Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Seattle Is Ready For The Real Thing

Sometimes is hard for Mariner fans to remember what winning feels like.  Real winning.  Not just a game, but a significant triumph.  This weekend the Mariners celebrate that lost feeling with a trip down memory lane.  Friday night's admission includes a bobble-head with Mark McLemore and Mike Cameron locked in a hand embrace.  116 Wins t-shirts for the first 20,000 through the gate on Saturday.  Remember the good old days? 

The 2001 Mariners led the majors in winning percentage the from the first pitch of opening day.  This surprised most observers as baseball experts across the country predicted that Alex Rodriguez's departure to the Rangers would send the franchise into a downward spiral.  But the arrival of Ichiro, and a monster season by Bret Boone (.331/37/141!), wrote a different story.  The 2001 Mariners boasted eight all-stars who graced Safeco Field for the mid-summer classic: RF Ichiro Suzuki, DH Edgar Martínez, CF Mike Cameron, 2B Bret Boone, 1B John Olerud and pitchers Freddy Garcia, Kazuhiro Sasaki, and Jeff Nelson. 

As wonderful as it was, the 2001 season was the one that got away. The girl you never had the guts to ask out.  Sure, you had some great times together.  But when it came down to the moment of truth you couldn't close the deal.  Fast-forward 10 years and we have the memories of that bittersweet season and nothing more.  Seattle remains one of two baseball franchises to never appear in the World Series.  Vegas would probably give you even money if you were to wager on the team that will make their World Series appearance first, the Nationals or the Mariners. 

What would real winning look like in Seattle?  World Series winning.  It would change everything.  The entire franchise, and city, would change.  Imagine if the magic of 1995 lasted years, not just a few months.  To get a sense of what this would look like in Seattle you can look South, to our closest baseball neighbors. 

Giant Fever

San Francisco is obsessed with the Giants.  The franchise captured the heart of the city last season and hasn't loosened its grip.  It is hard to describe what real winning feels like unless you experience it.  This winter The City was so excited for the season to start you would have thought every day was opening day.

Winning looks like this (from AT&T Park, Opening Day 2011):

Giant Boats

Fan Floats
Hero's Welcome

When the home opener finally arrived, tailgating started 5 hours before the first pitch.  The atmosphere around the kickoff of the 6-month baseball season felt like a Seahawk NFC Championship game in January.  People were partying in Giant themed boats and floats.  Giant orange was everywhere.  Fans went crazy at their first fix of Tim Lincecum and Buster Posey on the stadium big screen.  The city shed tears, and their voices, when Brian Wilson raised the championship flag.  The celebration is still going.

How does it feel?

This feeling doesn't start and end with a game.  Winning, like The Dude, abides.  It can never be erased and is never forgotten.  The 1995 and 2001 Mariners gave us a taste, but don't confuse that with the real thing.  Seattle is ready to be transformed.  When will the Mariners be ready?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Excellent post here! When will they be ready? Well, I'm not even sure the M's won't be sellers before the trading deadline. They certainly have an interesting nucleus to look forward to, but also a few interesting "tradable" guys... :/