As I write this, not only is it past midnight in Seattle, it’s past 3 a.m. on the East Coast, where I woke up probably an hour ago and checked in on the Mariners score, only to see that it was the bottom of the 13th inning.
Now, previous Mariner teams have rolled over in these situations. And when I say previous, I basically mean “every iteration for the past six years.” Here’s a list of the longest games played by the M’s each season from 2010 through last season:
- 2015 - Mariners lost a 13-inning contest against Oakland on October 3, 7-5.
- 2014 - Mariners lost a 16-inning marathon against Anaheim on July 18, 3-2.
- 2013 - Mariners lost a 16-inning absurdity against Chicago on June 6, 6-5.
- 2012 - Mariners lost an 18-inning nightmare against Baltimore on September 18, 4-2.
- 2011 - Mariners lost a 14-inning heartbreaker against Toronto on July 19, 6-5.
- 2010 - Mariners lost a 14-inning shocker against Anaheim on September 10, 4-3.
The last time the M’s won a game this long? You have to go all the way back to May 3, 2009 against the Oakland Athletics. That game was started by Chris Jakubauskas and featured relief appearances from Denny Stark, Miguel Batista, and Jason Vargas. Jason Giambi started the game at first base for the A’s. That’s how long ago we’re talking.
The victory also gives the M’s seven walkoff wins this season. Seven! The last time the Mariners had that many walkoff victories in one year, it was, perhaps uncoincidentally, 2009, in Year One of the Jack Zduriencik/Don Wakamatsu regime. That was a Happy Year. We didn’t worry about things like Pythagorean record - although maybe we should have.
Instead, we simply enjoyed baseball. We watched a flawed team enjoy a magical season, one that came close to the mythical beast that is the postseason. Sure, there were things to nitpick and discuss. But it’s just as important to appreciate the ride, or as former manager Lloyd McClendon would say, to enjoy the journey.
There are so many heroes we could focus on. Robinson Cano has been outstanding this season, rebounding from a dreadful ‘15 campaign to resume his rightful place as one of the best players in all of baseball. Kyle Seager has come through time and time again. Edwin Diaz has been, put simply, the most dominant reliever I’ve ever seen. And on, and on, and on.
Your Seattle Mariners Baseball Club has now won five consecutive games. It was barely a few weeks ago that we were counting this team out, that we debated not if we should sell, but which players should go. But after dealing Wade Miley, Jerry Dipoto decided it wasn’t worthwhile to keep shedding talent. And he was very careful in his public statements after the deal was made:
We are appreciative of everything that Wade did for the Mariners organization, culminating with his best performance of the season yesterday against the Chicago Cubs, one of the best teams in the league. We are glad that Wade can go from one team in playoff contention to another, and to a division that he has had success in during his career. This decision is the best move for the Mariners present and future.
“...from one team in playoff contention to another.”
This certainly wasn’t a win-now move that a deal for Zack Cozart would have qualified as. But it wasn’t a white flag, either. Because you never know when a team is going to go on a winning streak, or what event will push the team over the edge.
Last night’s game could be that spark. There’s some fight here. Just beneath the surface lies a team born amidst calamity, built amidst turmoil, coming of age as we speak. A team with stars new and old, grizzled and baby-faced, expected and unexpected. A rookie manager who is getting his sea legs under him.
Something’s brewing down at Safeco Field. Something’s happening. The Seattle Mariners are making a run. And they’re doing so right in front of us.
#Mariners get after it tonight at Safeco Field vs. Tigers. M's have won 4 straight. 6 of 7. #KeepFighting pic.twitter.com/TN9mwo8ZUQ— Kevin Martinez (@Kevin_Martinez) August 9, 2016
Keep this rolling. Keep the energy. #KeepFighting.