One of the first Mariner games that I can remember attending occurred in 2001. There were a lot of phenomenal games that year, but for some reason this one sticks out to me. I don’t remember if the Mariners won or lost. I just remember that early in the game, Mark McLemore committed a defensive gaffe so disgustingly bad that my dad spat on the ground and said “that was some Little League shit.” I was scoring the game by hand, and the scorebook that I was using had a section for “worst play of the game.” I, being eight years old, just scribbled down “Little League” in that section. Ever since, atrocious defense brings me back to that day.
Just in case you haven’t been following it over the last 10 days, today is the final day of the Little League World Series. As I write this, Japan and Texas are facing off in the championship game. And I’ll be honest: this Mariners game has been so spectacularly unenjoyable that I’ve been flipping over to the Little League game instead. It is an odd coincidence that on the day that Little League is most relevant, the Mariners have not only brought back that memory of my dad spitting on the ground and introducing me to cursing, they’ve brute forced it to the front of my mind’s eye.
With Andrew Albers against Masahiro Tanaka, the darkness was always a favorite to engulf us. As Jon Snow once said “battles have been won against greater odds”. For a moment, it seemed like maybe he was right.
Uh, yeah. It lasted about 10 minutes before the darkness did, indeed, engulf us.
So then it was 5-1, soon it was 6-1. Only one of those runs was earned. Albers ended up giving up two more runs, for a total of 8 R and 3 ER. Feels bad.
Meanwhile, Masahiro Tanaka pitched like Masahiro Tanaka. 7 innings, 10 strikeouts, 1 walk. There’s not a whole lot more to be said.
Maybe the Little League teams pulled some Space Jam shit on the Mariners and swapped talent levels or something. Maybe the Mariners got really fucked up last night and were all hung over. Who knows? Regardless, it’s over.
If you still have a hankering for baseball (why), flip over to ESPN and turn on the Championship game. I’ll probably be either doing that or reading some Albert Camus to try to make sense of the existential dread that this game has forced me to experience.
Darkness 1, Mariners 0.