My undergraduate thesis is due Wednesday. When I signed up to recap this game a week ago, I figured it would make for a relaxing break from thinking about history to think about baseball for a few hours.
I was wrong.
For those of you who don’t know me, (and why would you?) I’m studying history at the University of Texas (go horns). In keeping with my love of the sea, I’m writing about my thesis on the short-lived Texas Navy of the early 1840s. That navy, which faced many problems you’ll be able to read about in my thesis, only ever had one mutiny.
The schooner San Antonio was in harbor in New Orleans. Some of the officers went ashore, but forbade the sailors from leaving the ship. The sergeant of the marines and some other sailors got drunk as sailors are wont to do, grabbed weapons, killed the lieutenant left behind, stole a longboat, and rowed for New Orleans. They barely made it from their ship before they were snapped up by a U.S. Navy ship.
The group was later returned to Texan control, and one of them testified against the others. He was spared and the rest were executed, some hanged, some shot. The man who testified against his co-conspirators was killed in battle a few weeks later.
I bring this anecdote up because, bear with me, it reminds me of the game the Seattle Mariners just played. The Mariners mutinied against the concept of good baseball.
The first run the Rays scored was unearned. It came in the top of the third in a weird play. With runners on first and second, Julio caught a deep fly ball in center. Diaz at second tried to advance to third, so Julio threw to the cutoff man, Adam Frazier. Frazier rushed the throw, the ball kicked off Diaz’s foot and into the camera well, out of play, scoring Diaz.
The Rays got their fourth run on another weird play. In the eighth inning, Arozarena grounded one sharply to short, Moore (filling in for J.P. who left the game with back spasms after sliding into first base) charged and threw home. In a close play, Wander Franco just got his hand in before the tag and scored. After a mound visit, Diego Castillo walked Lowe to load the bases and set Margot up for a massive grand slam to put the game out of reach.
With two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Abraham Toro, my beloved, launched a massive solo shot to right field that almost went into the second deck. So that was pretty cool. But otherwise, this game was a stinker, a snoozer, no good, very bad baseball game. And worst of all, it did nothing to take my mind of the rapidly approaching deadline I’m contending with.
But that description fails to convey just how sad this game was to watch. There were frankly strange decisions being made all over the field. As we’ve already mention, J.P. tried to slide into first for absolutely no reason, which likely contributed to the back spasms that took him out of the game. If he had stayed in, and he had fielded that ball in the eighth instead of Moore, who knows what would have happened.
And in the bottom of the first, in a strange baserunning decision, Frazier tried to steal third with Crawford, a lefty, batting. He also slid approximately one kilometer before the bag.
Adam Frazier getting himself thrown out at third pic.twitter.com/G03Hr3shtK— Jake Parr (@jakebparr) May 8, 2022
The game wasn’t even fun in the bottom of the third, when the M’s loaded the bases with just one out for Ty France. Ty hit a weak fly ball, and then J.P. hit the grounder that had him sliding into first. It was just an ugly inning, and frankly the Mariners did not deserve a run out of it.
This game was fun to watch for exactly six plate appearances: the bottom of the fifth inning. Julio led off with a triple, and then scored on an Adam Frazier two-out single. Ty France then hit a single of his own, and it looked like the Mariners had a rally going. And then that’s when Moore, filling in for J.P., struck out to end the inning.
So where do we go from here? What is to be done about the Seattle Mariners? It has been an exhausting twelve days of painful, sad, and lame baseball games. That opening homestand and that walk-off win against the Royals feels like so long ago. But the M’s have been playing tough opponents since then, and will be for a while yet. The don’t play Oakland until the 23rd (long after my thesis is due, oh no), and have a pretty adversarial schedule until then.
So what can we find solace in? What does history tell us? Well, just after the mutiny in New Orleans, the Texas Navy sailed to Campeche off the coast of the Yucatán Peninsula, which was revolting against the Mexican government, and being blockaded by the Mexican Navy. The Mexican Navy had a pair of menacing steamships purchased from Great Britain, as well as expat British officers to train the crews in running them. It wasn’t enough, however, as those massive steamships with explosive shells were driven away by the small sailing vessels of the Texan and Yucatecan navies, the only time in history sailing ships beat steamships. If the Mariners truly are reliving history, then we know that overcoming difficult odds is always possible.