Seattle Mariners: Year in Review – Ty Gonzalez
It was yet another year of disappointment for the Seattle Mariners, but one I will always remember fondly. This is my farewell to 2018, a year that made me fall even more in love with baseball.
I began writing for SoDo Mojo back in February, following my journalistic aspirations and assuming one of the toughest jobs any youthful sports fan could take: covering the team I love. As a fellow Mariners fan reading this, you’re aware that the M’s are not an easy team to follow. Heartbreak has been far too familiar for Mariners fans, and 2018, unfortunately, was no different.
Entering the season with relatively low expectations, all I wanted out of the team was entertainment. I got my wish, as the likes of Dee Gordon and Wade LeBlanc exuded fun and added a much needed layer of character to the Mariners. Not only were they fun, they were also winning games.
But the better the Mariners got, the more I became invested, and the harder it became to write about the team at their lowest moments. In a year initially predicated on expecting the worst and hoping for the best, I suddenly found myself disappointed when the season took a turn for the worse and the Mariners and their tortured fanbase were forced to watch their once large lead in the Wild Card standings quickly vanish.
By many standards, it was a bad year to be a Mariners fan. Perhaps one of the worst.
Upon reflection, however, I have almost nothing but fond memories of this past season. From Mitch Haniger‘s walk-off in the rain, to Denard Span‘s pinch-hit double versus the Red Sox, it was a season full of incredible moments that made being a Mariners fan something to be proud of.
Of course, my most favorite moment of the season happened on May 8 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. I’ve told this story time and time again on this site, so I’ll keep it short: my wife and I got married just two days prior to the start of the Mariners’ yearly series with the Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre, and we attended the entire series together.
In the first game of the series, the Canadian native James Paxton threw the fifth no-hitter in Mariners history and I saw every moment of it from behind the plate, then met the man of the hour the next day.
These kinds of moments grew my love for the fairytale that is baseball even more. While better years are ahead of the Mariners, no season may ever be as special as this one was for me. It reminded me of the beauty the game carries, and why I love the Mariners through all their mediocrity.
The newest direction the Mariners are taking by “reimagining” their roster has me excited for what’s to come, but also scared to death of their plan ultimately not coming together in the end. But the revitalization of the long-depleted farm system and full commitment to restructuring the organization is something the Mariners have often teased at but have never gone all-in on, so it’s nice to at least see a diversion from the middle-of-the-road path the team has often taken in the 21st century.
It’s not the way I expected the Mariners to end up following their hot start to the 2018 season, but it’s necessary for this team to ultimately escape mediocrity. So here’s to 2018, a year I’ll fondly remember, and one I hope we’ll all look back on as the start of something special.