It’s been hard being a Mariners fan the last 13 years. Since a 116-win season the playoffs haven’t been close to a reality. Losing seasons, last place finishes, a dwindling fan base.
But this year, especially recently, we haven’t had to talk about that. We’ve been talking about winning. We’ve been talking about King Felix Hernandez and Robinson Cano, the emergence of Kyle Seager as an All-Star. And again over the last two weeks, we’ve been legitimately talking about the playoffs.
Sure, the Mariners are 7 1/2 back of the Oakland Athletics for the division lead in the AL West. But they’re only a 1/2 game back of the Detroit Tigers, the team they play this weekend in Detroit.
So what does that mean? It means the Mariners are relevant, which is pretty freaking cool. Normally when the Mariners would sweep a team in contention for a playoff spot ESPN would throw up article after article– video after video and segment after segment– about the struggles of that team. About why they may not be poised to make a deep run.
But they say nothing about the good things the Mariners did. It’s the fault of the other team, not the success of the M’s. This year that’s different. This year the Mariners are not only hanging with, but also beating down, on the MLB big boys. Toronto has one of the best offenses in baseball and they were absolutely stymied by the Felix Hernandez, Hisashi Iwakuma, Chris Young trio (the best 1-2-3 in the majors based on ERA).
Now ESPN and blogs like this are giving the Mariners their due. Giving them the attention they have earned throughout the season.
I nearly cheering like the Seahawks won the Super Bowl again when I saw that one of the front page tiles on ESPN MLB was all about the Mariners. The Red Sox fans I am surrounded by don’t care that I’m happy, but that makes no difference to me.
Felix is featured in an ESPN insider best pitches in the MLB post by Keith Law. Jim Caple writes of the Mariners recent surge, legitimizing their contendership in the AL playoff picture. And David Schoenfield, a Mariners fan himself, notes that the Mariners have 3 AL MVP candidates.
They’re all intriguing reads, and simply make you smile if you’re an M’s fan.
So get excited, 10th man! This could be the season that puts the M’s back on the map. Start saving that money you’d spend on beer or candy or coffee, and get ready to buy yourself some playoff tickets. I know if the Mariners find themselves playing anywhere on the east coast, I’ll be there.
As always Go M’s, Long Live the King, and 10th Man urge forward your Mariners!