A cast of plucky underdog characters is introduced, but fails to gain traction with audiences, as it lasts just 13 pitches. There are a couple of early standouts, including the well-known actor with a long track record who looks reinvented in this new role, like Ted Danson in The Good Place, and a formerly comedic actor being asked to take on a role requiring more gravitas:
Keep an eye on that kid, he might be a star.
An immediate fan favorite makes the first appearance of what will be a successful career, playing against type:
A broken-bat bloop single from Omar Narvaez, a relatively unknown actor getting to try out his chops after being tethered to a subpar show earlier in his career, staked the franchise to a 1-0 lead, setting up this at-bat from the ingénue:
Great acting is all about give-and-take, and our Ted Danson-esque long-tenured actor responded with a scoreless inning of his own, helped along by a “yes, and” from his defense:
The Mariners’ offense has taken a cue from the longest-running television show in history, The Simpsons, and where it cannot be great, it simply wears down viewers through repetition. Angels starter Chris Stratton concluded this inning at 65 pitches, for an average of over 20 pitches per inning. The offense wasn’t great, adding just one run here, which made things a little tighter on the defensive end, with the Angels scoring two runs on some well-placed grounders. Again, our ingénue stole the show:
Also in this inning, Felix Hernandez hit a milestone:
With a strikeout to end the 3rd inning, Felix Hernandez records his 2,478th career strikeout, tying him with Jack Morris for 37th all-time in MLB history. pic.twitter.com/j0zrAJfsRN— Kelly Munro (@kmunro1) April 19, 2019
He’d pass Morris in the fourth inning, recording his 2,479th career strikeout. The Mariners defense helped Félix out in the fifth with this stellar double play to give him a 1-2-3 inning:
This is about the time you see actors getting replaced in long-running TV shows, and it was no different for the Angels. A six-pitch at-bat ending in a bloop base hit for Narváez served as the death knell for Stratton, as the Angels re-cast with the younger, flashier Jake Jewell. Unfortunately for the Angels, this Jewell appears to be made of paste:
For the Mariners, Félix cruised through the sixth with a 1-2-3 inning, proving he is, for now at least, the Ted Danson of our time.
Shakespeare and Breaking Bad alike understood the beauty of the five-act structure, which is why it’s very hard to find any show that has pushed into seven seasons or beyond successfully. (Looking at you, Parks and Rec.) I mean, Fonzie literally jumped the shark all the way back in season five of Happy Days. So it should be no surprise that while season seven of this game offered some big fun:
...the seventh inning also offered a bullpen meltdown that was more painful to watch than the later seasons of Glee. Félix was unable to record an out against the fearsome combo of Tommy La Stella or Peter Bourjos, both of whom seem more like Jersey Shore characters than Major League Baseball players, and Ruben Alaniz was given a seven-run lead and told not to mess it up. Spoiler alert: he did. Alaníz exited after recording just one out, with the score 10-7, to be replaced by the usually-reliable Brandon Brennan, who was surprisingly shaky. By the time the carnage was over, the Mariners’ lead had been cut to just one run. Forget the Emmy; this performance wasn’t even worth a People’s Choice Award.
Eight is the number of infinity, which makes sense, because by the time you get to the eighth season of a particular TV show, that’s how long it feels like you’ve been watching it. How many times can Buffy die, really? The true American Horror Story is that show coming back for an eighth season. That’s also how this game felt, as the usually-reliable Anthony Swarzak cribbed shamelessly from Brandon Brennan’s performance and gave up a gave-tying home run to...David Fletcher? Really? He who had one previous home run to his name? How stupid do the writers think we are, really? That’s just insulting.
Sometimes there is an actor in a particularly doomed endeavor—I’m thinking of Gina Gershon in that disasterpiece of 1995 cinema, Showgirls, here—who attempts to save the project by their performance alone, or at least provide proof that, while they might be part of this particular shitshow, they know it’s a shitshow, and are doing everything they possibly can to rescue it from the trash-heap, for your consideration. Bless you, Jay Bruce:
And who better to close out the show than the ingénue, the formerly comedic stock character showing off his range.
A great performance can cover up a lot of production flaws. I hope the Mariners give Ryon Healy a raise. Or at least let him start writing riders for the clubhouse. All the sour gummy straws you can eat, Ryon. You deserve it.