Here's the deal. I have a lot to say about this game and some of it is about baseball but I guess even more of it is about life. For almost 100 games, we have all watched, powerlessly, as the Seattle Mariners played up to somewhere below the 30th percentile of their projection. That's bullshit and we don't deserve it and there's a million different little reasons that have come together to make that sad truth a reality, but forget it. Seriously, forget all that shit back there. It bears nothing on the game that will be played tomorrow. Tonight was Reason Number One that we are all here as baseball fans but more importantly, Mariners fans. Felix Hernandez pitched, Mark Trumbo homered, and the loud and rowdy fans from north of the border were given their just compensation for filling our hallowed ground with their debauchery: a sad plate of poutine.
Relish in that. Almost two-hundred years ago, a dispute broke out for the San Juan Islands due to an open-ended clause in assigning them to British or American control. A pig was killed for rooting through a potato farm and that almost started a war preceding the American Civil War. It would have ripped apart our nation at two seams. That island is one that you can travel to with our ferry system. You do not have to show a passport to get there. A Toronto Blue Jays fan, Drake and all, travelling down for a Big Weekend in Seattle, would have to. That island is ours. As was this game.
This is fun to be able to say, because the game started with the player on our team most likely to be in a fight on Capitol Hill tonight doing something stupid. One run for the bad guys on a fielding blunder by LoMo and it felt ominous, we would, once again, fail to win back-to-back games. However, the only other player on the field MORE likely to do that, Joshua Donaldson, decided he could one-up him. They probably fought at Unicorn tonight. Or hugged over jello shots. I don't know, I wasn't there for it. Anyway, it's been almost literally forever since the M's won back-to-back games, but whenever the King is in his Jurisdiction, you have to like your odds and he delivered. Felix threw seven-full innings, piling up seven strikeouts, allowing one earned run to Joey Bats on a solo-smash to left, and only giving up one walk. The Royal Curve was back and made Jose Reyes its fool. It wasn't even vintage-Felix but was still a start that anyone not named Kershaw would pray to have on the regular. The game ended with Motown and Journey.
What I want to get to is this:
Look at that person at a Mariners game. Look at the guys to his right, the girl sitting down. Now look at the two guys wearing the colors of the opposing team. Thousands of people like them came in to your house today, stomped all over your new, suede couch with their filthy cowboy boots, and rooted for your least-favorite thing to happen. Some guy you don't even know, be it the Trumbombadier or that guy up there making that outrageous catch, did you a solid. The kindness of strangers happens daily at a baseball game. They said, "This one's on us," pointed out that those Jays fans both belong in 1983, and then also pointed to the scoreboard. The scoreboard eventually read 5-2, Mariners. And they moved back to seven games under.
It's time I admitted to something. I love this team. I love Mark Trumbo, Dustin Ackley, The Smiths, Rodney, Happ, Montgomery; I love the whole damn crew. And that can be damning. It's hard and sometimes a bad idea to admit that you love something. You are putting yourself out there for ridicule, embarrassment, and pain. You are also doing those things with the risk of something amazing happening. What if they love you back? Too often, our culture wants us to hide behind sarcasm and nonchalance in order to keep us from the pain of honest feeling. Feel this moment.
If you were at the game tonight, and I so very much wish I was, I'm sure that's how you felt. The game ended with the organization throwing you a fireworks show moments after it just shut up thousands of away fans. The team had eleven at-bats with a runner on third and only scored two runs in those scenarios, one from a passed-ball. Brad Miller was caught sleeping at third base on a called play between Navarro and Donaldson.* SCREW THAT. Do you know what fans of Pittsburgh, St. Louis, shit the Twins even right now, care about? Not that. They care if they won. Care about that, even if it's just tonight. Enjoy that. Love that.
We may be developing one of the best closers in the game before our eyes. Our off-season "over-spend" went 3-3 tonight with a walk and has been an absolute monster for the majority of the season. Felix held court. Trumbo went yard. Zunino worked a count then doubled, again. I can actually remember him doing that twice now. The Mariners won. There were literal fireworks. The Mariners are streaking.
*Since this is the second time they have pulled this off, and Donaldson was literally blocking the entire bag, I would not be surprised if this play becomes an off-season rule change.