Day 4 - The Comeback
There are some events in life that you remember exactly where you were when they happened. Maybe it’s hearing about a celebrity’s death (Michael Jackson comes to mind) or a major trade involving one of your teams (Jimmy Graham, for me - this is possibly proof that I overemphasize sports in my life).
And sometimes, the events you remember are huge comebacks. I still remember checking the newspaper that day in Leavenworth, Washington, having shut the game off in the seventh inning assuming it was over, and being stunned by the score I saw. A double-digit comeback? That never happens!
Of course, I’m referring to 2001, when the Cleveland Indians completed the greatest comeback in baseball history against the greatest regular-season team in baseball history.
That game, which cost the M’s a chance at standing alone atop the all-time single-season wins record, was a stunning example of a collapse. The M’s had a 14-2 lead as late as the seventh inning, but allowed three in the seventh, four in the eighth, and five in the ninth before losing in extras.
But this past summer, the Mariners exorcised those demons with a comeback for the ages of their own.
I was in a bar in the U District with a couple friends of mine, including LL’s own John Trupin, watching Game 1 of the NBA Finals. After seeing the Dubs drub the Cavs, we switched over and figured we’d watch the last few innings of the M’s game; sure, we were down by quite a lot, but we had some guys on base and we had some beer left to finish, so might as well stay.
It’s 12-2. Sixth inning. Bases loaded. Kyle Seager, who started the scoring in the first with an RBI single, doubles home a pair to cut the deficit to eight. And then Dae-Ho Lee, the one and only, decides to make things interesting.
In fairness, when Brad Hand gives you this pitch, you probably should hit it out.
So now it’s a five-run game. Things are getting interesting.
In the seventh, the M’s get a single, a walk, and a hit-by-pitch, but a long at-bat from Nelson Cruz ends in a strikeout, meaning Kyle Seager is now up with two outs.
[Just watch this a second time. Maybe even a third. And listen to Dave Sims - this is one of his best calls, in my opinion.]
And these hits aren’t exactly coming from the AL All-Star Team. In fact, it’s entirely possible that only one of those seven consecutive singles will have come from a player starting for - or even on - the 2017 Seattle Mariners. I mean, check out this list:
- Dae-Ho Lee
- Chris Iannetta
- Stefen Romero
- Shawn O’Malley
- Norichika Aoki
- Franklin Gutierrez
We’re not exactly talking about the 1927 Yankees Murderers’ Row here.
And yet, that’s what made the comeback that much more special. It was a collection of dinky little singles, hit just in the right spot with just the right exit velocity, from a cavalcade of unlikely sources. Heck, Cody Martin got the win! This game was quintessential Mariners, and watching it with two of my best friends, with the bar going crazy with each hit, was proof.
This town can, and absolutely will, rally behind a playoff team. So let’s go get one of them, huh?
Happy holidays, Merry Christmas, and Go M’s.