dipoto's first offseason as GM no one moment made me happier than the news that the Mariners had agreed to a 1 year contract with Franklin Gutierrez. I hope he never plays a game for another team, and when the 2016 team clinches a playoff spot on September 29th against Oakland I can't wait to watch him hug Felix. My two favorite Mariners, good friends, enjoying the culmination of their efforts in a bedlam covered Safeco Field.
That's my dream, and I'll hold onto it. The Mariners say there's no floor, but Franklin Gutierrez reminds us that there's no ceiling either.