The Seattle Mariners In The Playoffs Would Mean The World To Me
By JJ Keller
We are down to the wire folks. There are less than two weeks left in the 2014 regular season, and the Seattle Mariners find themselves within reach of the promised land for the first time in far too long. Despite that, the most recent feelings towards the M’s seem to be a little more negative than you would expect from a fan base that has been devoid of meaningful baseball past July for more than a decade.
Shouldn’t we be happy that it is mid-September and the Mariners are still hanging around?
Probably so, and at times we still are. Most people I have interacted with, deep down, are still ecstatic about where the Mariners are. But a byproduct of being unfamiliar with late-season relevancy is that we don’t always know how to react when things go south.
Every bad loss when it matters the most brings up feelings of hopelessness and negativity. We haven’t been to this point enough to realize that you can lose late in the year and be perfectly okay.
It feels like we need to win out, but in reality, despite a rough time of late, the M’s are still only two games out of the Royals. I would venture to guess that plenty of playoff races go this way. If they didn’t, and teams just won out every time, there wouldn’t be much of a race.
And I am guilty of these feelings too. I haven’t watched every game down the stretch. I have, at times, lost hope. The Mariners’ lows seem especially low, and it makes it hard to remain positive, even if they are still right in this thing.
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But I know, once I get passed the negativity and quit feeling sorry for myself, that I want this.
I said following the Super Bowl that as exciting as it was to have a Seahawks Championship, it wouldn’t hold a candle to the Mariners winning the World Series, or even just making the playoffs.
That is how much I love this team, and how devoid of success they have been in my time. I am 18 years old, and even though I have been a fan my whole life, I haven’t really seen a good Mariner team. Sure, there is the iconic 2001, but I was 5 years old then, and wasn’t able to enjoy it the way I would as an adult.
Now, I know the fandom doesn’t exactly get much better as the further back you go. It isn’t like the Mariners dominated the 80’s or 90’s, or ever. But in some ways, at least in my opinion, it is just as bad having never experienced winning baseball as it is being a longtime, disappointed fan.
All this is to say, that a playoff appearance this year would be my first real experience of October baseball. I love this team more than almost anything else. I spend a sizable portion of my time writing and reading about, thinking about, and watching this team. There are few things that matter more to me than the Mariners, and it is difficult to try to put that into words.
Seeing King Felix Hernandez pitch in October, pump his fist under the bright lights of the postseason. Seeing Robinson Cano‘s sweet swing send one out to right field. Seeing Kyle Seager hit a walk-off bomb. I get chills just thinking about the possibility of those things happening.
It won’t be an easy couple weeks. There’s a chance the season is all but over before then. But they could also catch fire and take the first Wild Card. I can’t say with confidence that those are equally as likely, but they are both possible.
I just feel that a lot of us — myself included — could use a little bit of perspective. To take a step back, realize what this team means to us, and hold on to hope as long as possible.