Cheney Free Press -

By Lee Hughes
Staff Reporter 

Miscellaneous musings of one frustrated Mariners fan

Crunch Time

 


Being a Mariners fan is a lot like having a high school crush on someone that enjoys teasing you mercilessly. First they’re hot, then they’re cold — and you’re left frustrated and confused.

Is consistency too much to ask for? Look, to be honest, I’m not one of those sports geeks who hovers over every team and player stat. I’m more of a passive, causal fan who likes to relax, toss back a cold one and just watch a game unfold.

Or maybe a better word is implode, which is what the Mariners have so far managed to do magnificently this season.

Back on April 11 the M’s were an astonishing 13-2, and averaging nearly eight runs per game. They were leading the league — the entire Major League — in home runs, stolen bases and batting average. Amazing! Could this be a magical year?

Then USA Today jinxed it.

“If they just play .500 ball from here on out, they’re a post-season contender,” Ted Berg wrote in an April 12 USA Today article.

That same day the M’s began a six-game losing stretch. Then they won a few. Then they lost a few more. Won a couple, then lost a lot.

Pop, goes the dream. Thanks a lot, Ted.

Things got so bad that when first baseman Daniel Voglebach blasted a two-run home run into the third deck of right field at T-Mobile Park, someone placed a traffic cone and caution tape around the seat where it landed to market it hallowed ground in what ended up being a lone 6-2 M’s victory against the Rangers on May 27, breaking a six-game losing streak.

(To his credit, the tank-like Voglebach was only the third player to hit a home run that high in the stadium’s history, according to the Seattle Times, so maybe some cone-and-tape commemoration was due.)

Then the M’s promptly went on another losing streak.

It’s now week 12 and the M’s are trailing badly in the American League West, and I mean really bad. They sit on the thorny throne of last place at 25-37, 16 games behind the division-leading Astros and five games behind the next closest team, the fourth place Angels. There are only four other teams in the entire AL with worse records, so I guess that’s a straw to grasp at anyway — there are other teams that suck worse.

So much for the post-season. I’ll be happy with a decent regular season.

The longest winning streak the M’s have enjoyed since those heady days of April 12 was three games — and that was on April 20. They have since averaged one win for every 3.2 loses. That doesn’t really sound so bad when you say it out loud, it just doesn’t feel good when the wins are spread out between so many loses.

But hope springs eternal, and all eyes are on the MLB draft currently underway. On Monday the M’s took 6 foot-4-inch right-handed pitcher George Kirby of Elon University in the first round, according to ESPN. Kirby went 8-2, pitched a shutout and three complete games, sports a 2.75 ERA, and had only six walks in 88.1 innings. Not bad.

Will the M’s rebuild, again? Maybe they should start with a new manager. What choice do they have? Who knows? I’m just an armchair fan who likes my M’s to win without giving it too much thought. They’re paid to play and win. I pay to watch, and frankly I’m looking for a better return on investment.

The M’s are playing the .667, 40-20, league-leading Astros at home in the first of a four-game series as I write this. Houston took a quick 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning, but it’s now the top of the fourth and the M’s have come back to make it a 3-2 game. Things aren’t looking good — but not too bad either. Who knows, maybe the M’s will get some of that old mojo going?

That said, I’m going to wrap this up and run over to the local watering hole to check on my investment. Maybe the M’s will pull off an upset; maybe even take the series.

I mean, what’s the worst that can happen? They lose another game?

Lee Hughes can be reached at lee@cheneyfreepress.com.

 

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