In a few short weeks I’ll have lived in Rhode Island for seven years. I moved out here in 2015 to be with my girlfriend at the time and since then I’ve fallen in love with this silly little state and all that it can possibly offer. My love has even gone as far as majoring in this state’s history for my undergraduate degree, working for the City Archives in the state’s capitol, and finally switching my driver’s license from WA to RI even though I took a banger of a headshot for the former.
As for baseball and Rhode Island, Babe Ruth made a pit stop playing for the Providence Grays before he shipped up to Boston, Davey Lopes grew up here before going on to be a 4-time All-Star and 2-time World Series Champion, and most recently Jeremy Peña was walking around his high school not even a mile from where I live.
However, as much as I love Rhode Island, I have to admit that we fall short in several ways:
- In the 233 years that we’ve been represented in US Congress, we’ve only ever elected one (1) woman and zero (0) BIPOC
- The most beloved politician our state has ever seen was elected Mayor of Providence, went to prison, got out, was re-elected as Mayor of Providence, went back to prison, got out, and nearly was elected Governor
- Speaking of Governor, we literally had an open call for Lieutenant Governors in 2021 after our current Governor succeeded Gina Raimondo when she left to serve in Biden’s Presidential Cabinet. Seriously, you could just apply online.
And those are only a few ways, I could easily go on, but we’re not here to talk about Rhode Island, we’re here to talk about the Seattle Mariners. The same Seattle Mariners that I love deeply, flaws and all. The same Seattle Mariners that have had questionable leadership (front office) decisions being made. The same Seattle Mariners that just lost another game to the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park, less than an hour from Rhode Island.
Let’s start with Robbie Ray. The tight pants-ed prize of our off-season.
At this point in the season we’ve come to expect The Inning™️ during Ray’s starts. The Inning™️ being the action that happens within a span of three outs where our pitcher’s talent is harder to find than bread and milk the night before the annual Nor’easter.
It’s not a matter of if, but when.
For the first couple innings of tonight’s contest, our southpaw was present and accounted for. Facing just one batter over the minimum, Ray recorded 3 strikeouts and was this close to striking out last night’s achilles heel, Trevor Story, with three swinging strikes (he ended up popping up to Toro to end the inning).
Like trying to drive across the State of Rhode Island, Robbie Ray’s good outing didn’t last much longer after it began.
The Inning™️ began to show signs of its ominous presence two pitches into the bottom of the 3rd when Boston’s No. 9 hitter, Christian Vázquez, led off with a single to right field. Given his performance in last year’s postseason, one should never count Vázquez out from showing up during the right moment, and he did that here. Ray then packed the bases a little more when he walked Enrique Hernandez on 1-2-3-4 straight balls. Following that, Rafael Devers gave Ray a little breathing room after flying out to Jesse Winker in left field and J.D. Martinez helped the cause of ending The Inning™️ early when he struck out swinging.
Two men on, two outs. The Inning™️ might mercifully end soon.
But it didn’t
Ray, again, walked the next batter (Xander Bogaerts) on 4 straight balls, loading the bases.
Remember at the top of the recap when I mentioned Rhode Island’s most beloved politician was a little...messy? Well, that’s how I think of Trevor Story in this situation. Of course, Story is nowhere near the legend that Buddy Cianci was, and continues to be posthumously, but, like Cianci, he has a knack for being the last person you want to see if you’re not on the same team, and the first person to make you pay if you get yourself in a jam.
The thing about Buddy Cianci is he was a solid dude. There wasn’t a mayor that loved the literal ground of Providence more than Buddy and there probably never will be. Everything he did was in some way for the benefit of the city (even if it wasn’t super legal).
Unless we find out in years to come that Trevor Story was adding a little extra juice to his Del’s Lemonade, what he does to baseballs and other teams is technically legal. But it doesn’t feel that way.
Last night Story hit the ball out of the yard on three separate occasions and tonight he was looking to do it again as Ray wound up for his first pitch.
Grand Slam. 4-0 Red Sox.
Because of his involvement in the community, they say that Buddy Cianci would come to the opening of an envelope. In the same vein, Trevor Story has shown up these past two nights whenever he saw an opening. And he crushed it.
The Inning™️ ended one batter later when Christian Arroyo struck out. But it was too late.
Now, this game wasn’t all bad for our visiting team. The fifth inning proved to be a big one for the Mariners (and staff writer Jacob) as Abraham Toro launched a ball 429ft, good for the longest home run of the series so far and the longest distance between one Dunkin’ to the next in Rhode Island. His shot cut the Red Sox lead in half and now the Mariners only trailed Boston by a respectable 4-2.
1️⃣0️⃣8️⃣ mph— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) May 21, 2022
It would take three more innings before the person behind the Green Monster scoreboard got some action in the scoring column for either team. Save for the Mariners 7th, every half inning between the bottom of the 5th and the top of the 8th was a quick 3-up, 3-down.
Then, after what felt like forever, things got exciting in the top of the 8th. Like, RIDOT-finally-finished-rebuilding-the-Broadway-bridge-over-I95 exciting (seriously, it took two years).
Yes, this is the inning where the Mariners scored a run and were within striking distance of tying it up. But this is also the inning where Xander Bogaerts got tabletopped by his own teammate and dropped the ball hit by J.P. Crawford, who would eventually be the 3rd Mariner to cross home plate tonight.
And let me just say, for anyone who’s ever hurt their back it was very exciting for us watching Bogaerts get up and walk it off. Not our team, but a win for chronic back pain everywhere.
But just like Bogaerts’ night, this is where the excitement ended for our dear Mariners.
After Winker drove J.P. home, Suárez struck out swinging, sending us to the home team’s half of the 8th. Diego Castillo came out to start the inning and got two men on base via back-to-back singles, but, he also got two outs. Almost like the same thing.
Jackie Bradley Jr. came in to hit for Bogaerts and Anthony Misiewicz promptly came in for Castillo in order to have a favorable matchup.
Well, joke’s on us like the joke was on me that I thought RIDOT was done with construction on the Broadway bridge. On a 3-1 count, JBJ hit the ball just far and high enough to go over the Green Monster and all but send our Mariners back to the hotel that Dave Sims says is within walking distance.
(They were actually sent home after a 1-2-3 top of the 9th)
Red Sox 7, Mariners 3 :(
I love Rhode Island, plain and simple. I love the Mariners, plain and simple. Nights like these, though, I’m painfully reminded that at times we really do feel like the smallest team in the league and are again overshadowed by a bigger market team.
I won’t stop loving the Mariners, though. Nor Rhode Island. We may be losing out on a lot, but we’re losing out together and keeping it just interesting enough that I come back every day for more.