There have been lots of stupid games. Especially this year. But this is a good thing: see, stupid in a way that it's actually stupid and not just Friday Evening. Stupid in a way that wait Eric Wedge is on MLB Network? Stupid in a way that hey remember when we got a Cano pt. I of II?
Well today the Mariners lost to the baseball team from Cleveland, Ohio, and while it wasn't "pretty" it was also not wholly shocking. Nathan Karns came out of the gate and he was throwing baseballs in the ninety-six miles-per-hour range. This was nice. He walked the first batter he saw then struck out a bunch. In fact, he was totally killing it until the fifth or so, when he finally gave up his first run of the game after back-to-back walks to Carlos Santana and Jason Kipnis (one second, please), survived through a forceout, another walk, and then a single. This was not nice.
And it was really something, too. After this aforementioned Cano blast in the bottom of the first, the Mariners were mostly nothing doing as the innings progressed. Karns was throwing some heat and lucking into some situations which didn't turn out the way that Safeco-bases-loadeds typically bring (for the visiting team, anyway). But this little mess in the fifth was just...well...take a look at this at bat, immediately after leading off the fifth inning with a strikeout:
Not quite an italics-Yikes, but boy those strikes could have been better. Alright, fine Mr. Karns, what did you have waiting for us a few seconds after?
Ah, see, this is fine, Roenis, because we got a new guy who can WAIT
MY GOD STOP WHAT ARE YOU DOING
The truth of the matter is that you just don't win baseball games after sequences like this. You don't. Now, the good news is that this, honestly, doesn't really say much about Mr. Karns in particular. Everyone has games and sequences and stretches which do certain things. But when you throw x amount of pitches in the places where each of these previous illustrated pitches land--too in the strikezone, too out--you just flat out lose. You lose. That's how baseball works.
Cleveland got one more run in the seventh to take a one-run lead, but Adam Lind quickly hit a dingerdongeroo out to tie the game at two a moment later. And then, with a call to Joaquin Benoit to replace our Future Lord and Savior Ediwn Diaz, it was al gone: a walk to Rajai Davis, a dinger to whatever the fuck a Tyler Naquin is, a fielding error from the very hand that tossed the pitch, and then a couple of timely grounders to give Cleveland three in the eighth. I never said it would be fair: but at least we didn't have the dang drum guy up in the rafters, huh?
Canó hit his 18th dinger of the season (!!!!!!!) an inning later, but by then it was all too late. The M's couldn't quite escape it with anything and they remain a measely 33-27 here in the second week of June, a thing you should definitely be mad about. Instead of caring about any of this I want to tell you a story.
Today I had to go to Boston to renew my passport. After the long wait I finally arrived at the counter and filled out my form. The pen was blue, and the paper had that really thin contact sheet underneath that copied all the marks from ballpoint pen to fingernail to too-hard-of-a-wrist-rest on top of it all. Next to me was a family needing rushes so they could get back home to the Philippines, behind them some guy who wanted a single day transfer so he could drive to Canada within the hour.
When my number was finally called the woman helping me looked me in the eye and said nothing, but really if we're being honest that said it all. I looked at her and I understood it then, I understood everything. Eventually I went home and took a shower and made some food and changed my clothes and sat on the couch and I watched the Mariners lose and I thought about the look in that woman's eyes and I thought about what she was actually saying without words. I watched Canó strike out with two on in the ninth and I thought about pressing the stamp down on the applications--click, clack, click, clack, click, clack. I thought about what that has to feel like every day and then I felt really guilty, because who the fuck am I to say she doesn't find some worth out of her job? Why do I think that something is better than something else, without experiencing any of it at all in the first place?
Robbie walked back to the dugout and the game was over but all I could think of was click, clack, click, clack, the passport stamp closing down upon forms filled with both exaggerations and stories of incredible lives I could never even think of having experienced. She will wake up tomorrow and go back to work and keep click, clack, click, clack-ing. So will these damned fools. I don't know if anything they stamp will last. But the thing about what I saw today is that it is all going to be stamped, permanently, regardless of what anybody says. And for that, well you had better buckle up and enjoy the ride.