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Mariners awaken the Baseball Gods, win nailbiter against Blue Jays 3-2

in which I entreat you to play my new favorite board game

Toronto Blue Jays v Seattle Mariners Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images

I’ve recently discovered a new board game with which I am enamored: Sleeping Gods. You play as the motley crew of the ship Manticore in the 1920s, who pass through a storm and find themselves in a strange land. In order to get back home, you explore the new land and go on a series of quests to gather totems of the titular sleeping gods, with which you can awaken them in hopes that they’ll send you back home. The quests require combat (a series of battles against terrifying monsters) as well as regular checks of skill. The crew must demonstrate strength, perception, savvy, craft, and cunning in order to defeat their enemies, wake the gods, and return home.

...In other words, the Seattle Mariners won in thrilling fashion against the Toronto Blue Jays tonight.


In the top of the first inning it became clear that this wasn’t a home game, exactly. As the stadium erupted in cheers (drowning out the Seattleites’ boos) for leadoff man George Springer, the Mariners found themselves as if in a strange land, among unfamiliar fans and facing a set of fierce enemies that bested them earlier in the season. At the end of a demoralizing week, the Gods of Mariners Baseball seemed to be sleeping. To awaken them, the Mariners would have to pass a series of skill checks and defeat their enemies in combat.

The first skill check was a check of savvy. Starter Bryce Miller volunteered to be tested, and mustered 5.1 innings of pitching savvy, striking out six Blue Jays in total.

Thanks to Miller, the Mariners passed the savvy check, but the process was grueling; Miller’s fastball lost velocity with each inning and a finger blister several weeks ago put Miller in a weakened state. In early combat, the Mariners sustained several defeats, striking out eight times against Yusei Kikuchi and whiffing tremendously time and time again. The Mariners Baseball Gods slept on.

In the third inning, the second skill check tested cunning, an ability well suited to crew member José Caballero. Cabby first flashed leather, making a gutsy throw to second to barely get Danny Jansen out, and then later in the same inning devised ... well, it wasn’t the winning hit, but I’d call it the best hit of the game:

The Mariners’ ship took further damage in the fifth inning, when Jansen hit a home run in combat against Miller. At this point the team was weakened to the point where it was unclear whether they’d be able to win enough fights to wake the Gods this play-through; they might remain stuck away from the familiar cheers of home. They did win a battle against the notorious monster Whit Merrifield, however, when Justin Topa coaxed an embarrassing swing from him to end the fifth.

The seventh inning quest required a craft check: craft is the skill needed for maintenance and repair, and repair became necessary after Prelander Berroa’s major league debut. Berroa’s entrance raised some hope that the Gods could be roused, as the cheers of home fans were audible among the sea of strangers. Berroa struggled mightily with his control, though, walking three batters in his outing and letting a second run score on a wild pitch. He also got his first big league strikeout and, to be fair, came into a high-pressure debut situation. The craft check came in the form of Taylor Saucedo and Paul Sewald, who pitched the final 1.2 innings and gave up no runs and a hit between them. Saucedo, in particular, prevented further damage by getting Alejandro Kirk to ground into an inning-ending double play in the eighth.

The Mariners passed their strength check in the bottom of the seventh. Ty France drew a walk, and then AJ Pollock and strong man Mike Ford followed with a double and a single to give the Mariners their first run.

They won another battle in the eighth against Yimi García, as a Ty France double scored run number two and dealt damage to their foe that made the game, for the first time, seem winnable.

After Sewald shut down Toronto in the top of the ninth, the Mariners looked at the damage they’d done and the resources they’d collected, and saw that the game could be winnable during this round. José Caballero used his turn to explore, drawing a walk on a full count. JP Crawford chose to move the ship, executing a perfect sacrifice bunt to move Caballero to second. Julio Rodríguez was given an intentional walk as soon as he stepped up to the plate, and Eugenio Suárez lost in combat to a right fielder monster. Up came Teoscar Hernández, the Mariners’ designated hitter today and former Blue Jay. Hernández struggled in his first series against his former team, earlier this year in Toronto, and Scott Servais told him before the game to take it easy today. “I’ve got this,” he replied. And he did. Teoscar was faced with the final skill check, a perception check. He said after the game that he didn’t want to swing at anything outside the zone, and was looking for a pitch he could get under. He found one, and by passing with sufficient perception, he defeated the final monster.


As soon as the ball cleared Springer in right field, the stadium erupted in cheers. These were not the cheers of Blue Jays fans, who had been chanting all night and frequently drowning out the locals. No, these were cheers of joy that the Gods of Mariners Baseball had been awoken, the game won, and the crew found themselves home once again.