It began, as it always does, with one.
One pitch, just poorly located enough to score one run, on May one, at the top of inning one, from number one in the lineup.
In his first full season with the Dodgers, then-shortstop Dee Gordon took full advantage of Jhoulys Chacin and the ever-so-friendly confines of Coors Field to wallop his first career home run into deep right field.
And then there was peace until, 375 days later, he did it again; this time in Los Angeles, off of a 2-0 pitch from Marlins starter Kevin Slowey.
Gordon doubled his displays of power in 2014, with a leadoff solo shot off of 2013 Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer and a two-run homer off of Josh Collmenter, who I’m sure was also trying his best.
2015 saw 2014’s doubled numbers double once more, although it’s fair to note that one of those home runs was an inside-the-park-er against Ryan Vogelsong and the San Francisco Giants, who were not playing during an even year.
In 2016 it was back to one. But oh, what a one.
“I don’t have kids, so hitting a HR for José Fernandez is the best moment of my life,” said Gordon, in a postgame interview.
2017 offered few moments that could even begin to usurp the one above, though a lead-off bomb off of Yu Darvish certainly wasn’t too shabby, nor was his pinch hit solo shot in the top of the eighth inning against the Atlanta Braves in September.
And then there was this...
Think @FlashGJr is enjoying his time in Seattle so far? pic.twitter.com/C1t33ub5Qu— MLB (@MLB) April 1, 2018
Dee Gordon hitting a home run is not a Kyle Seager-esque story of a player overcoming scouting reports and expectations. Rather, each of Gordon’s home runs is a reminder that we are each capable, and deserving, of our own moments of excellence.
The Seattle Mariners might be good this season. They also might not be good. Perhaps most realistically of all, they might not be good enough. For this team to succeed, to push that rock to the top of the hill, and hold it at the summit for even just a moment, it seems as though they have to be operating at the very height of their collective abilities. But Dee’s home run begs us to push our preconceived notions (of him, this team, our definition of success) to the side, and embrace the surprises.
To paraphrase Walt Whitman:
(Dee Gordon is (not) large, he contains multitudes)
The Mariners are large, they contain multitudes