Listen. There are people out there who are going to tell you that this is the end. That this is the worst it's ever been. Nothing good can come from this. When's football season? The Mariners will never change. Shit, maybe even you think that. Go for it. That's fine.
But remember this. Remember that the Seattle Mariners are 34-31. Three games over .500. Remember that the Seattle Mariners are in the heart of playoff contention. Remember that it's halfway through June and that you care more about this season of baseball than so many countless others. There's a reason you care so much. It's not because it's bad. It's because it's good. Hell, it's better than you deserve.
The Mariners have lost their last six one-run games. It's all felt very 2015 as of late. When the offense has gone full throttle, the pitching has limped along, and vice-versa. Perhaps right now we are in the part of the season we all look back on and remember as the worst of the season, that's quite likely. When the only offense in a five-hour contest comes from a Corey Dickerson single and sac fly and a Nelson Cruz two-run blast, until Logan Morrison draws a walk in the dying embers of the thirteenth inning to close out an M's loss, it feels like we're scraping the bottom of the barrel here. The strike zone tonight was called by Sean Barber, yes that guy, and looked like this -
Despite this abomination to baseball, for the second night in a row, the M's pitching staff, all six arms used tonight, combined for nineteen strike outs. That's a whole lot, even in thirteen innings. Nate Karns was lifted, on a night where we needed him to go at least six, with no outs in the sixth. He wasn't being demolished or anything, but the command was spotty, despite the eight strike outs, and Evan Longoria had just smashed a double to start the inning. Scott Servais didn't plan that he'd have to lean on his bullpen for another eight full innings of work. Yet, Vidal Nuno, Nick Vincent, and Steve Cishek would work seven masterful innings to allow the offense a chance to score a single run. Mike Montgomery was not so generous. The team is going to need to make a move for a bullpen arm. The road trip is long, the longest of the season, in fact, and the arms are already taxed after the second game.
It doesn't help that this, the one-run losses, the losing Felix and Ketel and Leonys, the alternating nights-off between the offense, defense, and pitching, has all coincided with Texas lighting the entire league on fire. And maybe that's why you think the season is done. You've been "hurt" before or whatever you want to call it. In another, more real sense, though, you've not been hurt at all. You've been given the great joy of baseball, of leisure time for sport, throughout your life. This insignificant thing has been made of the utmost significance simply by your choice. And at this moment, it is so enthralling, so delicious, that you can't help but take another bite, tomorrow.
You might think the season is over simply because the Seattle Mariners just lost one game to the Tampa Bay Rays. And, when we look back on the next ninety-some games come October, you just might be right. But, no matter what, you'll be wrong. Tonight, tomorrow, the next day, the Mariners are not and will not be done. Their season is just beginning. I understand it's hard. The things we love we always desire to gift at their one-hundred percent capacity. It simply isn't realistic. Yet, we are human and thus faulted. Love, a feeling quite like fandom, is, in essence, faulted.
Yet, you are staring into the face of something you do love and deeply. Something that you've given too much time to. That's broken you. Yet, in some ways, you are not faultless in this. You are not some weak and weeping thing. You have chosen, time after time, to care about the Seattle Mariners. To watch a five hour contest that ends in a walk-off walk by a mediocre first baseman who spent the entirety of last season punching a ticket out of Seattle. You chose to care as the Mariners left countless runners on base, as they failed to score for the final eight innings of a thirteen-inning contest. In a game that was maddeningly boring, you chose to search for meaning in it. To attempt to find joy or solace in it. That isn't because it's over. That isn't because the Seattle Mariners are done.
No, you, me, us, all of them, we all did that because this is very much alive. And we have no clue where it ends. And the joy is in the terror of not knowing.
let the biz times roll