Most of us have been there at some point in school. The teacher or professor announces a group project. If you have friends, you immediately glance at each other meaningfully. If you don’t have friends, you instantly shrivel up inside.
Then the teacher announces that they’re assigning the groups. Now it’s the friends’ turn to shrivel up inside. Those without friends breathe a sigh of relief, having been granted a reprieve from the humiliation of having to raise their hands when the teacher asks “who still doesn’t have a group?”
You get paired with some strange kids you don’t talk to. Maybe one or two that you’re friendly with. You spend a few minutes making forced small talk (literally forced, as the teacher has granted you 120 seconds to “talk and get to know one another”). Having just learned that Bradley likes “snowboarding and chilling”, you turn your attention to the project rubric.
Nobody wants to be the first to talk. Someone eventually does, because you can’t just sit there forever. There’s an apparently natural division of labor. You’ll make the first three PowerPoint slides. Bradley will make the second three. The others will take care of the last half. Everyone will email you their pieces the day before it’s due, and you’ll put it on a thumb drive for the next day.
The intense awkwardness is brought to a halt when class is dismissed. You all go home. You have a ton of other work to do over the next few days, but you find time to bust out your three slides. Let’s be honest: the standard isn’t that high. You mentally check it off of your list until Sunday night, when you’ve only received two emails. Nothing from Bradley.
You email Bradley. Nothing. Alright, you think. I’m sure he’ll get it to me by the morning. So you go to bed. In the morning you wake up and check your email. Nothing. Fuck. Thankfully, you’re able to cobble together some horse shit for Bradley’s portion of the slides. You slide it into the presentation and head to class. Bradley isn’t even there today. He’s presumably “snowboarding and chilling”.
That’s basically the experience that I imagine five members of the Mariners had today. These five Mariners all contributed substantially to the win. Some of their contributions were consistent and spread out over time. Some of them waited until the last minute before coming through. They all had one thing in common: they did something good, which cannot really be said of the rest of the team.
The first was J.P. Crawford. J.P. was one of the steady, consistent ones. After a first-inning flyout, he reached base on each of his other three plate appearances, two of which drove runners in. One of which put the Mariners ahead in the final inning of the game.
On top of that, J.P. participated in two double plays and stole a base. Talk about putting in the extra work.
The second Mariner to do, well, anything, was Braden Bishop. Braden had the hardest-hit ball of any Mariner today, which came on a third inning single that was clocked at an exit velocity of 107 MPH. In fact, until extra innings, Braden and J.P. were the only two Mariners to even have hits. He scored the Mariners’ only run in regulation, and he executed a perfect sacrifice bunt to begin the eighth.
Thirdly, we have Ty France. Ty was the member of the group project that technically did his work, so you can’t be too mad at him, but it really was the bare minimum. He clearly left it for the last second, but without him, you probably wouldn’t have passed. France knocked in J.P. to give the Mariners a two-run lead in the eighth, making it substantially more difficult for the A’s to come back.
Fourth, we have Kyle Seager. Seager clearly left his part for the last minute, but that’s okay. He’s the only member who clearly knew what he was doing, so nobody really questioned it when they saw his PowerPoint was “last edited on Monday at 2:51 AM”. He showed up to class baggy-eyed and as quiet as ever, but his work was excellent, as always. His dinger in the eighth sealed the game for the Mariners.
Finally, we have Kendall Graveman. He wasn’t technically a member of the group, but he was your friend who did some light editing when you needed it and then helped Frankenstein together Bradley’s missing slides in the library before class. Graveman faced the minimum in the seventh (with a double play erasing a leadoff walk) before tossing a perfect eighth inning despite the A’s starting with a man on second.
The rest of the Mariners were all Bradley. Chillin’ and snowboarding throughout the game, they contributed nothing. Literally. None of them even reached base. Yes, I know Justus Sheffield’s stat line ended up being pretty good. His line of one earned run in 5.0 innings is betrayed by his one strikeout and eight instances of hard contact allowed. Ya got lucky, Justus.
It’s always nice to get a win against the A’s, and the Mariners will have another opportunity literally right now. In fact, they are already losing as I write this. God dammit, Bradley.