The final time the Seattle Mariners made the playoffs, Blu Cantrell’s “Hit ‘Em Up Model (Oops!)” was atop the Billboard charts, a non-superhero film (“Don’t Say A Phrase”) was No. 1 on the field workplace, and M’s All-Star rookie Julio Rodriguez was not but a yr outdated.
The Pac Northwest’s 21-year drought of postseason baseball is over after Cal Raleigh’s pinch-hit, walk-off dwelling run on a full rely with two outs within the backside of the ninth.
It was the Mariners’ 86th win of the season, which is a quantity they’ve reached six occasions throughout this hiatus. It at all times felt merciless that the longest common season of America’s 4 main professional sports activities additionally was the least rewarding. Even when MLB instituted a one-game playoff it was inordinately unfair to the workforce that was a handful of video games forward of the final place wild card winner and needed to face a winner-take-all recreation earlier than even getting acclimated.
When the format was expanded to 6 groups per league earlier than this season, the intention was to make the canine days extra related with extra essential playoff races. Whereas I perceive the thought course of, as soon as soccer begins the remainder of the sports activities calendar would possibly as properly be steamed cauliflower on a plate subsequent to a well-cooked/seared NY strip.
No matter Rob Manfred’s galaxy-brained makes an attempt to fiddle with baseball till it’s fastened (or ruined), one of the best a part of the six-team format is it permits golf equipment repeatedly on the perimeter of rivalry to make the playoffs. Some dialed-in bats with a sizzling pitching workers can go on a run and steal a collection or perhaps even a hoop, particularly in baseball.
Ought to we anticipate that from this Mariners membership? Who is aware of, and, actually, I don’t assume the folks of Seattle give a shit. They’re simply elated to be off the listing of U.S. professional sports activities groups with the longest playoff droughts. There are undoubtedly M’s followers who’ve skilled greater than their share of anguish who disagree with my subsequent assertion, but it surely’s by no means felt like Seattle was as hapless because the latest iterations of the Sacramento Kings, or these bleak L.A. Clippers groups of the Donald Sterling period. Even the pre-Josh Allen Buffalo Payments that spent a big portion of this century with out a playoff recreation emitted extra dysfunction than the Mariners.
Sure, the monetary state of affairs and the disadvantages of working like a “small market” workforce contributed to the drought. But so did the truth that for a very long time it’s been actually arduous to qualify for MLB’s postseason. If this was final yr, the Mariners could be holding onto the one-game play-in bullshit by half a recreation, and even when they received it, that’s hardly any method to bust a droop.
Seattle received’t should play a juggernaut Houston squad or New York proper off the bat or danger going one and performed. They’re nonetheless jockeying for place among the many different wild card groups (Toronto and Tampa Bay), and can play a best-of-five collection in opposition to an opponent that’s inside two or three video games of them within the standings. This season remains to be a methods from over, so congrats to the Mariners’ supporters who’ve waited many years for this second.
A fan base pretty much as good as Seattle’s shouldn’t should undergo like that, and ditto for Buffalo — or Sacramento, who now inherits the unenviable distinction of the American professional sports activities franchise with the longest lively postseason drought presently sitting at 16 years.