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Mariners reminded they are Mariners


Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Mariners have come unstuck in time.

The Mariners have gone to sleep as a playoff team and woken up in 2010. They’ve walked through a door in 1995 and come out another one in 2027. They’ve gone back through that door and emerged in 2018. They’ve seen winning and losing many times, but mostly losing. They seem to oscillate between both without any sense of regularity.

They are unstuck in time, and don’t know where they’re going next.

At times, it seems like they’ve settled into a timeline. Alright. It’s 2018. It really is. We’re finally here. We are doing what we did when it was 2018.

In 2018, the Mariners won extra inning games. We won one-run games. The Mariners had a good offense. They had a strong bullpen. The starting pitching was weirdly good. 2018 was a year where the Mariners were good.

Just as random as what year the Mariners appear in, though, is how long they appear in any given year.

The Mariners had just briefly entered a door into 1995. As they were stretching out and settling into their cushy chintz arm chairs, they were yanked right back out. Suddenly, it was 2010. And then 2008. Oh wait, now it was 2017.

When every year’s the same, it’s hard to keep track.

In 2014, Kole Calhoun hit a ground-rule double in the bottom of the second inning to score two runs. He hit the double off of a soft-tossing Mariners lefty.

Suddenly it was the top of the third, and the Mariners found themselves in 2010. Their mediocre left fielder struck out swinging on a ball in the dirt. They got a seemingly-random single, but their leadoff hitter swung at the first pitch he saw and grounded into a double play.

Forty minutes later, a door opened and the Mariners went through it. They emerged, squinting, into 2017. Just in time to see Mike Zunino hit a home run to make it 3-1.

They stayed there a while. Long enough for Nelson Cruz to hit a home run of his own, and for Zunino to get another big hit, this time a double. He would end up scoring to tie the game.

In the ninth inning, the Mariners put two runners on base. And then it was 2005. It wasn’t 2005 because they blew it. It was 2005 because Albert Pujols snatched a hit away from Chris Herrmann, which isn’t something Albert Pujols has been able to do with any regularity in about a decade.

The top of the tenth became 2013. The leadoff hitter, Dee Gordon, hit a single. He stole second and made it to third on the throw. Jean Segura walked, and broke for second. They actually tried the play. The one where the runner on first steals and the runner on third tries to steal home on the throw. It didn’t work, because this is Major League Baseball, and that play never works.

Kole Calhoun hit a walkoff dinger on the first pitch of the bottom of the tenth inning to win the game.

Sure, it could have been 2014, or 2017, or 2009. I could probably come up with some fucked up reason why that home run means it was 1986, or some shit. But it wasn’t. It was every year. It was each and every year of the Mariners’ existence, and it felt all too familiar. It felt so right.

It was 2018, and the same things happened that always happened. And for the past couple of weeks, it feels like there’s nothing that makes 2018 different than any other year.