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About Last Night: The return of Kyle Lewis

It was a momentous occasion

Ask your local Mariners what KLew can do for you
Photo by Bren Everfolly/Lookout Landing

“Patience is a virtue.”

“Good things come to those who wait.”

Platitudes are meaningless in baseball. Perhaps in the grand scheme of things so are individual moments, when a season is played across 162 games, filled with thousands of moments. The grand scheme is meaningless to a baseball fan. We live for the moments. The ones that that make the rest of the world disappear. Last night, Kyle Lewis made a long awaited return to play, and he had his moment. In fact, he had himself a few.

Luckily for myself, I got to see it all happen in person. I live only a couple of hours away from Salt Lake City where the Bees, an Angels affiliate, play their home games. My misfortune for easily getting to watch the Seattle Mariners is in turn my luck for getting to watch the Rainiers play when they happen to visit. It felt like that luck dialed up to eleven when Kyle Lewis was announced to be activated and in the lineup in the mere hours leading up to yesterday’s game for which I have had tickets for almost a month now.

Before anything else I’m a baseball fan, and no matter what happened in the game I was always going to be overjoyed before anything else to see Kyle Lewis suited up in a uni, playing a game he so very clearly loves. He was all smiles trotting back from pre-game workouts in the field, even stopping to give out a few autographs to some fans waiting at the net by the dugout. Again, flashing smiles as he took his practice swings while waiting on deck for his first at bat, even laughing and answering back when a fan decked out in Bees gear threw a compliment his way. Kyle Lewis has always been the kind of player that it’s impossible not to root for.

Seated just one row back, and slightly shifted to the visiting team side of right behind home plate, I had the perfect view. I’ve always loved Lewis’ swing, but this was the first time I was able to see it in person, and I was seeing it merely a few feet in front of me. Nothing about his movement looked strained or cautious as he waited for his turn at the plate. The stars aligned, the scene was set. Everything just... felt right, and it only got better.

None of the videos I’ve watched since, none of the stats, remotely do that moment justice. The swing was smooth and fluid. The sound off the bat was the perfect firecracker that makes one fall in love with the game. It was my partner’s first game in person, their first home run seen live. I had previously lamented that as much as they had adopted my love of baseball they had yet to experience the unique elation of being there in person. After KLew had crossed home plate and the crowd died down they turned to me and said, “now I know what you mean.” It was a perfect moment.

We speak often of baseball gods, and of luck, but last night it was just Kyle Lewis doing Kyle Lewis things. The solo shot in the 1st inning started his night, but he went on to go 3 for 5, getting three RBIs in the process and himself coming around to score twice. I can’t say he was electric on the basepaths, but neither did he look sluggish or overly careful. Nothing can compare to the delight of having seen it in person, but the highlight reel of his night’s accomplishments is still a treasure all its own.

So much of Lewis’ career has been filled with dramatic lows, and dramatic highs. Crushing injuries, and award-winning excellence. It’s well covered territory, and territory that even the most casual of Mariner fans are likely to have encountered in some form. These highs and lows carry with them many questions, doubts, and hopes. Today, tomorrow, those unknowns will undoubtedly return, but all of them disappeared in a moment last night as if they had never been. All it took was one swing of the bat. A beautiful swing, a sharp crack of the bat, and a no-doubt home run. Kyle Lewis is back.