By Paris Felder
Just when you thought the Seattle Mariners were headed in the right direction with their first ESPN televised game in 13 years, they elected to play in the most Marinersesque way possible.
After getting off to a 2–6 start to the 2016 season the Mariners reeled an impressive 19 of their next 26 games to propel themselves into the top spot of the AL West division and were widely regarded as one of the hottest teams to start the season. Since then, the M’s have fallen off a bit heading into the heart of the second half of the season with a record of 52–50 before the final game of the series against the league leading Chicago Cubs (63–41) at Wrigley Field.
Sunday night baseball started off quickly for optimistic Mariner fans with a two-run home run from Nelson Cruz in the top of the first inning followed by another two-run shot from Robinson Cano in the top of the second inning making it 4–0 giving people tuning in around the nation a “slap in the face” sample of Seattle's one/two punch. If that wasn’t enough for Mariner fans, Dae-Ho Lee hit ANOTHER two-run homer in the top of the third. At this point (on my third beer in a Mexican restaurant bar), I legitimately thought the game was over giving us the rubber match win, not knowing this would be the last run the M’s would score.
With two runs in the fifth, one in the seventh and a heart breaking three runs in the bottom of the ninth from the Cubs, thanks to the loading of the bases and a passed ball by Steve Cisheck which forced a tie game, I would’ve turned the TV off 99% of the time over the last 13 years. I knew I had seen this movie over a thousand times and the only reason I was watching was because we were on ESPN.
Welcome to the life of a millennial Seattle Mariners fan.
Adding to my misery, I continued to watch the game go into extra innings only to see Jon Lester (a goddamn pitcher) drive in the winning run in the bottom of the 12th. This gave me an actual reason to now turn my TV off.
The Mariners are heading into the last 60 games of the season with an outside chance of going on a playoff run and securing one of the wildcard spots for the postseason. In my opinion the magic number is 86 and if this is true they would need to go about 34–18 with the help of other teams close in the standings. This is very doable if health, performance and luck lines up for the M’s but after their performance on national television, if you were to ask the average baseball fan that hasn’t seen the Mariners for 13 years, they would probably bet against us.