We fell asleep last night in the year 2018. Our Seattle Mariners were secure in the hunt for a playoff spot after another great performance from a young starting pitcher. We perceive time to be linear and yet we stumbled upon the Mariner game this evening to find that the year is 2027.
A wizened veteran stood upon the mound, staring down his challengers. Once known throughout as The King, he faced a band of Royals determined to knock him from his shaky throne. The occasion recalled a game that seemed to have happened not long ago.
The legend of that game has lived for a score of years. It promised great things for the future Mariners: Good pitching, good hitting, and lots of fun.
And fun we would have as we arrived in this magical year once again. Our King, Félix Hernández and his joyful protector of the Second Quadrant took the field with backwards caps and untucked jerseys, much like the lighthearted friends of fun we remembered from our last trip to the future, Ken Griffey Jr. and Jay Buhner.
Before Félix could settle into his place on the Upper Pod the umpire, an obvious agent of the enemy Royals, required him to turn his cap forward. Perhaps this was upsetting to the King, to wear the same style of hat he had 9 seasons ago for he fell into a familiar pattern of letting the first inning escape his rule. Whit Merrifield struck on the first pitch offered with line drive into center field. On a 1-2 count the protector of the 4th Quadrant, Mike Zunino called for a pitch out. Rosell Herrera guided it out to left sector. Mike Moustakas stepped up to launch a 3-run laser, striking what would have been a fatal blow in years past.
A trusty advisor walked to the Upper Pod to offer the King some advice. Félix then faced his Royal adversaries and turned them away to escape the first inning.
A King cannot defend his kingdom alone. He needs his team, and heavy artillery.
Dee Gordon stepped to the plate where the enemy’s agent again was determined to ruin the fun. With a sour expression, he neatly tucked in his jersey. Again the enemy’s agent was successful as Dee popped out. But the team behind him knew how to pick him up. Jean Segura singled and Mitch Haniger doubled him in to send a message to the King and his Royal challengers that this team would not yield so easily. Although he wouldn’t provide runs, Nelson Cruz stepped to the plate, displaying his weapons without discretion:
Like he had those 9 seasons long ago, Félix settled in the second inning and set down his opponents in order. His weapons may not be what they once were, but he had learned to fight to defend his team. The bottom of the second saw Denard Span flaunting his guns and reaching the first quadrant, putting him in position to score when Ryon Healy launched the baseball into orbit to tie the game.
c'mon Denard that move is so 2018 pic.twitter.com/CMJqKHbSQM— Lookout Landing (@LookoutLanding) July 1, 2018
Ben Gamel unleashed the beast, literally:
He flew through the quadrants, hitting a triple a sliding Alex Gordon couldn’t quite catch. Sometimes a space battle requires a sacrifice, which Mike Zunino offered to drive Gamel in and put the Mariners ahead.
Félix defended his throne nobly through the fifth inning, allowing only 3 more batters to reach base. His team would drive in Mitch Haniger and Nelson Cruz on a Denard Span double and Ryon Healy single. The King was replaced in the sixth inning by James Pazos with a score of 6-3. Juan Nicasio would come on in the seventh inning and allow Adalberto Mondesi to score on a Rosell Herrera sacrifice fly. The sacrifice made by the Royals wouldn’t yield results. Although the Mariners wouldn’t score again, Alex Colomé and Edwin Díaz would win their battles and preserve the domain of Safeco Field for King Félix.
Seattle Mariners 6, Kansas City Royals 4
- Félix looked a bit off at times. We learned after the game that he had injured his back while working out a few days ago. I suppose that happens when you suddenly age 9 years.
- In the second inning, Jean Segura narrowly missed being struck in the face. As revenge, he hit a comebacker to the pitcher Jason Hammel and was thrown out at first.
- Ryon Healy went 4 for 4, driving in 3 runs and scoring once. That makes him this game’s Rico Rossy who went 4 for 5 scoring 3 runs in the original TATC night.
- The previous game in 2027 was started by Ken Cloude, who also completed 5 innings (he faced 3 batters in the 6th). It was a rough season for the young Cloude, who would pitch only 1 more season in the majors.
- Dan Wilson and Edgar Martinez started the previous game this season. Now one is in the broadcast booth and one is the hitting coach. Life comes at you fast in 2027.
- The Mariners released their previous 2027 mascot, Orbit into, uh, orbit. He appears to have landed with the Astros:
I remember the last #TurnAheadTheClock game in Seattle. Not my finest day..... pic.twitter.com/ZGkDb5mw4D— Houston Astros Orbit (@OrbitAstros) July 1, 2018
- Never fear though, Hyperdrive Hank is has arrived to tend to all of our mascot needs:
Hyperdrive Hank in the habitation unit!!! #Mariners #TurnAheadTheClock pic.twitter.com/JRdT0MOvrD— C&S (@cookandsonbats) July 1, 2018
- Important rule change:
Reminder to all fans: the wave was outlawed as part of the 2022 collective bargaining agreement. #TurnAheadTheClock— Safeco Field (@SafecoField) July 1, 2018
I was watching at home, so I missed many of the awesome and amazing details from the game. Please, please share them in the comments!
Tomorrow we time travel back to 2018 where we’ll pick up against the Royals again as James Paxton takes the mound on Canada Day. He will become the third Mariner pitcher (Felix Hernandez three times, Hisashi Iwakuma once) to appear on his own bobblehead day.