Hello and welcome back to FanPost Friday. It’s October 21 and it’s finally raining. They’re predicting more precipitation this weekend than Seattle has had in over three months. Last Saturday, October 15, the 2022 Mariners season came to an end after nearly 7 hours of playing baseball. That’s a good two weeks later than we’re accustomed to. Most seasons, if we’re lucky, we get one last home stand at the very end of September or beginning of October, maybe a Ocktoberfest promo stein on that final weekend, and we say goodbye to our daily hobby for four dark months or so.
Most season-ending goodbyes the last 21 years haven’t had much hope to them. It’s usually been either bittersweet because they just missed real contention and/or the team’s aging core is hurtling toward expiration, or it’s just been a plain relief to no longer feel compelled to keep tabs on a dogshit baseball team. The end of 2021 was a bit different, as there was a real spark of hope lit by the team in September and also we knew what kind of talent would be ready for next season.
2022 kicked off with the highest hopes for a Mariners team since 2018. They had their ups and downs, but that prospect talent we’d held so close to our hearts through the fallow years finally bloomed right before our eyes. Julio Rodríguez broke camp with the team, spent about a month adjusting to big league pitching, and never looked back on his journey to a Rookie of the Year-caliber season. George Kirby arrived and immediately proved he belonged. Logan Gilbert built upon his 2021 experience and gave the team truly dominant stretches. Jarred Kelenic struggled, but never gave up and still flashed his talent on the stretch run. Cal Raleigh scuffled at the plate in the early months of the season, but hit his stride when it mattered and crushed the most incredible, belief-defying, and DEEPLY cathartic home run for an entire generation and a half (at least) of Mariners fans. Y’all, we witnessed Cal Raleigh, aka BIG DUMPER, become not just a folk hero, but a folk LEGEND. He hit THE pinch-hit home run of all pinch-hit home runs. The one we achingly longed for in our wildest dreams. I hope I can tell my kid’s kids about that one some day, because I will literally never shut up about that home run and what it meant to me. I will also never shut up about watching the comeback in Toronto and I look forward to telling my son over and over again about how upset he got from the sudden noise of our whole family flipping out and screaming when J.P. Crawford hit the magical bloop double that nearly put George Springer into an early grave. He’s gonna get real tired of that story. Sorry in advance, buddy.
So that’s what I’m holding onto here on a rainy Friday in Seattle. Yes, it hurts and it burns that it had to be the Houston Astros who eliminated the Mariners in an especially hurtful and crushing manner. That’s something none of us will forget or forgive probably ever. Just add it to the long list of grievances we have with the Astros. I wish all the bad things in life to happen to them and only them.
But, back to holding onto hope, yes. We enter the offseason with even higher hopes than last year for adding the missing pieces to the roster that are required for a deeper postseason run. Nothing is guaranteed, but I can’t help but feel optimistic about how good the core of this Mariners team is.
Since it’s never too early to speculate about offseason plans, let’s just throw caution to the wind and get the heck into it.
PROMPT: 1. Give us your too-early offseason predictions for the Mariners and 2. What little piece of hope is going to keep you the most warm throughout the winter? And 3. If you’re still watching the postseason, who is your choice team to win it all?
Get crazy with your predictions or keep it realistic, whatever feels right to you.
For number 3, I obviously must say GO PADRES. You’re welcome to disagree and be wrong, but they are objectively the easiest team left to root for. Let’s hope the Mariners are in the same position the Padres are this time next year.
‘Til next time, stay safe and be kind. Go Mariners.