Everyone has their own level of tolerance for adversity, and everyone handles adversity in different ways. Whether something small like getting a stain on a shirt or something big like the death of a loved one, each person on Earth has a personal course of action for getting through it. For me, if I get a stain on a shirt that I don’t really care about, I’ll just get rid of it. I have a million t-shirts accumulated over the years from concerts, baseball tournaments, high school, college, and other trivial moments in life. A plain white T-shirt with a honey mustard stain can easily be replaced by another plain white T-shirt that will soon, inevitably, have a honey mustard stain as well.
When my mother died in 2015, that qualified as the first big adversity of my life. She died during the summer, and I turned to baseball as a comforting presence until I had to go back to school in late-August. In the last years of her life, while cancer took most of her strength, we would sit around and watch the Mariners. She thought Kyle Seager looked like a baby and Chris Young’s pants looked like mom jeans, identifying oddly specific characteristics as only a mother can do. Her bed at home turned into a bed in a hospital, and eventually, a hospice bed. The one constant through all of this was baseball’s calming background noise. While watching one of the last games she ever saw, the television camera did a close up of Tigers’ slugger Nick Castellanos. “Is that Ichiro?” my mother asked through squinted eyes and a hazy headspace. No, mom. That’s not Ichiro, we laughed, realizing that with her world crashing down, my mom was trying to figure out who was batting in a meaningless game.
The Mariners dealt with their own adversity of various sizes today. Before the game, the team announced that Braden Bishop had been sent back to Triple-A. A bummer for sure, as Bishop has been through a lot just to reach the big leagues, dealing with injuries, struggles, and his mother’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis. While it made baseball sense, demoting the outfielder on Mother’s Day seemed a bit cruel, but Jen Mueller reported that the organization flew him to California to see his mom.
The Mariners told Braden Bishop he was being optioned back to Tacoma last night, then offered to fly him to California to see his mom on Mothers Day.— Jen Mueller (@JenTalksSports) May 12, 2019
I cannot keep from tearing up.
On occassion there is crying in baseballl.
When the actual game started, the Mariners were confronted with the annoyance of constant rain. Knowing that the rain had no plans to stop and the Mariners needed to be in Seattle for Monday night’s fixture, the game got underway as scheduled despite sloppy conditions and a shivery temperature. Seattle managed to get an early run off Hector Velázquez, giving the Mariners their 16th game of the season with a first-inning tally.
Adversity quickly struck Marco Gonzales in the bottom of the first and plagued him all afternoon. J.D. Martinez promptly erased the Mariners’ 1-0 lead with a no-doubter over the Green Monster. Not ideal, but certainly not a disaster. But when Gonzales followed the home run with a walk to Xander Bogaerts and a single to Rafael Devers, things got a little hairier. The Red Sox had runners on the corners for Michael Chavis. Gonzales got the rookie to shoot the ball a mile high into shallow right field. Shed Long, playing in just his second MLB game, scurried to get underneath the ball, but overran it, slipping on the wet grass as the ball plopped inside the foul line for a very dumb RBI single. Adversity, we meet again.
A passed ball during the next at-bat allowed another Boston runner to score. Down 3-1 on the road to a more talented team, with water falling on them from all angles, and their best pitcher looking unlike himself, the Mariners seemed destined for a loss after one inning of soggy baseball. When the Mariners’ defense again matched the disgusting weather one inning later, allowing the Red Sox to score another run on a misplayed pop up, the baseball and weather gods confirmed that this was not Seattle’s day. They went a little overboard on Shed Long’s second defensive miscue, in my opinion, which you can watch here courtesy of a person in the Dominican Republic filming their TV.
Algún problema hay con este novato segunda base de Seattle llamado Shed Long, en la entrada anterior se le pasó a un fly detrás de primera base y ese costó carrera, igualmente Jay Bruce fildeó un alto fly hacia delante y lo dejó caer pic.twitter.com/08rkENvK4Z— plinio escorborg (@escorborg9) May 12, 2019
Luckily the M’s still recorded an out on that play, but the point had been made. This was a bad game. Seattle would end up losing 11-2, with Parker Markel’s big-league debut serving as a much-needed point of intrigue. The newest reliever is the eighth Mariner to make their MLB debut this year. Markel spent parts of eight years in the minors and one (1) game in South Korea before finally summitting the baseball mountain. He went one inning today and allowed two earned runs, but the 28-year-old showed some tantalizing break on his slider that will play nicely out of the bullpen so long as he can locate it.
J.P. Crawford also smacked an opposite field double, Omar Narváez left the yard, and Anthony Swarzak had a 1-2-3 inning with two strikeouts. That’s all I’m going to say about this putrid game.
After spending my entire childhood in Sammamish, I went to college at the University of San Diego. Like anyone leaving the nest for the first time, I was caught up in a mix of nervousness and excitement. That specter of complete freedom, some 1,400 miles from home, was exactly what 18-year-old me was looking for. There was some fear of flying too close to the sun, but I knew expanding my suburban world was something I needed to do.
My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was a junior in high school. Seeing up close how the disease affected her—the hair loss, the whittling frame, the chemotherapy—pushed me to escape. Choosing to move to San Diego was born partly from a romantic idea of California and a desire for beautiful weather, but also from needing to get away from what was becoming a harsh reality at home. When it was time to pack up my stuff and head down the coast, my mom came with me, helping carry things up three flights of stairs to my top-floor dorm room, withstanding brutal heat that would make even the healthiest person waver.
Once I was settled in, we decided to explore the city before mom headed home. Without hesitation, we decided to check out Petco Park. There was no game happening that day, just empty seats and green grass. But it felt like the right place to be, a touchstone of our lives that connected us to my dad, her dad, my stepdad, and countless friends and teammates of mine that she cheered on at local diamonds.
As I progress deeper into adulthood, I realize the impact my mother had on my sisters and I, and everyone else who was close to her. Her compassion, sense of humor, and badassery was a bit lost on me as a child. Today, it’s easier to grasp the scope of her love and how it shaped me into the strong, empathetic, baseball-obsessed person I consider myself to be.
On this Mother’s Day, I want to give a shoutout to all the moms out there who complete otherworldly feats every single day, and those whose mothers are no longer with us. There will always be days like today, where the rain never stops and nothing seems to go right. But the sun will come back, as it always does, and the baseball will be good one day, reminding us that devastation is often a precursor to something brighter. I love you, mom.