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Mariners beat A’s in Japan, I think, it was the middle of the night

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Seattle outlasts Oakland 9-7 at the Tokyo Dome, delirious writer lives to document it

Seattle Mariners v Oakland Athletics Photo by Masterpress/Getty Images

There is quite literally no chance I compose coherent thoughts for this recap. Its dream-like start time of 2:35 in the morning already has my brain cells in a tizzy. Definitely need to chronicle this game with only short, incomplete thoughts to conserve energy.

2:37 – Mike Fiers throws the first pitch of the season.

2:39 – Eduardo Pérez informs us that the Mariners’ 2018 season was bad, citing “run comparison”. Two minutes later, he mentions how weird it is to watch the A’s without Brett Lawire, who last played for the A’s in 2015. Dave Flemming knew he meant Jed Lowrie though, the way you always know what your friend is saying once the clock passes two, even when the thing they said is objectively wrong.

2:46 – Making his first Opening Day start, Marco Gonzales turns Ramón Laureano’s bat to linguini. The three-pitch strikeout consists of two perfectly-placed cutters and a changeup that shimmies out of the zone. You know, given his impressive 2018 campaign and relatively low-pressure situation, Gonzales could totally become the elite pitcher Seattle needs. What a trade. I don’t see anyone ever making contact with one of his pitches ever again.

2:48 – Stephen Piscotty home run to dead center field. 1-0 A’s.

2:59 – Ryon Healy—the third baseman—makes an error. He was shifted into the spot where the second baseman usually is, and the big man biffed a throw that could have started a double play. Eduardo Pérez notes that such events are, in fact, “not what you want”.

3:01 – On the seventeenth pitch of the season, Omar Narváez gets crossed up on a fastball right down the middle. The pitch hits him on his bare hand. I worry.

3:02 – Went to the bathroom. Took a selfie.

3:05 – 2-0 A’s on a Marcus Semien RBI single. The Oakland shortstop punished Marco’s hanging knuckle curve for a sharp line drive into left.

3:10 – Fiers throws his second wild pitch of the morning. I fuck with the term wild pitch heavily.

It’s fun to imagine the term starting with someone in the 1870s throwing the absolute worst pitch anyone had ever seen. Some guy with a mustache puts down his whisky and advances from first to second. The manager, who is late to the game because his horse was tired, asks how Lip Hair O’Shaughnessy got to second base. Someone in the stands who is even more whisky drunk laughs hysterically and yells, “He threw a wild pitch!” and that was that.

3:12 – Dee Gordon and Tim Beckham team up for the first run of the Mariners’ 2019 season! 2-1 A’s.

3:24 – After Edwin Encarnación draws a prudent two-out walk, Domingo Santana whacks an opposite-field grand slam. 5-2 Mariners. Wearing a sweatshirt with bear ears on the hood, I yell “Let’s gooooo” in my apartment by myself. Like a normal, well-adjusted person.

3:35 – I learn that the M’s 2019 starters accomplished something no other team’s rotation did.

Screenshot courtesy of WatchESPN

3:38 – Two-run home run for Khris Davis. It’s his 21st home run against the Mariners in his 54th game against them, and I swear I hear the contact off his bat from across the Pacific Ocean. 5-4 Mariners.

3:49 – The broadcast mentions that six Mariners were not born when Ichiro debuted for the Orix Blue Wave in 1992. Other things that were not born in 1992: the Rockies, Marlins, Diamondbacks, and Rays, Nirvana’s In Utero, the PlayStation, Beanie Babies, Shake Shack, this creeping back pain that has unfortunately replaced sleep.

3:50 – Ichiro draws a walk and Eduardo Pérez incorrectly points out that the most impressive part of the at-bat was the fans.

3:56 – Mitch Haniger works a feisty at-bat and skies a sacrifice fly to right center. Tim Beckham scores his second run of the game. 6-4 Mariners.

4:01 – Scott Servais pulls Ichiro off the field to begin the bottom half of the fourth, allowing the fans in Japan to give the baseball luminary a proper standing ovation.

4:05 – Had some trail mix.

4:18 – Ryon Healy turns a pretty decent breaking ball into an RBI double down the left field line. 7-4 Mariners.

4:20 – The broadcast duo brags about knowing Billy Beane.

4:21 – Tim Beckham dishes out two scoops of international flavor.

His mammoth home run chases A’s reliever Ryan Dull, who is neck-and-neck with Trot Nixon for the title of MLB Player Who Looks Most Like Their Name. 9-4 Mariners.

4:24 – Boy I sure am excited to see Daniel Vogelbach! I hope he gets the chance to showcase his feathers like the vibrant, flightless peacock he is.

* maybe 11 seconds go by *

Vogey gets hit on the elbow by the very first pitch he sees. Of the entire season. Cool. Cool. Cool.

4:31 – Thinking about breakfast.

4:36 – Just found out the Flames beat the Blue Jackets 4-2. Pretty jazzed about that.

4:37 – The camera catches Ken Griffey Jr. rapping along to “Public Service Announcement” and this whole experience is immediately justified.

4:40 – My face hurts?

4:44 – I take a peek out the window and see a woman enthusiastically running down the street? Seemingly on purpose? The line between fantasy and reality blurs more confusing than before.

4:46 – Jurickson Profar’s yellow belt + striped socks + white cleats ensemble looks amazing. The world is his oyster. Go off, Jurickson. Nobody can stop you.

4:47 – Jurickson Profar strikes out on three pitches.

4:52 – Still thinking about breakfast.

4:59 – Oh good, Nick Rumbelow is here. He replaces Marco Gonzales, who went six innings while permitting seven hits and three earned runs. Marco bulldogged his way through the final eight hitters of his outing, retiring them in order.

5:02 – Made some breakfast.

Seattle Mariners v Oakland Athletics Photo by Masterpress/Getty Images

5:08 – Nick Rumbelow pitches to Matt Chapman with two runners on base. You’ll never guess what happens next.

9-7 Mariners.

5:14 – Is Cory Gearrin working extra slowly or are my senses just staging a mutiny against my body?

5:20 – “Fuck yeah, dude” – me, upon seeing Fernado Rodney’s hat.

5:32 – You know how sometimes you’re not even sure if you like baseball?

5:41 – Hearing “Let’s Go Oakland” amplified by tinny laptop speakers is surely punishment for some trivial wrongdoing in my past. It was probably when I told a kid in school that I didn’t have a pencil when I really had like six. Shoulda just gave them a pencil.

5:47 – Morale is low. I feel like a cell phone that has fallen in a lagoon.

5:55 – My roommate gets up for work. He has a job in a very tall building where you have to wear Van Heusen clothes and no one even asks you what you think about Hunter Strickland’s mechanics.

Seattle Mariners v Oakland Athletics Photo by Masterpress/Getty Images

5:57 – Jay Bruce chases down a fly ball in the right field corner. One more out to go. I consider the logistics of wearing a pillow.

6:01 – It finally happened. The final out. Hunter Strickland gets Chapman on a 3-2 slider out of the zone. Gorgeous. Poetic. I would love to be tranquilized. Beautiful game.