It’s really hard to be a Seattle sports fan for more than a few years and not approach fandom with a fatalistic outlook. With the exception of the Seahawks’ Super Bowl win a few years ago, we have become accustomed to failure. Feeling downtrodden and defeated is the norm.
There have been moments, especially after James Paxton got hurt last year, during which I’ve genuinely wondered whether the Mariners would make the playoffs during my lifetime. It seems like a silly thing to wonder - I’m young, and how the organization looks now will have little bearing on how it looks years in the future. It’s just how I’ve been conditioned.
And yet, for whatever reason, it’s all too easy to convince ourselves that this is our time. It’s our time because we’re due. It’s our time because it just has to be. It’s our time because we deserve it, god dammit. We haven’t made the playoffs in 16 years, and we deserve to. Those fucking Angels sure don’t. They’ve even won a World Series during those 16 years. It seems obvious which ones are the White Hats and which are the Black Hats.
Wouldn’t it be something, we mused. If Shohei Ohtani came to Seattle, and changed everything. The symbolism. The catharsis. And to choose us over the Angels and the Yankees, no less! How meaningful it would be.
I regret to inform you that the universe is meaningless. Any symbolism is manufactured by the mind.
People will probably boo Ohtani when he comes to Safeco next year. They’ll boo him for the perceived slight on justice - he chose the Bad Guys over the Good Guys, which makes him a Bad Guy. I won’t blame anyone that boos him. I might boo him. It might make me feel better.
But the reality is that Shohei Ohtani did what he thought was best for him. His decision means that the Mariners will probably be on the outside looking in for at least another 5 years. But that isn’t why he did it. To him, the trials and tribulations of Mariner fans are as meaningless as some Uzbekistani cricket results.
Just because we’ve suffered for 16 years, that doesn’t mean we’re ineligible to suffer for another 16. It’s hard to be anything other than depressed right now.