#4: 2021 Mariners
Is there a bit of recency bias here? Guess what. Don’t care. What this season meant to fans earns it a spot in the top five, and I’ll make my final stand on that hill. It’s not just the record that puts it here though, there is so much more behind it.
The Farm System. The MLB Squad. The Front Office Changes. The Love.
All of those things were in abundance this year for the Mariners. Start with the front office. It started off as one of the ugliest stories in baseball, from a team perspective. Mather was caught on camera being a big ol’ dumdum. It easily could’ve spiraled out of control, but the players ended up having some fun with it. Very boring indeed. Dipoto ended up moving up, and the team hired Catie Griggs as the new president.
This translated into something I haven’t seen in tandem in quite a while (ever?) for the Mariners. Smart decisions at the deadline, both in the short and long-term, and the team dropping ticket prices to get people to come into the stadium. That blew me away more than anything. Cheap tickets to try and fill the seats. It didn’t always work, but the important part is that, sometimes, it did. 15K during the week for a team that has been BAD for 20 years is a great step.
We all know the farm system has the potential to be special. Go take a look at the rankings (usually #1 or #2 depending on where you look), and the team is just loaded with potential all over the field. Kelenic came up, as did Raleigh and Gilbert. They still have Julio, Kirby, Hancock, Marte, Brash, Williamson, Deloach, and many others that would be top 5-10 in any system. For the Mariners, these players span all the way down to 20th.
Then there’s the team itself. I can’t even count the number of conversations that I had where fans just felt different watching the team this year. That wasn’t as much overhanging dread or despair. The team was fun, the players were enjoyable, and it seemed like each and every one of them both loved playing the game and wanted to be out there playing. Even though they missed out on the playoffs, this is definitely one of the best seasons in the history of the Mariners.