One of my very first sports memories is the very first no-hitter in Seattle Mariners history. June 2nd, 1990. Randy Johnson, against the Detroit Tigers.
I was five years old and quite possibly the biggest little Mariner fan in the world. I wore a royal blue cap emblazoned with the team’s familiar gold “S” every single day (seriously, there are very few pictures from my childhood where I’m without that hat). The M’s were my entire being at that point in my life. I could name all the players on the team right down to the most obscure: Bryan Clark, a veteran relief pitcher; Dave Cochrane, the ultimate utility player; Jeff Schaefer, another utility man who was so irrelevant he would later be replaced on the front of his 1992 Donruss card by a picture of Tino Martinez. And of course I had my favorites, too: Ken Griffey Jr., Alvin Davis, Edgar Martinez, Omar Vizquel, and yes, the six-foot-ten-inch southpaw, Randy Johnson.
We didn’t always stay all nine innings back then. I was young enough to necessitate an early bedtime and my brother was even younger, so attending a full game was, for us, as rare as a no-hitter. But on that particular day I was fortunate enough to be in attendance at the ballpark along with my dad. And we weren’t leaving until the final out was recorded.
Through the fog that shrouds the memories of childhood, I remember standing and cheering during the ninth inning. We were in our usual spot in the Kingdome, 300 level, first base side. When Tigers catcher Mike Heath swung at a high fastball to end it, everyone on hand went nuts. There hadn’t been much to cheer about in the annals of Seattle Mariners baseball and this was one of the franchise’s first noteworthy triumphs. It was a memorable evening, one nobody in attendance would ever forget.
Continue reading A Precursor to Greatness
Mariners fans know aggravation.
With every ill-advised decision their favorite baseball team makes, the frustration boils and festers until it can’t simmer any longer. It’s the kind of maddening anger that widens the eyes and quickens the pulse and feels as if it can only be satiated with destruction and rage. Unleash a fury of haymakers upon a punching bag. Smash a Louisville Slugger upon the ground until splinters fly in every direction and sweat drips to the earth. Throw a TV out a window, scream to the heavens, sprint until a lung bursts, whatever it takes to ease the angst. And yet the angst never eases.
The club’s latest maneuver has nearly everyone wondering whether the brass on the corner of Edgar and Dave have any clue what they’re doing. On Sunday, the M’s optioned outfielder Guillermo Heredia to Triple-A Tacoma to make room for the activation of pitcher Erasmo Ramirez. In doing so, they elected to keep outfielder Ichiro Suzuki on the big league roster – despite the fact that Heredia had outplayed Suzuki in every facet of the game to begin the year.
Though any of number of excuses could be conjured to justify keeping the 44-year-old future Hall of Famer around, the reality is that the organization chose to honor a legend rather than invest in the on-field success of the ballclub. Anyone with two eyes and a passion for the game could see right through the front office’s intentions – and that, above all else, was incredibly irritating to a fan base that has suffered long enough.
Continue reading Mariners Fans Don’t Deserve This – But the Franchise Does
They slowly wither away in dark rooms illuminated only by the iridescence of a television set, mainlining ROOT Sports coverage of Seattle Mariners baseball like heroin junkies slumped upon the dusty plywood surface of a neighborhood drug house.
They find comfort in Brad Adam, take solace in Angie Mentink. This is what they know, what they crave, what they need to survive this day and the next. They know they should quit, but how does one loosen the firm grasp of addiction?
They are lifers, these people. They bleed every shade of Mariners blue that can be bled: royal, powder, navy, teal. They’re in it for the long haul, despite the utter misery of the situation in which they find themselves.
For the most part, they are passionless, barely functional, hardly human. Losing is what they’ve come to understand, and each subsequent loss registers no more than a facial twitch or a shrug of the shoulders. Wins, those fleeting moments of abbreviated happiness, result in tempered celebrations that only serve to worsen the dependence upon this poisonous chemical.
Continue reading The Addicts
I remember being four or five years old and dragging my dad into our front yard to teach me how to do a leg kick like a big league pitcher. Like Mark Langston and Mike Moore, two of Seattle’s very best, whose games I had actually seen with my own eyes. I could already swing my red plastic bat like Alvin Davis and could throw and catch a little bit. But now we needed to step it up. I wanted to bring the heat.
I failed at first. Where Langston and Moore stood poised like cranes on the front of their baseball cards, the rendition I put together, in retrospect, probably looked more along the lines of a miniature Chris Farley doing a karate kick, then chucking a tee ball with all his might. But I kept practicing and eventually got the motion down. Shortly thereafter, my parents stuck a pitchback screen on the lawn and let me while away the afternoons tossing to a net, whispering the names of all the great hurlers I knew as I fired fastball after fastball into a red rectangle.
Continue reading Mariners Memories
It was a year to forget for Felix Hernandez. The regression he endured in 2016 was so abrupt and so sudden that even casual onlookers couldn’t help but raise an eyebrow at his performance.
The 30-year-old was far from regal, despite a nickname he’d earned years prior. As his pitching suffered, he began to look less like King Felix and more like John Goodman’s King Ralph.
The Felix Hernandez we saw in 2016 was the product of a decade of indulgence, one that any athlete or ex-athlete over the age of 30 knows all about. There’s even a saying that sage veterans of sport will pass along to naïve young bucks, full of boundless energy and equipped with perfectly adept bodies: “Wait ‘til you’re 30.”
Continue reading 2017 Seattle Mariners Preview: Felix Forgets 30
The Seattle Mariners are celebrating their 40th anniversary this year and are honoring some of the greatest players in franchise history as a result.
To keep things interesting, the M’s are requesting your help in picking their 40th Anniversary team. From now until April 2nd, fans can vote on their favorite players here.
I’d certainly encourage anyone to go vote and help select the all-40th Anniversary squad. You wouldn’t want to miss out on the democratic process and witness Richie Zisk get elected Best Designated Hitter in franchise history, would you? Although I heard something about Edgar Martinez’s emails the other day, so… you know what, it doesn’t matter, just vote.
We went through and made our selections, stopping to enjoy the many photos of current and former M’s in their heyday. Some of the pictures were just too good to be ignored, so we decided to pay homage to the very best photos with the following selection of the greatest Mariners in history as selected by their ballot headshot.
If you find yourself stuck on who to vote for, always use the mugshot as a tiebreaker. That’s our theory, at least.
1B – Bruce Bochte
Bruce Bochte is probably best remembered for becoming the first Seattle Mariner to record a hit in an All-Star Game (at the Kingdome, no less), which makes him a worthy addition to the 40th Anniversary ballot. The photo, though? That’s another story.
Continue reading The Seattle Mariners All-Headshot 40th Anniversary Team
It’s not often during a ballgame you hear a broadcaster say exactly what every fan happens to be thinking.
Lucky for us, a hot microphone and an abrupt return from commercial break caught Mariners announcer Dave Sims in a moment of sheer honesty.
Shortly after M’s left fielder Norichika Aoki unleashed a hideous throw to home plate that sailed all the way to the backstop, Sims had this to say on the ROOT Sports broadcast:
Aoki’s defense rivals that of only James Harden, and his throwing arm would play better at the Little League World Series, so it isn’t surprising to hear someone lament his shortcomings in the field.
And in the end, the terrible throw proved fairly inconsequential, as the Mariners were shut out by the New York Yankees 5-0.
Still, it was pretty awesome hearing a guy paid to watch the team speak the truth, if even for a split second.
Go Sims. Go M’s.