I cannot explain how the Seattle Mariners maintain a collection of individuals, families, and communities that make up their global fanbase. And yet, here we are. Lookout Landing is one of those communities that make up a portion of that fan base. I consider myself a fringe member of the LL crowd. I have never met any of you. I do not possess much Mariners memorabilia, and most of what I do own was acquired sometime in the early 2000s. I am mainly here to read the comment sections.
Therefore, I consider myself an individual fan first. I have a handful of friends I go to games with often, including my wife, but we do not commiserate in the way I know some friends and families do.
It was hard growing up with this team alone. I was 12 during the 2001 season, and there is no doubt it nourished my budding baseball interest. I am forever grateful for that season but realize my naivete of the time prevented me from truly relishing it. I remember the rallying cry "2 outs, so what?" and the sense of belief I developed in those exciting moments before a big play. The belief was a shared belief by all Mariners fans who came to know that team. It was unspoken, but we shared a collective hope and celebrated collective joy often that season.
Maybe that is what makes baseball fandoms like ours possible. The emotional build-up within an at-bat, inning, or game mirrors the same feelings we develop with the team through the years and the decades. The feeling I get when the ballpark erupts in a cheer following a key strikeout is a smaller version of the same feeling following a win, or heaven forbid, clinching a postseason berth.
Knowing the hope, joy, and grief I feel is shared provides a sense of comfort--even when those I am sharing those feelings with are unknown. Unknown in a way because once I learn that someone is a Mariner fan, I know we've shared collective emotions.
Together we share a love for the game of baseball and a longing for the Mariners to triumph. However, the Mariners could finish each season as a losing team, and each Spring, the recording of Dave Niehaus saying, "Welcome back baseball, welcome back," will bring me to tears. I cannot say why, but I know it will probably move someone else out there to tears too, and knowing that is enough to keep bringing me back.