Hello and welcome back to FanPost Friday. It’s fun to think of Mariners fandom as a dormant volcano and with the long-running inside joke about Lookout Landing being a volcano blog, well, I’m just going to go with it. After a near-cataclysmic eruption in 2001 that was mysteriously quelled, the volcano of Mariners fandom went eerily dormant for many years. There was a significant aftershock in 2002 and a smaller one in 2003, sure. But, then it got REAL quiet and stayed that way until it rumbled in 2014 and then again in 2016. No one took it too seriously at that point besides a few very dedicated, true blue volcanologists in the region. But in 2018, that volcano got pretty loud for half the season and the region started to believe that this was finally it. Alas, the second half got really quiet again and the volcano settled into several more years of deep sleep until a sudden burst of activity at the tail end of 2021 that felt a little different to many in the region. It felt more like a sure preview of events to come.
That brings us to 2022, where after a pretty quiet start in April and May, the volcano has been absolutely boppin’ since June and shows no signs of slowing down. No, this time, THIS time, the volcanologists who have studied the volcano for decades are not mincing their words—the whole damn thing could really explode this time.
I’ll end the metaphor there, but the truth remains that the baseball spirit is returning to Seattle and to the greater Northwest region. I have two very non-scientific bellwethers for believing this:
- Friends and acquaintances who are not die-hard Mariners fans or even baseball fans at all, but know I follow the team closely, have been checking in with me A LOT since June
- I’m seeing a dramatic increase of people wearing Mariners gear casually around town
Last Saturday, my wife and I were bike riding around West Seattle and I saw at least 15 people just walking around wearing Mariners gear. The Mariners were playing in Texas at 5 PM local time here, no one is going to the game or probably even going out of their way to watch the game indoors on a GORGEOUS August Saturday, but you bet your ass folks were REPPING the Seattle Mariners. A few weeks before that we were in Yakima and I saw a surprising amount of Mariners hats on folks around town and the day game versus the Astros was on every TV at Bale Breaker Brewing Company.
If you’ve lived in the Northwest for a long time, you’re committed. I’d say once you hit the 10-15 year mark of living here, you’re probably not going to leave unless you have to. You’re invested, you survive the endless gray days and the bone-chilling wet-cold of the falls and winters and you complain endlessly about the shitty spring weather until it finally gets warm in mid-July. You’ve earned the right. The same holds true to Mariners fandom. You care. We care. We care deeply about this dumbass team of protagonists. Whether it’s because you lived here through 1995 or through 2001 or maybe you just started going to games in 2009 or 2015 and just fell in love with the stadium, the players, and the perpetual underdog story. You’re invested in a long-term commitment of emotional and intellectual connection where the payoff of catharsis comes sparingly or just never comes at all. This is why Mariners fandom goes dormant for years at a time, but never really dies. The spirit remains, lying in wait with all the other spirits of Mariners fans who ever lived and died, patiently watching for it’s opportunity to come alive again.
That opportunity is here and the payoff, at least the only one we can remotely rationally hope for, sits six weeks away. Don’t miss it, friends.
PROMPT: What kinds of increased Mariners interest/happenings have you noticed in your community, town, neighborhood, social groups, etc?
Let’s hear some stories and anecdotes! Have a great weekend, folks, and go Mariners.