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A Mariners Carol

The past returns, the present crumbles, the future grows another bud.

Tampa Bay Rays v Seattle Mariners Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

The Mariners were dead, of that there can be no debate whatsoever. Yet as Emilio Pagan unexpectedly recorded the final out of the weekend sweep, fans could've been forgiven for their confusion. One by one, the Mariners of years past rattled their chains, first in pregame ceremonies, then on the field. The eerily similar hues of blue did nothing to dispel the spectral ambiance. Jerry Dipoto, ever a good man of business, looked on as the dealings of his trade came home to roost. Ryan Yarbrough carved through the 2019 Mariners for 8.2 shutout innings, guided by the sage defense of Mike Zunino, with Pagan etching the final words on the Mariners’ gravestone in the 1-0 loss.

The implication was not lost on many. As Félix Hernández crouched to catch the ceremonial first pitch from Edgar Martinez, a voice crept unbidden into his mind. Staring at Martinez, with his visage and greatness emblazoned in bronze for eternity, the voice gnawed at The King’s uncertainties.

Were these the shadows of the things that will be, or are they shadows of things that may be, only?

The same question hung in the minds of many in attendance, a specter that could not be shaken no matter where their eyes were cast. The greatness of Mariners past was laid out in full before them, striding gracefully around the fetid corpse of their present that graced the field all weekend. With arms outstretched those stars of yesteryear wove a vision of the possibility that remains yet.

Link by link, yard by yard, Félix felt the chains ensnare one arm, one leg, while his other side remained free. He turned to his teammates in a panic, only to see many of them fully chained already, with others wrapped only partially as he was. Not every fate was sealed yet, not every door welded shut, not every goal walled off. The future could be different still, like the brilliant past that, even as the thoughts came to those assembled, began to fade into memory for good.

The future it will have to be.

Maybe, just maybe, if any alive possess the power.