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Mariners lose to Cleveland: A LEGO Adventure

Sorry, everyone.

The sun wasn’t quite up yet when Mariners Pitcher awoke. Slivers of light snuck through the narrow gaps of the old, worn down buildings, but the darkness persisted.

He was enjoying these cool September mornings, the kind that paired well with a steaming cup of french roast and a warm, buttery croissant. They were chilly and the smell of rain clung to the air with ease, wafting through the city streets and hitting you the moment you opened a door or cracked a window.

Mariners Pitcher made his way down the stairs and to the kitchen, where he rummaged through the poorly-filled cupboards. There were ingredients–flour, yeast, cayenne pepper, an old can of kidney beans, and a small jar of peanut butter, to name a few–but nothing that seemed to add up to an actual meal. Grimacing and accepting the fact that he should have gone to the grocery store the previous night while riding the high energy levels Nelson Cruz’s walk-off provided, Mariners Pitcher reached for the lonely tea bag tucked away in the corner, dropped it into his mug of hot water, and snatched a couple “how long do they last after the Sell By date?” eggs from the fridge. As he cooked, the sun began making its way through the city, shooting out over the entire area in an instant.

The breakfast wasn’t great, but it was filling. And it wasn’t as if Mariners Pitcher had been allowed the luxury of preparing a hearty breakfast anyway–his game was at 1 p.m. today, and he wanted to be at the ballpark much sooner to watch tape and get his sore knee checked out. These plans, mixed with the relentlessness of Seattle traffic, meant he had to leave now.

His dishes were cleaned. His teeth were brushed. His deodorant was applied. His hair was combed, and he was off.

Mariners Pitcher thought of the game as he weaved through the city streets. Would he pitch? Would he start? Would he close? There were so very many pitchers on the team who were nearing inning limits or returning from major injuries or fighting minor injuries or something of that nature. If anything, this season had taught him flexibility, and why they always insisted you put it on your resume.

Relief came about as he was finally able to turn off the busy streets and make his way into the friendly confines of Safeco Field. He still remembered the first time he attempted to pull in through the player’s entrance, and how hard of a time the security guard had given him.

“No, I swear, I’m the new Mariners Pitcher,” Mariners Pitcher had said, “I was just called up from Tacoma.”

“Oh yeah?” the security guard barked, “how come I’ve never heard of you?”

“They only traded for me a few days ago.”

Two phone calls and a side-by-side comparison of a photo from later, Mariners Pitcher was in.

Things were easier now. He was greeted daily with a warm smile, a “you’re not in Tacoma today?” joke, and a light chuckle.

Mariners Pitcher quickly changed into his uniform–a Saturday ritual–and made his way to the film room. As he had requested, the projector had already been set up with clip after clip of A) Cleveland hitters last night and B) Mariners Pitcher’s last outing. He sat in silence, furiously taking notes, both written and mental.

At one point, he made it to the part of his last outing where he’d sat down a hitter with a filthy off-speed pitch. The image of the batter flailing and subtly stumbling in the box made him smile.

After a few other morning chores and routines, Mariners Pitcher made his way out to the bullpen to get some stretching and throwing in. His arm felt fresh and alive on the first throw, and it remained that way all throughout the session.

He passed along this information to everyone who happened to be within shouting distance, but was always met with the same retort.

“Andrew and Marco today. Maybe after.”

“Moore and Marco.”


Mariners Pitcher shrugged and took his seat in the bullpen.

He had hoped the cool air would chill Cleveland’s bats, but this immediately proved to not be the case. Francisco Lindor, the very first batter of the game, drove an Andrew Moore fastball high and deep over the right field wall to give Cleveland a 1-0 lead. The whole bullpen groaned.

“We’ll get that one back,” Mariners Pitcher clapped out, “we’ll get that back.”

Moore settled down and retired three of the next four hitters to end the inning.

Two innings later, Moore again found himself in trouble. Following a Lindor double, Austin Jackson sent a line drive into center field and all hell proceeded to break loose. Guillermo Heredia picked up the ball and attempted to fire it home in time to nab Lindor. Yonder Alonso, thinking quickly, tried to cut the throw off and catch Jackson going to second, but he mishandled the ball and had it glance off of his glove and towards Mike Zunino. Zunino, also looking to make a play, tried to fire the ball into second, but an off-line throw went soaring into center field, and Jackson ultimately advanced to third.

Andrew Moore was forced to watch the entire play go down, totally helpless and woefully innocent.

The rest of the game would go equally poor.

When the offense finally managed to scratch across a run in the sixth inning on a Kyle Seager double, Cleveland responded with two more runs (also involving a Yonder Alonso error) in the 7th inning. When Nelson Cruz hit a dinger in the 8th to pull the Mariners within four runs, Cleveland responded with two dingers and five runs in the top of the ninth against Ariel Miranda.

And then came the ninth inning, and the only part of the game that mattered. With no outs and Mike Zunino standing on first, Daniel Vogelbach stepped to the plate as a pinch hitter and sent a line drive single to right field. Time stopped, Mariners fans roared, and Mariners Pitcher rose to his feet to applause his dear, large adult friend.

The Mariners would score two runs in the inning on RBI singles from Taylor Motter and Robinson Cano, but the offense would eventually relent. The final score: Cleveland 11 - Mariners 4.

Mariners Pitcher retreated to the locker room alone. He changed quickly and left, preferring to walk home instead of using his usual wheels. The ambience of autumn he’d been in love with just a few short hours ago now seemed haunting.

The season was ending. The playoffs weren’t happening. Barring some previously unseen miracle, the playoffs weren’t happening. In a few short days, his baseball season would be over and the cold weather would flood in.

Mariners Pitcher passed grocery store after grocery store, hanging his shoulders the whole way. By the time he made it back to his apartment, his sore knee ached and the rest of his body desired a bed. He looked up at his apartment–the one he’d found through a friend of a friend of a friend–and sighed. It was a crappy, broken down place with tattered walls and leaky faucets, but there was a charm that came with living above a Pet Shop and he would miss it very much.

In a few days he’d be back home in his small town of Wolf Point, Montana, which might as well have been a few lightyears from Seattle.

“Maybe next year,” Mariners Pitcher thought as he plopped down onto his bed and pulled a sleep mask over his eyes.

“Maybe next year.”