The Mariners have probably played hundreds of rainy, gray Monday night games against the A’s. The roof looming overhead like an immense spaceship, the crowd dedicated or foolhardy, dampness shimmering in the lights. There’s no sense in gatekeeping fandom - no matter how dire the team’s fortunes get, we’re never actually battling for life rafts to escape a sinking ship - but these grim, sloshy games are what true Seattle baseball is to me.
At first glance, there’s no glamour to the rain. Cold seeps into your authentic apparel, but unlike the athletes in motion on the field you’re still in your seat. Any hot beverage you might buy is obviously overpriced, and transitions from undrinkably hot to lukewarm within seconds. By the time you totter down to the team store in defeat, there is no number of fleece blankets you can purchase that will warm you fully.
we do love a bunt against the shift. it smells like potential. pic.twitter.com/YeOQ31dEcz— Cut4 (@Cut4) September 28, 2021
But there’s something special about these dismal weekday settings. Some nights we’re lucky, and they win the game. Some nights the play matches the weather, and we trod dejectedly home through the puddles. Or you get tonight, where the joy shines brighter than pinpricks of sun off the Columbia tower, or Mitch Haniger’s smile after his 37th (and second of the game) home run.
There’s an undeniable magic to these games. An underlying current that runs through the park, humming with the potential for something special. It’s especially true for these late-season games, where the roof tucks you in and you and 11,167 of your closest friends cozy together in pursuit of playoff contention. There was a fierce resolve to tonight’s game, from the first pitch Chris Flexen threw to Matt Andriese’s final strikeout. It’s a PNW defiance of the seasons; a refusal to give up summer, to acquiesce to Fall and to football. There is still baseball to be had in this city, the Mariners roared.
There are still games left to play.
(Message me on Twitter (@95coffeespoons) if you’re there on Friday. First (or second, or third), drink’s on me. Thanks for riding this nutty season out with us.)