You probably didn’t see the Texas Rangers beat the New York Yankees tonight and clinch the first World Series berth in their franchise’s history. I understand. It’s a Friday evening. It’s football season. Basketball season is nearly upon us. The Mariners have been dead for five months. I get it.
To be perfectly honest, I can’t say I physically witnessed this momentous occasion, either. I was at the mall, tooling around. Frankly, I still enjoy the vibe at the mall on a Friday night. I worked at the mall for eight frickin years. There are 52 Fridays in a year. Multiply that by eight years. You get 416 Fridays. I wager I spent at least 250 of those Fridays working at the mall between 2001 and 2009. Think about that. 250 Fridays. My God. I can’t even believe it myself. If I wasn’t half-Asian and therefore half-good at math I’d go back and recalculate my work.
But I digress. The mall is neither here nor there. Though I will say that it’s pretty entertaining watching teenagers mack on each other in a public setting. People watching is a hobby of mine. Some of you might say that’s weird. Whatever, man. I’ve been called worse. Weird is a compliment.
So the Rangers went and did the unthinkable, toppling the Yanks and earning their first trip to the Fall Classic. Ever. Good for them. Even as a diehard Mariners fan (and, based on intra-divisional competition, a Rangers rival…I guess…if you can honestly call it a “rivalry”) I’m thrilled to see the underdog prevail.
That said, I’m even more pleased to inform everyone that the Mariners are now one of only two teams to never — NEVER — make a World Series. It’s down to the hometown nine and the Washington Nationals, aka the Montreal Expos. The Mariners have aptly placed themselves in a dead heat to see who will become baseball’s biggest loser. Keep in mind there are no winners here.
Think about this. In the past 17 years, Major League Baseball has expanded twice, adding four new franchises in the process (Colorado, Florida, Arizona, and Tampa Bay). All four of those “new” ballclubs have been to a Series. They have combined for three titles (two by Florida, one by Arizona) in that span. And yet in thirty-four seasons — THIRTY-FOUR!! — the Mariners have only made the playoffs four FREAKING times. Unbuckingfelievable. Seriously.
I made this analogy on my Facebook page (and for those of you who already read that, apologies on the redundancy), but it’s worth posting here, too. So here goes.
Think back to when you were a little kid, for a minute. Remember how sometimes you would get so mad — I’m talking really, really mad…to the point where you weren’t even thinking rationally anymore — that you would tell your parents to send you to your room? Remember that? Because it happened, I promise you. It happened to me. I distinctly recall how those moments would play out.
I would be irate over something. Absolutely livid. My mom or dad would threaten to send me to my room for a while. Their threats, however, would only fuel my ire, at which point I’d start threatening them with threats of my own.
“Send me to my room! Do it! I want to go to my room! Send me there!”
And then I’d get sent to my room. Only I wouldn’t go peacefully, earning extra time en route to my destination. Like a prisoner who tacks added years onto his sentence by committing a few more crimes along the way.
So how does this relate to the Mariners, you ask? Good question. It’s quite simple really. I’m so irrationally upset with this organization after all their years of f***-ups and letdowns that I’m asking them to send me to my room. Send me to my damn room already, Mariners. Put me out of my misery. Let the Nationals beat you to a World Series so I can take solace in the fact that we’ve achieved something, however bittersweet our achievement may be. We don’t want to be one of the worst. We want to be the worst. We want to be the very best at being the very worst. Which means we can’t punch our ticket to baseball’s grandest stage until after the Expos do it. I mean, Nationals. But who really gives a sh*t, anyways.
Beyond my irrational anger, you’re probably wondering who I actually think has the better shot of being the last ballclub to earn a World Series berth. Personally, I feel like the Nats will beat us to the punch in getting to the big show. They have a young, up-and-coming nucleus in a division that isn’t getting any younger (the Phillies, for example, are a veteran-laden club). The Mariners, on the other hand, are only beginning to rebuild after a Believe Big bust. Plus — oh yeah, in case you forgot — the M’s happen to play in the same division as the youthfully hard-hitting squad that just won the American League pennant. So there’s that.
Does any of this really matter? I don’t know. Maybe. Who cares, right?
I feel like Harry Doyle in Major League. “Hello, Mariner fans. Welcome to Major League Baseball…sort of.”