Aside from Julio Rodríguez’s supernova-esque Home Run Derby debut, this was a clunker of a week for Mariners baseball. But, it was a really beautiful week for remembering what I really treasure about baseball: The way it allows us to connect with others. While the M’s were busy disappointing in front of sell-out crowds, they also provided exceptional background noise for the summer’s first Gas Works Park picnic and reconnecting with a favorite human of mine.
Record for the week:
*Unless you’re counting the American League’s triumph over the National League in the All-Star Game.
Player of the week:
Staff writer Zach Gottschalk and I have this debate more often than either of us would like, but in this truncated week Dylan Moore demonstrated once again that he has the potential to be a perfectly decent baseball player.
Play of the week:
It wasn’t good for my heart, but Moore and Adam Frazier both performed rather admirably in the outfield when pressed into service this weekend. Did we like it? No. Did they pull it off? Sure did. Let’s not do this much more, hm?
At-bat of the week:
Listen. It’s hot, I didn’t sleep last night, and frankly found the Mariners’ offensive performance this weekend rather annoying. I have no interest in combing through all that disappointment. If you have one that comes to mind, I’ll edit this piece and credit you properly.
Updated as of 9:40 a.m., courtesy of actual_iris (thank you!):
“At-bat of the week has to be Suarez’s walk late in the first Houston game. Took all the right pitches against a tough reliever and brought the tying run to the plate. Of course, KLew wound up lining out, but that shouldn’t sour Suarez’s efforts.”
Nemesis of the week:
Man, screw the Astros organization. I’m admittedly exceptionally bitter, but it’s infuriating to see them just own the division year in and year out - based in large part on players they acquired
Favorite Mariners content:
Ahead of the unfortunate sweep, Kate Preusser wrote about how an Astros/Mariners rivalry may be exactly what baseball needs. John Trupin carried water for the front office, while Zach Gottschalk added to the weight of that bucket by prompting tears with a beautiful piece about hope.
Above all though, a huge, huge shoutout to our stalwart minor league team and particularly their excellent draft coverage: Kyle Gehler, Nick Vitalis, John Trupin and Kate Preusser. This quartet does the often thankless work of tracking and reporting on hopes and dreams, while the rest of us wait greedily to pounce when they “make it.”
Favorite thing I ate while watching/listening to a game:
I mentioned this earlier, but the games this weekend were simply a ruse for spending time with people I adore (alongside some middling food/drink that doesn’t particularly warrant highlighting). Sometimes it can be difficult to sit down across from someone and say “Okay, update me on all the big pieces of your life, and also the small, seemingly inconsequential ones, and oh yeah how are you feeling about your dreams, the future, etc?” Under the auspices of “watching a game,” though, you can settle in together and between innings and pitching changes and interminable at-bats your guard lowers, outside stresses eased by the soothing cyclicality of baseball. It’s a special, beautiful thing and I’m forever grateful for my own baseball relationships, and hope that you, dear reader, have some of these enriching baseball connections in your own lives.
Bold prediction for next week:
As one savvy reader, and owner of one of the world’s cutest kittens, kindly alerted me to last week, I did, in fact, fail to update my bold predictions from last week. Oops. Another reason to simply put that whole disaster in our collective rearview mirror. This week, I think they can pull of a series win vs the Rangers and hope only to avoid another sweep in Houston. Based on what I saw in Everett this weekend, I’m going to also hazard that we’ll have a Major League Mitch sighting very soon.
This is the Week of Texas, with three games against the Rangers and four against the Astros (again). I feel thoroughly anxious about the ‘Stros rematch in the Houston bandbox, but the immense silver lining there is that once that series runs its course the Mariners won’t have to face the Astros again this regular season. Good riddance.
This week in Mariners history:
It’s a petty highlight, but a good one.
And though it was technically on July 21, I would be remiss if I didn’t throw it back to the culmination of decades of hard work - and a personal highlight.