No one knows how to be a human being when they’re first born. There are so many things you need to know how to do, and so many nuances to learn. Everyone must go through rigorous training, colloquially known as “being raised”, to even have a chance at grasping all of the ins and outs required of people, and they still mess up.
When you mess up, and you’re just a kid, it’s generally excusable. At least, sort of. Some adults will glance at you and roll their eyes and maybe let out an exasperated sigh. Others will throw a more blatant glare at your parents, as if to say “how dare you exist with that imperfectly trained small person in my general vicinity.”
As you grow up, you still mess up, except now people roll their eyes directly at you, and you can remember all of the mistakes. This means that you can replay them in your head over and over until you die, which really helps loosen up the mind so that it can facilitate future mistakes.
One of the first things people learn about being people is how to be polite: sharing, caring, and not staring. Essentially, being mindful of other people and acting conscientious.
The Mariners have messed up a lot in their lives. Maybe they weren’t raised well, or maybe they’re just rude. It’s not really clear whether it’s been nature or nurture, but the Mariners haven’t been able to stop themselves from making the wrong remark at the wrong time. One time, a friend confided in them that a parent had recently died. The Mariners, devastated for their friend, also had no idea what to say. Lost for words, they nervously giggled. The friend walked away, tears in their eyes. “Oh boy,” said an onlooking Mike Blowers. The Mariners have thought about that one a lot.
Tonight, though. Tonight presented a golden opportunity for the Mariners. It was a home game, yes. Like so many they’ve lost before. But as the Mariners walked onto the field, looking around them at the sea of blue, as they had so many times, they noticed something. The blue was a slightly different shade than usual. An idea began to form.
The game began with Félix Hernández, whose last start went exceptionally well yet still ended in disappointment, throwing the second pitch of the game over the middle of the plate. Daniel Descalso, who is basically Willie Bloomquist, hit it over the center field wall. A cheer swelled in the crowd, as the Cubs contingent made themselves audible. Daniel Descalso probably felt pretty good about himself. That was nice.
The Mariners spent the first three innings making Cole Hamels also feel good about himself. Apart from a walk and a hit batter, Hamels initiated only weak contact and needed just 29 pitches to get through three innings. Pretty nice of the Mariners! They are learning!
After the Cubs strung together some walks and a hit to make it 2-0, the Cubs decided to show the Mariners how true mid-westerners exercise politeness. After the Mariners got some runners on base in the fourth inning, the Cubs made two straight errors, including this one.
Very convincing, David Bote. We know you were just trying to be nice.
There’s nothing quite like Seattle passivity, though. Not to be outdone, the Mariners immediately gave back the lead to the Cubs like it was a hot potato, as Anthony Rizzo took Félix deep in the fifth inning to make it 4-3.
“Now, now,” said the Cubs. “Please. I insist. You take the lead.”
The Mariners, not wanting to be rude by refusing the gift, took a single run. Ryon Healy cracked a sixth-inning double off of Hamels, and Omar Narváez and Dee Gordon followed it up with two singles to bring Healy home. 4-4. Mitch Haniger walked, loading the bases.
“No, I couldn’t possibly,” said the Mariners. “You’re too kind.” Domingo Santana grounded into a double play, killing the rally.
A sweat drop formed on the Cubs’ temple. “Really, though. I don’t need it. We already have a World Series win. We don’t need this as much as you do.” Brandon Kintzler channeled this very thoughtful energy into a very fat pitch to Edwin Encarnación, making it 5-4.
The Mariners’ eyes widened. That wasn’t polite at all! The Mariners certainly did not need reminding that they don’t have a World Series win! The Mariners may not have known much about being functioning adults, but they knew enough to detect a subtle barb!
The Mariners quickly regained their composure and pulled the corners of their mouth into a placating smile. “I really do appreciate it, but it may take more than one win to stop being known as the ‘Lovable Losers’, don’t you think? Here, take this,” they said, handing Kyle Schwarber a sizeable meatball to give the Cubs a 6-4 lead.
Pretenses gone, the Cubs stood aghast. They were mid-western! How could somebody out-passive them? Their eyes narrowed. They still had one last trick in the book.
“Ope,” they started.
The Mariners blinked. “What?”
“Sorry, I just, ah, I thought, oh, ah, nothing.”
“I just, ah, thought it was better to be known as anything than be completely unknown, and I really, just, ah, you take it.”
They gave Domingo Santana a bizarre grounder off of Steve Cishek, and then threw a wild pitch to get him to second. For good measure, they walked Encarnación. The Mariners’ win probability now stood just above 50%.
The Mariners, though, knew what to do. “Nah, man. Look, I really appreciate it. I’m actually gonna go, though. You seem cool, though. You should totally come out to a show sometime. See you around, for sure.” With that, they stood, straightened their flannel, and left without a word.
Tim Beckham grounded into a double play, and Jay Bruce struck out to end the game.
The Mariners had lost, and by doing so, had won. It’s possible that, with the makeup of the fans tonight, more people than not left T-Mobile Park happy. Félix looked alright, and the A’s managed to lose again, so it wasn’t all bad. It was pretty bad, though.