Day 6 - Our Sweet Prince lifts us up where we belong
Bite your tongue and point out that the Mariners were in line to lose the game before Kyle Seager hit his grand slam in the eighth, and then thank your lucky stars they have such a wonderful home-grown player on their roster that hit yet another dinger in extras to win it for the good guys and holy shit, we have a Boss.
"He hit homers off of guys that just don’t give them up," McClendon said. "He was phenomenal tonight. He saved us. He really saved us."
It was the top of the 8th and the Mariners were losing. Jake McGee was on the mound, having replaced Kevin Jepsen. My mom and I were checking into a roadside hotel as we entered the last leg of our Wisconsin-Seattle road trip that would bring me home. We'd battled spotty reception in the mountains, but had heard bits and pieces of the game. We heard Kyle Seager's 1st inning RBI. We managed most of the 3rd inning, before missing the 4th and 5th entirely. As we found our room, Rickie Weeks and Robinson Cano each singled. We opened our door as Nelson Cruz reached on an error. I turned on the TV. It was the top of the 8th and the Mariners were losing. Then this happened. And I started screaming.
My mom isn't much of a baseball fan. She enjoys watching with me, but doesn't seek out the game on her own. There is a part of my fandom and fascination she finds deeply confusing, and perhaps a touch alarming. But as we traversed I-90 and listened to games, she enjoyed asking me questions. How was the team doing? Was the offense producing? Was Nelson Cruz living up to the hype? She didn't know that Kyle's grand slam was the Mariners first grand slam since Brad Miller hit one against the A's on September 28, 2013. 2013. She didn't remember that Kyle was a third round draft pick, or that he'd struggled in April. She didn't know any of that. All she knew was that Kyle Seager hit a grand slam and it was stupid fun. "I like that Kyle Seager kid!" she said as we danced around our room, tired from a day of driving, but exuberant.
We watched Fernando Rodney and Robinson Cano bungle away the 9th inning over salads made entirely of iceberg lettuce and burgers in the hotel bar. My mom turned to me and asked, "Gosh, how do you handle this every day?" We sat there, prepared to be heartbroken. Prepared to once again see a Mariners player lift his team up, only to have his efforts squandered. We were prepared as Nelson Cruz singled, and then was caught stealing. We were ready.
Fortunately, so was Kyle. Sweet Kyle, who you could practically hear say, "Oh good grief, I'll just do it myself." Kyle, who already had 5 RBI to his name that night, but thought, "Heck, why not one more?" Kyle, who made my mom shriek with delight at a baseball game, and white knuckle her way through Joe Beimel's final three outs, willing the team to win so his brilliance wouldn't be wasted. Kyle, whose performance inspired my mom to say, "If they had lost that, well..." before trailing off in the way that let's you know you're really in trouble, mister. Kyle, who looked at an 0-2 count and wasn't deterred. Kyle, who hit one home run to dead center all year, and did it on a night when his team needed him to win the game not once, but twice. Kyle, who is ours, and you can't have him.