Well, folks, what a long, strange journey it has been up to this point. We've had the ups and downs of the past fifteen years somehow thrown about into eighty-plus games of baseball as if raw emotion and memory were so many pennies stuck in your car's back row. We've had walk off home runs, the return of Paxton, Edwin "The Balrog" Diaz, the fall of Norichicka Aoki, Zunino's two-homer cup o' joe, and all the little hells we could imagine. The sweeps by the Angels, the Twins, the Astros, the early season hole we dug, the Pujols bomb and the Fielder one, too. There have been injuries to the injuries. The die have been cast against us, yet we've still found joy, hell bound into fury we have ridden our skeleton horse through the very gates of Hades despite the circumstance. We have gone headfirst into a pool of the most fanged and deranged beasts of the Wild, prepared accordingly, and stand with fresh fields ahead. And that is what I'm here to toast. I'm here to toast competence.
You see, used to be, for more than a decade, this team was assembled of a few meaningful names and then a bunch of expired band aids held together with duct tape, a spot of food-grade grease, and the bungee cord from the back of your uncle's Jeep. The names going back to fill out the roster from team's past are shocking reminders of just how bad this team has been for a long time, and by design. Just last season Willie Bloomquist started on the Opening Day Roster, but there are past names that feel like so many bad ghosts: Chris Denorfia, Robert Andino, Dan Cortes, Matt Mangini, Bill Hall, and the list goes on and ever deeper. This roster, this year, things have been different.
Sure, there's a chance that we will look back at names like Wade LeBlanc, Daniel Robertson, Shawn O'Malley, and think the same of those other names above, but none of these were or are counted on as contributing pieces of a talented roster. They are stopgaps, and better ones, at that, than some of the names above. No, today we are toasting competence. A competent roster assembled of veritable stars and complementary pieces that comprise a 25 Man roster that is one of the elite offenses of the league, while boasting a middle-of-the-pack pitching staff. The roster has been so competently constructed that even injuries to four of the five starting pitchers, while sending the team scuffling, hasn't ended postseason dreams. They have won more games than they've lost. How rare is that phrase upon our lips?
My friends, this toast draws long, so let me say this final thing. Despite the wild and wicked journey, tearing us apart at these frayed and fettered seams we were made with, embrace this chaos. Life is a day upon the beach, staring into calm seas that at any moment can turn to terrible waves and a wretched storm. As the waves crash down upon you, I challenge you to fight in stoic rage, to stare into the storm, the chaos, and challenge your reply, "Do your worst." You're a Mariner, after all. Have a beer.