It is one of the most unique experiences in professional sports being a Mariners fan today, with the franchise setting the record for the most wins in a single season in 2001 and then failing to make the playoffs every year since. As many Mariners fans know, the teams current playoff dry spell is the longest active streak across the MLB, NFL, and NBA. Over these past seventeen years there have been terrible seasons where the M’s never really competed, but the seasons that leave the deepest scares on a fan base are those when the team gets so close only to fall short in the end. Just a few seasons ago the Mariners’ playoff hopes went down to the last day of the season before they were eliminated and seasons like these breed a certain guarded mind set where no matter how good the team is doing, fans are unmoved, waiting for the other shoe to drop.
Being a fan of a team means you support them, if you wanted to route for the best, most entertaining teams then you are a fan of the game, but being a fan of one specific team means that you are supporting them through the good and the bad. When your team is down, don’t give up on them until they start playing well again, players need support from fans the most when things aren’t going perfectly. In a sport like baseball, with a one hundred and sixty-two game season, it’s never perfect, every team will have games where they beat a team they shouldn’t and lose to a team they shouldn’t over the course of the season. Too often fans will demand perfection from players like their fandom is so precious prize to be earned every single play, baseball is a game of imperfection, even a fantastic batting average involves failing to getting a hit two thirds of the time. It takes a special mind set to be a fan of baseball as a sport and the Mariners in particular, the best way to verbalize this mind set is four simple words, “The season starts today”.
Now simply based on it’s merits as a chronological fact, it is false all but one day out of the year, but it symbolizes much more. “The season starts today” refers to the cautious optimism that fans have when the season begins, no matter how good or bad the first game goes, it’s just one game, you can’t get over hyped or too down in the dumps about it because there is so much baseball let to play. It also refers to the idea that any moment from any game can turn the season around, put the team on the map, be the rallying cry that started something great. Essentially it means keep and even keel attitude and enjoy the great moments when they come around. Seattle went into the all star break on a skid and dropped back to back series again the Colorado Rockies and the Los Angeles Angels and it left a bad taste in fans mouths to end a remarkable first half of the season. But with Felix and Paxton coming back off the DL and the bullpen getting a needed rest and Jean Segura putting on a show at the all star game, the M’s are set to hit the ground running to close out the season and finally bring playoff baseball back to Seattle. We won’t know if the Mariners will redeem themselves for a few months so in the mean time, enjoy the ride, all the highs and the lows that make the highs that much better and most importantly, give the M’s some love!