September has arrived, quietly and with little gust. The beautifully kept grasses of Safeco Field have turned brittle and if you’re close enough, and using binoculars, you can see the tips of the blades have a certain brown tinge to them that snap off as an sharply hit grounder flies up the middle. I’ve heard rumors that baseball, in fact, does not end in September, but continues on into October and even November. Where is this Vahalla of Summer? I cannot say. All I can tell you is where it is not.
Autumn turns me inward. I would say to my own reflecting pool, but that’s more of a Yankee Stadium kind of thing. I remember the compact my Mother used when I was a child. It was thin and shaped sort of like a clam and was what could only be described as Crayola’s Flesh color. (There’s a wonderful digression here about Crayola and the invention of the Flesh color that will have to wait. I’m sure every African American and Mexican reading this can’t wait.) The compact’s mirror was always rimmed with excess powder and I could rarely see much of anything as I peered into it. This cloudy crystal ball tells little, but inward to it I turn none the less to see what it has seen.
The easiest thing in the world to do is blame the Mariners. They’re summertime bums. They can’t hit, throw, or catch with any regularity or expertise to even win half the games they play. But, is it fair to blame these boys? Aren’t they in fact managed and coached to this underwhelming display of mediocrity? How about the GM who brought them on board, or the last GM who brought them on board? How about the president and CEO? The owner? All culpable to the summertime blues. I feel though, if I’m being honest, and Autumn is the time for the naked truth, that the problem lies closer to home.
Consulting my Mother’s compact I see the following sobering facts.
1. The Mariners did not win a single game for the first 3 1/2 years of my life.
2. The Mariners would finally break .500 in 1991. I rooted for the Orioles that year. Their standing was .414.
3. The Mariners break-out year was 1995. I was living in Albuquerque and like everyone else in New Mexico forgot there was such a thing as professional sports.
4. The Mariners won the division in 1997, the year I officially began cheering for them. They lost the LDS though to…The Orioles.
5. In 2001 the Mariners win 116 games. Then lose to the Yanks in the LDS. I accepted a job at the EMP that year. There is a connection. I’m sure of it.
I could go on. I could lament the last decade. I could flow chart it, dissect it, and diagram it. But the truth would remain the same. Clearly and without doubt I am the problem with the Mariners. Seattle, please accept my apology. While I can no more change the blueness of the sky, the rivers to the sea, the moon hanging in the heavens, so, I can not change my star crossed love of baseball and these summertime bums.
Go for the draft pick!