We have a saying at LLHQ coined by our own Isabelle Minasian: write the recap the game deserves.
So I’m going to write about the Seattle Storm game.
Today the Mariners played a game at a weird time (3:40) against a bad team, and showed themselves to be the worse of the two teams. They have now been swept by the Padres, the second-worst team in the NL, on the season. They struck out 12 times, 10 of those in 4 innings, 9 of those consecutive strikeouts, which set a club record for the Padres.
If possible, they looked even worse than that, with Kyle Seager playing abysmally at third, committing two errors, and Gordon Beckham mishandling an easy grounder, setting up a two-run home run when Wade LeBlanc made a mistake pitch to Austin Hedges. The only bright spots on this lousy game were, as always, Nelson Cruz and Mitch Haniger: Cruz hit this monster shot for his 1000th RBI and Mitch made another one of his amazing diving catches.
But mostly, today the Mariners brought us more depressing, uninspired, lifeless baseball. Meanwhile, the Storm were playing the opposite brand of ball, racing out to a huge lead in a decisive Game Three of the WNBA finals. Breanna Stewart and Natasha Howard outscored the Washington Mystics on their own before the half, 34-30, as the Storm carried a sixteen-point lead into halftime.
Sue Bird was held to just two points in the first half, but as the Storm cooled off in the second, allowing the Mystics to within five at one point, Bird stepped up to finish in double-digits. More importantly, she did it after having to be taken out of the game because her got danged nose wouldn’t stop bleeding. She sat on the bench, visibly annoyed by the very concept of having a body with blood in it, before re-entering the game. It won’t look like much in the box score, but every time the ball was in her hands, Bird slowed down the game for her young teammates, pacing them, encouraging them to breathe and take their time.
Her cool-headed leadership was balanced by the fiery play of MVP Breanna Stewart, who at one point lost her shoe and looked like she was seriously considering just playing without it. She rained threes down like the water goddess Yemoja in the first half, racking up 17 points. Natasha Howard, traded this season to the Storm, collected 27 points overall and snatched down any rebound within range like she was equipped with velcro mitts. Sami Whitcomb, who went undrafted out of the UW and played overseas before joining the Storm, came off the bench and provided a spark, nailing some key three-pointers that would ultimately salt the game away. The Storm played beautiful team ball, everyone contributing what they could, allowing Washington to come tantalizingly close before dancing away again. It was thrilling. It was dramatic. It was meaningful. In short—it was the opposite of the Mariners game.
“Once again, the women bring Seattle a championship,” said my mom proudly.
In the postgame interview, her teammates ringed Brianna Stewart chanting “MVP! MVP! MVP!” It reminded me of just a few short months ago, when fans at Safeco greeted Jean Segura on his return from the All-Star Game with chants of “MVP.” Segura didn’t play tonight. Seattle has a different MVP now. The Storm are, without a doubt, currently Seattle’s most successful sports franchise. Their three league championships are more than any other Seattle sports team has won over the past decade. They deserve our time, fan-dollars, and attention.
The Mariners do not.