Maybe it’s delusion, maybe it was the Pacifico coursing through my veins, but witnessing the Mariners’ shutout game against the Rangers on Friday got me h-word (hopeful). From J.P. Crawford’s grand slam to a (seemingly) deep bullpen’s dexterity, the home team gave us reason to believe in a potential Rangers sweep, one in which chaos ball could prevail and usher in a second straight year of postseason thrills.
But God’s not listening to your baseball prayers, dipshit. Friday’s athleticism was followed—as if on cue—by Saturday’s bumbling mess, locking the M’s out of the postseason. It’s the fourth time since 2014 that the team’s been eliminated in the last or second-to-last game of the regular season, suggesting Jerry Dipoto sees edging the general public as his job, rather than baseball operations.
It’s easy to blame Dipoto or manager Scott Servais or designated hitter-emeritus Tommy La Stella for the Mariners’ woes, when in reality our tradition of blunders can trace its roots much further back. A worrying confluence of grave errors brought us here—but they’re trespasses for which we can be forgiven, mistakes to be easily overturned.
Bring back the boat(s)
The Mariners’ original sin was jettisoning their bullpen car. Evoking the fireboats one sees toot-tooting around Seattle’s waterways, the “M.S. Relief” offered a splendid seating area in the aft that belied its humble golf-cart chassis. Relief pitchers, if they chose to do so, could hitch a ride on Seattle’s coolest-ever mode of transit, intimidating opposing-team hitters with a one-two punch of maritime camp and brackish flair.
But, riddled with fragile masculinity, Mariners pitchers instead chose to be buzzkills and (metaphorically) sunk the boat. Closer Bill Caudill hid the keys to the M.S. Relief during the vehicle’s public launch in 1982. His practical joke delayed the game’s start and made it clear that the bullpen wanted nothing to do with the prop. “The Tugboat was quickly put in dry dock,” the Mariners PR team wrote in a retrospective about the episode; no pitcher ever rode on the boat during its short tenure at the Kingdome. And no Mariners pitcher rode the wave to World Series glory following this blunder, either. Coincidence? I think not.
It’s high time for Mariners leadership to do the right and brave thing: bring back the M.S. Relief! Rebuking Caudill’s antics, the more cosmopolitan and level-headed pitchers of today will no doubt respect the vessel’s utility and beauty. To see Gabe Speier or Andrés Muñoz’s coiffes undulate in the breeze as they get chauffeured to the mound? That’s a game-changer. Smile and wave, boys.
Make August longer
The team celebrated a record-breaking 21 wins in August, with six series victories in a row. It was a delectable combo of hard-earned wins, like against the Kansas City Royals, as well as easier Ws, like a sweep of the Astros. Fans even caught their first glimpse of Dom Canzone’s now-trademarked 🤌.
“There’s like 60 days in August, right? I wish there were,” Scott Servais joked in an interview during this golden era. “What a month.”
Then came September and the tides shifted once more. An unfortunate 11-17 record this past month suggests that things need to change. But before we call upon management to, say, recognize team leadership by naming J.P. Crawford captain, or invest in a solid hitting-coach team instead of inviting players to rely on private training, or allocate the franchise’s league-leading profits to sign league-leading players, maybe we can help Servais’s dream come true. That is, if Mariners calculus dictates that the best of times be followed by the worst of times, then the most logical way to unfuck that equation is by making the best of times far longer than the worst of times. So make August longer than September. (How? Cyberbullying the National Institute of Standards and Technology, or getting Democratic frontrunner Marianne Williamson to add August enlargement to her 2024 political platform, idk.)
Deliver more value to shareholders
There’s been plenty of scuttlebutt surrounding “greedy” Mariners owner John Stanton, namely his refusal to spend the Mariners’ $84 million operating income on major talent. Stinginess, these rumors say, explains why the Mariners ranked 29th of 30 teams in offseason spending—with only one of the players acquired during these lackluster trades actually lasting through the season.
But sorry, sweetie, capitalism works! It just does! It’s filled with suuuuper rational actors and efficiently allocated resources and stuff. John Stanton went to Harvard Business School and you didn’t. So instead of complaining, maybe just trust the process. And pay more for season tickets while you’re at it, peasant scum.
When in doubt, can it
Okay, so hear me out: Use the center-field camera field to steal opposing catchers’ and pitchers’ signs. Then, using a set number of bangs on a garbage can, players in on the ruse can know in advance if an off-speed pitch is coming their way. It’s a tried and true method! What are they gonna do—take away your World Series title?