Hello and wow, it feels like ages since I jumped in this saddle. Up here in Seattle, Fall seems to have rolled around pretty quickly and without any care for how much I love hot weather, so I picked up the Dictionary. In that book, full of words and things I don't know, I decided to focus on a certain word: autumnal. Autumnal is the kind of word that people throw around all the time and I just sorta nod my head like, "Yeah, yeah, I love the smell of mulling spices, too." But in a greater and more real sense, I do not know what it actually means. The Seattle Mariners won a game in autumn. My investigation continued. Essentially the entire purpose of this paragraph was to avoid the cliche of opening with a word's definition.
The first definition of the adjective is as follows, "belonging to or suggestive of autumn, produced or gathered in autumn." Wow, there's one for the Sleep Factory. Autumnal means something to do with autumn? What sort of freaking genius is writing the Dictionary these days? EINSTEIN MCNEWTON, I PRESUME?! Anyway, this definition is helpful only if you, in some sort of metaphysical or just overly-literal way, have a mental definition for precisely what autumn is. Personally, I have lived in too many different places the past autumns to have a mental reference so I turn to the Seattle Mariners.
Tonight's game was, somehow, started by a man named Edgar Olmos. This man pitched 1 and 1/3 innings, giving up six hits, four earned runs, a walk, a home run, and no strikeouts. Edgar Olmos got a no-decision. He also maintained one hell of a mustache throughout and continuing, presumably, to this moment in time. He's a blessed man. In total, the Mariners pitched eight different men tonight, it being now firmly in the time of year where there are fresh faces on the rosters. It would be a relatively safe bet to make that 98% of us on this site were aware of a maximum of two of the pitchers who pitched for us tonight back in March, but an 11-8 win doesn't always, nay rarely elicits, a dazzling performance on the mound.
Yes, yes. In the time of autumn where there are now SO MANY different sporting events to watch, it was hard to sit down, see the beautiful, mid-80s skies of the Bay, and watch our Hometown Nine go down 4-0 early and not wander off to something else. Oakland always feels like such a drag. But, lo and behold! The light through which yonder window breaks! It is the East, and the Mariners' Offense is the Sun. We came back.
Franklin Gutierrez left the game very early and with groin tightness and things seemed quite bleak and dark. Was that a sentence from 2012? No, it is September 4th, 2015, silly! Stephen Romero subbed in for him and I'm pretty sure anyone still with eyes on the game rolled them. It gets better. Eventually, the Seattle Mariners would tie the game at 5-5 after a Logan Morrison, bases-loaded double that scored two. The next batter was Center Fielder Brad Miller who doubled as well, scoring Mark Trumbo and Lomo and putting the Mariners up 7-5. They would never look back, again.
Cheap Lindsay Buckingham references aside, the Mariners took advantage of a pitching staff worse than their own despite a large, early hole and the bullpen eventually found its traction enough to close the door late. A 13-hit, 11-run performance should not be the required amount to get things done night after night, but there are 27 games left in the season, and whatever lies beyond, and we just take them how we get them. Kyle Seager had three hits, including a home run, Romero had a blast of his own, LoMo had three hits, and Ketel Marte had a multiple hit night as well. The offense is there.
On May 29th, the M's beat the Indians 2-1 to get to 24-24. Then they lost seven in a row. Have gone .500 in 70 games and three months since.
— Colin O'Keefe (@colinokeefe) September 5, 2015
There is a second definition of the word: "past maturity or middle life." Autumn, when the leaves lose their will to breathe and fall in their final breath, the harvest is in and the larder full, when the creek begins to run again. When fresh-faced boys named Zych and Hicks, Ramirez and Kensing, Marte, too, all play for Seattle. It seems an interesting contrast, that in a season that has by almost all, and for good reason, been declared lost, for new blood to come and cut their teeth in the hardest game we know. In the face of a season past maturity, what good can be made of fighting against Time's inevitable march toward the gates? Well, the starry sky willin' and the creek don't rise, it is that second phrase of the definition.
This season isn't past maturity. This is the middle life. There are 27 games left to play. Between that final day and the next game there will either be a large gap or a small one, but either way, in that middle time, we will miss the Game. We are only given so many, and even rarer are the chances where we can find honest reflection. Think back to the time between April and now. I know so much has changed for me, and it isn't just the leaves on the trees. Yes, this game took four hours, it was autumnal. Yes, this team has won three in a row, it is autumnal. This is the middle life.
To make the projected second wild card spot, the Seattle Mariners must close the season going 19-8. That isn't crazy. The winds have simply changed.