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Dear Tim

They did it

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Seattle Mariners
At last
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Hey Tim,

Well, they did it.

Our Seattle Mariners are going to the playoffs.

Can you believe it? Probably. You always were more faithful than the rest - in Dipoto and Mitch, even Dylan Moore, and most especially in us and our ability to endure.

The whole night was a dream; the type of setting that would feel obvious and overwrought in any fiction. The last day of September. A gorgeous, sunny Friday, not a cloud in the sky. Eight dominant innings from their homegrown starter in his first full season. A lights-out ninth. And then…

Tie game.

Bottom nine.

Two outs.

Full count.

We knew this first season without you was going to be hard, but I think the gravitas of the playoff push made it especially gutting. There have been so many things, so many little moments, that I’ve wished for you to see:

  • The way this team united. They all had something to prove, and in some ways that made them less good baseball players but I also think it made them a better team.
  • The brawls. Yes, brawls plural. I’m sad we didn’t get a piece where you meted out the proper punishments for the fight against the Angels.
  • When the calendar flipped to July and they decided they just weren’t going to lose for two weeks straight.
  • The Home Run Derby
  • Sweeping the Blue Jays at home.
  • The return of the Swelmet
  • The little victory dance that they perform all together in a circle at the end of every win. It’s goofy, and pure, and a teensy bit smugly villainous when they do it at away games. You’d love it. You’d love them all, really. It’s so easy to root for these guys.
  • When the trade deadline rolled around and they made the big move we’ve been begging for for years. Luis Castillo is a Mariner now, and will be for a while (side note: Juan Soto is also a Padre. Don’t worry about it). John, Zach (Gottschalk - we’ve added new Zachs since you’ve been gone) and I went to his home debut for Zach’s final in-person Mariners game before med school. It’s been years since I watched every pitch of a start on the edge of my seat; he was positively electric and the game still went 13 innings. We screamed and heckled and pleaded for a win, but also for it to never end.
  • The way so many of the young guys stepped up and starred. Logan Gilbert spent the first month or two as the best pitcher in the league. Cal passed Mike Zunino for the single-season franchise record for home runs hit by a catcher - and had plenty of non-dinger hits to boot. George Kirby made his debut and shoved from that point on.
  • And Julio. Juliooooooo. Tim, he’s been everything we dreamt of and then some. He’s a star, and he’s ours - for, basically, ever. On the bad days, I get to watch him swing and soar and smile and I’m overcome with loathing for a world that didn’t grant you this same privilege. But most of the time I can channel that loathing into gratitude, a reminder to revel in every last bit of joy we can wring out of our one precious life.

The list could go on and on, but for all that we miss you it also feels like you’re still here. I’ll confess, I’ve even been a little grumpy with you this past week and how thoroughly you’ve infiltrated my mind. But it’s a sort of comforting haunting, a reminder that seasons march on but we’ll keep carrying you with us. I’m not sold on the idea of heaven or an afterlife, but there’s a part of me that can’t help but wonder if you were pulling some strings last night. Maybe it was a team effort - you’re certainly in good company out there, wherever “there” may be. What I do know is that the roars last night were far louder than the cheers of a mere 45,000. It was you, and the voices of so many others, echoing with ours at the corner of Edgar and Dave, floating out into the air and across the Sound.

P.S. Thanks for letting us continue to use your Athletic subscription. Don’t worry, payment shifted ages ago, but the login info is still the same.