Reflecting back on the Seattle Mariners 2013 season has still got me a bit riled up. Reading back through some old articles, I see that as the season progressed there were increasing feelings of frustration, despair and rage. I initially considered posting some vomit-inducing moments of 2013 (don’t worry, it’s in the works), but in an effort to get over my Mariners hangover, I’ve opted to amalgamate some good plays first.
This is a list of some Mariners plays and highlights of the season. They should reignite some of the Mariners love that got snuffed this summer, at the very least you won’t feel like you wasted an entire season.
1 – Ken Griffey Jr. HOF Night
This was far and away one of my favorite Mariners moments of 2013. If you were lucky enough to be at that game then you’ll remember the 10 minute ovation, one last Griffey wave, and an Ichiro Suzuki cameo.
The ceremony lasted for almost an hour, and I don’t think I sat down the whole time. We laughed, we cried, we cheered for the Kid and reminisced about the past. Disclosure: Since I’m not originally from Seattle, I wasn’t a Mariners fan when I was a kid. But damned if I wasn’t a Ken Griffey Jr fan. Jr sparked wonder in little leaguers everywhere, and the induction ceremony was a great way for us all to remember how awesome baseball can be.
On the down side, the Mariners got blown out 10-0 that night…. One of the great disappointments of my Safeco season.
It’s long, but if you missed it here’s a link to the ceremony.
2 – Eight Straight Wins
Remember when we still thought we had a chance? It was at around the All-Star break that the M’s were hovering right around .500 and were still thinking that we might turn the ship around. The Mariners went into the All-Star break with a series sweep against the LA Angels, and then came right back with another sweep of the basement-dwelling Houston Astros. The M’s moved on to Cleveland and took 2-of-3 to end the streak.
While 8 games isn’t exactly groundbreaking, consider the timing of this run. I remember a game early in the season where the Mariners beat the Angels and the Safeco field crew swapped the flags over left field (for those of you who don’t know, those flags above the bleachers indicate the current standings for all American League teams). You see, at that point in the season, the Angels were a huge letdown after Josh Hamilton turned into a dud, the Astros had taken up their standard position in the basement, and the Mariners were only 9 games back of the Texas Rangers for second in the AL West. All of the sudden the Mariners started to win and we all thought that a little streak would bring them right back into sight of the A’s and Rangers. While outright winning the west is wishful thinking, it is always nice to be competitive.
A little perspective on how weak the second half was; if the Mariners had gone .500 after the All-Star break, they would have finished with 79 wins, enough for third in the west, and ahead of the Angels.
3 – Ending an Eight Game Losing Streak on a Walk-Off
It was about 6 weeks before the aforementioned winning streak, but it still really hurt to watch. Up to May 17th, the Mariners were second in the West and playing .500 (ish) baseball. Then the wheels fell off. Sweeps by the Indians and the Angels marked a low point in the early Mariners season. On the other hand, it was so much sweeter when Jason Bay dropped an extra inning blooper into left field for a walk-off win against the Rangers.
Since we’re focusing on the positive aspects of the season, I probably shouldn’t get into the weak performance we saw from Bay this year. But on the plus side, he wasn’t overly expensive, so I don’t feel like we got totally screwed.
Here’s the video link if you’re interested in watching. It was kindof nice for me to watch a walkoff game where the M’s got a turn to run onto the field and celebrate rather than slink into the dugout and mope.
4 - Blanco Grand Slam (With bonus footage where he hits a guy)
Oh, Henry Blanco. The haggard, journeyman catcher came to Seattle to fill some holes this summer. He has since been DFA’d and has elected to try free-agency, but he still managed to make a mark on Seattle baseball (for the most part the mark wasn’t pretty, but there were certainly some highlights).
Blanco made his Mariners debut on June 15th in Oakland. This game was memorable for two reasons; 1 – The Mariners won, and 2 – Henry Blanco won.
Blanco made an instant statement for M’s fans by cranking a bases-loaded jack off of AJ Griffen for all the runs in the ball game. The Mariners went on to win 4-0 and I began to feel a little bit better about things.
Blanco did it again in Boston by hitting a grand-slam over the Green Monster at Fenway. Grand slams are awesome and we all love seeing them, but the best part of this one is at the end of the video where the ball hits a guy in the leg. At first I felt bad for the guy because he’s just minding his own business out there when he gets drilled by a baseball. I’m sure it really hurt. After a little bit of reflection (and re-watching it a dozen times) I began to feel less bad for him and started to resent the fact that I’ve been to so many ball games and never been close to a ball, and this guy gets hit with one while standing around like a goof.
5 – Rauuuuuul Gives us Last Minute Hope
With 2 outs, 2 strikes in the top of the 9th, Raul forced a game against the Kansas City Royals into extra innings with a game tying blast to center field. If you want to talk about clutch situations, this is a big one for Raul. At this point in the season the M’s were in spoiler mode where they were playing the Cardinals, Royals, Tigers and A’s. All of whom were fighting for a playoff spot. The poor Royals were getting ready to pack it in when Ibanez tied the game up on the Mariners’ last strike. It was a glimpse of what could have been awesome about the season, comebacks are exciting (ALCS game 2), and seeing the M’s claw their way back into that game was a solid performance.
If only it hadn’t ended with yet another walk-off loss in the 13th inning.
Looking back at this list there’s an alarming number of them that still end in a loss, and that’s damn frustrating.
Bonus: Here’s Bill Nye throwing a first pitch. That video is worth it for the soundtrack alone.