Nelson Cruz woke up suddenly at 5 AM. He had been exhausted from the time zone change and the back-to-back thrashings at the hands of the Nationals. His legs were a bit sore from playing in right field for the first time this season two days before, but he suddenly felt compelled to get up and walk. His mind was racing. A nice morning walk will be good, he thought.
He stepped out of the hotel and into the already muggy Washington, DC, morning. He quickly realized he’d never really explored the nation’s capital that much before. He took a right, then a left, then another left, and a round monument jutting out into a body of water caught his eye. He made his way toward the Jefferson Memorial.
When he got there, he found it completely empty and incredibly peaceful as the light of day slowly got brighter around him. He stood in silence, gazing at the statue of the third American President. He closed his eyes for a bit, trying to savor the silence of the moment.
Nelson eyes sprang open, his heart jumping into his throat.
“Who...what....who said that?” Nelson stammered.
“Dingers, Nelson,” Thomas Jefferson said. “Give the people what they want. And the people want dingers.”
“Oh no...am I dead? Did I just have a stroke?” Nelson asked.
“No, it is I, Thomas Jefferson,” the statue said. “I get to occasionally address those who enter my monument at this hour. I must say, I’m a big fan, Nelson. And do you know why? Dingers, Nelson. That’s why. You hit dingers like the sluggers of yore.”
Nelson stared at the talking statue, wide-eyed, trying to wrap his head around Thomas Jefferson knowing anything about baseball or the “sluggers of yore” who existed hundreds of years after his death.
“Listen, I know the Mariners are struggling. It’s nothing new, right?” Jefferson said. “But, you have the power to stop this. You know you do. So...just go out there and do it, Nelson. Hit a dinger today. Beat the silly Nationals.”
“You don’t like the Nationals?” Nelson asked.
“Ha! Senators forever!” Jefferson exclaimed. “Those imposters are nothing but French Canadians wearing America’s colors.”
Again, Nelson was speechless.
“Anyways, Nelson. Don’t forget,” Jefferson said. “DINGERS.”
And a dinger Nelson Cruz did hit. The Mariners ended their losing streak at 5 and won the getaway game in DC, avoiding a sweep.
Perhaps due to the last minute change in start time, Nationals Park was largely empty as the game began. The stands looked like a cold Tuesday at Safeco versus the A’s. One inning in, this man here decided he’d had enough.
The seats slowly filled in a bit over time as Ariel Miranda worked efficiently through the first four innings until running into some trouble in the fifth inning. The Mariners helped Gio Gonzalez appear efficient throughout his appearance despite very iffy command.
Overall, Miranda continued his current run of highly competent pitching going 5 innings with three hits, three walks, and four strike outs. Check out Miranda striking out generational talent Bryce Harper here on three pitches like it’s no big deal.
Alas, the Mariners fell behind 2-0 in the fifth inning. Manager Scott Servais, clearly tired of all this shit, got himself ejected while still in the dugout in top of sixth after arguing balls and strikes during Guillermo Heredia’s at bat. He came out to chat with the umpire after being tossed, but the confrontation was more “I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed” than a Lou Pinella or Lloyd McClendon fireball of bombast and base throwing.
Shortly thereafter, Nelson Cruz remembered Thomas Jefferson’s sage words of advice and put the team ahead 3-2 with one vicious swing of the bat.
Wow, a lead! But, guess what? The bullpen was good today! Pitchers were used correctly AND they didn’t fuck up. What a time to be alive! Zych, Pazos, Vincent, and Rzepczynski all kept the place clean and tidy for Edwin Diaz to come along and close it out with little drama in the bottom of the ninth. Oh, and Adam Lind showed up and got a single. Thanks for not hitting a home run, Adam. Much appreshed.
Next up is a trip to the friendly, hard-working Northeastern city of Boston. The boys are shipping up to Boston, one could say if one were a corny idiot (Hello). Geez, I sure hope the blue collar, perennial underdog Boston sports fans get something to cheer about during this series. It’s about time something good happened for them.