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Mariners Lose and That’s Okay

10-3? I hardly know her!

Oakland Athletics v Seattle Mariners Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images

Any one of us who no longer have the vibrance of a florescent lightbulb nor the stamina of an Italian greyhound (read: older than 25) know a weekend like this well. Something wicked exciting happened on a Friday evening and you imbibed to celebrate. And then you paid for it the rest of the weekend. Perhaps the day after you were feeling a bit alright because you remembered to take your ibuprofen and drank Liquid IV before you fell asleep. But the Sunday is the worst. The Sunday is when your responsibilities and feelings catch up to you and you are kind of just left paralyzed because you have so much to do that you don’t know where, or when, to start. But it’s okay because the stuff that happened on Friday was so worth it.

Despite our poor showing today, remember what happened to the team and to all of us on Friday make it well worth the watch.

Oakland Athletics v Seattle Mariners
Robbie Ray #38 of the Seattle Mariners reacts during the sixth inning against the Oakland Athletics at T-Mobile Park on October 02, 2022 in Seattle, Washington.
Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images

I hope you can forgive me, but I’m going to do a little something different for this recap than I have previously done this season. But first, let’s talk about this game a little bit.

I can’t remember the last time there was a game that came with this level of lack of consequence in the regular season. Every game until a clinch is important can be what makes or breaks you in the end. But if I’m including in general, the last time I remembered the Mariners playing without the hunger to win like they did today was during Spring Training.

And it showed in the box score.

But that’s okay.

A game like today’s reminds me of a lesson I’ve learned recently and that is:

Sometimes it’s okay to lose.

We know as Mariners fans that regular season losses can be infuriating. Hell, that’s all we’ve gotten from the last two decades. Each loss feels like a kick in the butt and like we’re taking a step back when we’ve been trying to go forward. These losses have helped us to grow an outer shell that won’t let any emotion but annoyance or irritation come in after the game ends with an L.

But I’m here right now to tell you, friends, that it’s truly okay. We’re okay. We’re not in danger of missing the postSEAson anymore.

Oakland Athletics v Seattle Mariners
Jarred Kelenic #10 of the Seattle Mariners reacts after striking out during the sixth inning against the Oakland Athletics at T-Mobile Park on October 02, 2022 in Seattle, Washington
Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images

To be sure, today wasn’t all a loss. Our starter, Robbie Ray recorded his 1,500th strikeout of his career. Unfortunately, by the time he came out he ended his regular season with 1,502 strikeouts and moved up to T-1 for most home runs given up by a pitcher this season.

Ray didn’t have his stuff today, that was clear. He gave up three home runs and, save for the first inning, started off each inning with allowing a man on base (or to score, given Shea Langeliers home run in the 4th inning).

And that’s okay. I covered quite a few of Ray’s starts this year and let me tell you, there were times when something like this didn’t feel okay. But now it’s okay.

The rest of the team didn’t provide much excitement, either. It wasn’t until the 2nd batter of the 6th inning that the Mariners got a hit. To think, they almost got no-hit after clinching a playoff spot. That would’ve been so Mariners. And that’s okay.

We didn’t even score until the bottom of the ninth inning when Jesse Winker hit a 3-run home run to right field. And that’s okay.

Mitch Haniger gave us two sexy catches in RF today, but not much else. You know what I’m going to say here — and that’s okay.

Oakland Athletics v Seattle Mariners
Cal Raleigh #29 of the Seattle Mariners looks on during the fifth inning against the Oakland Athletics at T-Mobile Park on October 02, 2022 in Seattle, Washington.
Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images

Due to my schedule and living on the East Coast, this is possibly my last recap of the 2022 season — my first season at Lookout Landing. My ability to write up a recap has come a long way since my first back in April when I covered Game #2 and compared it to a trip to Target:

Mariners entranced by Target, lose 10-4

So it’s only fitting that I ended up at Target this morning without even thinking about the full circle implications.

Scenes from the SLLack

And as stated above, I covered a lot of Robbie Ray starts and remember just how frustrating those games were. There was the start in New York against the Mets where Julio got his 2nd home run, Robbie imploded, and Diego Castillo bailed his booty out.

A week or so later I covered Ray’s start in Boston (remember how we got swept that series?) and that one didn’t quite end in a win.

Mariners channel the State of Rhode Island, score very little runs and lose 7-3

And while I’m looking back on my recaps this season I fondly recall the game following the incident of Mike Cameron burning sage in the Houston clubhouse to reinvigorate the team.

I’ll be honest, it became tough finding games I could recap as the season went on. Most of our East Coast or Midwest games were over before August and being 3 hours ahead of Seattle didn’t lend itself well to staying up late on work nights. I found ways to contribute that weren’t recaps, like my coLLab piece with Kate analyzing the All-Star red carpet looks to which it felt like I was actually hanging out with a fellow LL’er. And of course, my story on Iris Skinner, a.k.a. “Ichiro Girl.” That one meant a lot for me to do — Iris and I went to high school together and I was elated to give our small little town of Kingston a familiar face on a site like this. And we can’t forget the Photos of the Week, Social Media Spotlights, and now Daily Catch pieces.

I can’t believe, either, that my first season at Lookout Landing is the one where we broke the drought. To be enjoying it with our great writing staff and the larger LL community is a gift in and of itself.

Back in January Lookout Landing put a call-out for recappers, features writers, and uhhh, I forget what else, and I was thrilled to apply. I’ve been reading the site for a couple years and had been listening to the podcasts as if it were my own religion. Though I was thrilled to apply, I was also going through the most difficult time of my life with my Dad’s health failing for a reason that some would place blame on him for. He and I didn’t have the best relationship, but one thing that was consistent from the time I was a toddler until this winter was our ability to just talk sports. Any sports. All sports. Sports. He was a Padres fan but lived in Federal Way and Kent for a little over a decade and got hooked on the Mariners, too.

I went to see him in Tucson the same week I submitted my LL application and predictably we talked sports. We didn’t talk a lot, but when we did it was about sports. Before I left his house for the final time he and I sat down and I got to tell him I applied to write for Lookout Landing, then explaining my excitement and nerves that came with it.

My Dad passed away less than a month later on February 27th, just a little bit after Spring Training began. Because of the nature of estranged relationships, I didn’t speak to him again after I left that house that day. But I’ll never forget the last conversation we had and how the last couple minutes of it were spent, and, to finish, him telling me “I’m so happy for you and so proud. I can’t wait to read your first sports story.”

My first article didn’t come out until a month later so he never got to read any of my work, but he was with me in memory every time I sat down to write.

And that’s okay.

Toronto Blue Jays v Seattle Mariners
The hug I’d give my Dad if I could.
Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images

Oof, well, readers, thank you for sticking with me through this “recap” that wasn’t really a recap. I’ll certainly see y’all throughout the postseason and offseason, just not in recap form. Thank you for being here throughout my first season and for making this community what it is.