FIRST INNING: MARINERS 4 (0) – 0 ASTROS
Stuck on a desert island, a bearded man receives a message in a bottle. A newspaper, from North America, washed up onto the beach, rolled up and wedged in with a cork, the sports section visible through the glass.
He finds it, sees it, reads it. An hour later starts a bonfire and writes three letters into the sand. M.O.M.—digging them giant, tall, enough to catch the eye of any pilot overhead.
“My oh my,” he says to himself, prostrate, worshipping the paper, the score, the standings. The very bottle itself.
“My, oh my.”
Once in a lifetime, the Mariners get good. And when the Mariners get good, well—let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
Are they good?
You just caught yourself looking at those standings again. “My oh my!” you said again.
You look at that run differential. That isn’t all that good, you see. “My,” you say a little more quietly. “Oh my.” Fourteenth in the whole league. The kind of sign that means these first two months are unsustainable. The kind of thing you might not get away with anymore, against these Astros.
With Dallas Keuchel on the mound.
Then, you start to wonder again. Because Dee Gordon singles. Then Segura singles.
Haniger hits an RBI groundout, and Nelson Cruz singles.
And then Kyle Seager comes up. Having a down year, batting .223.
Two runners on. He gets a fastball on a 1-0 count. Outside edge of the plate. He slaps at it. Knocks a drive the other way, in the air, sharply, down the line to left. And, not three seconds later, it crashes into the first row of the “Crawfish Boxes”.
And the Mariners lead, 4-0.
— Mariners (@Mariners) June 6, 2018
— Marineros de Seattle (@LosMarineros) June 6, 2018
In 1969, the Pilots brought major-league baseball to Seattle. A year later, they ended up 2,000 miles away. Milwaukee. The Pilots had become the Brewers.
Seven years later, the Mariners arrived.
Bad, and very bad, until their first above-.500 season in 1991.
Four times since, they’ve made the playoffs. But nothing since 2001. Not one sniff of it since.
But now, they’re in first. Beating that team we thought they couldn’t. Just past even in the standings with the defending champs. Five straight wins and a two-game lead in the AL West.
Mariners win 7-1. They improve to 38-22 on the season and move two games up on the Astros in the AL West.
— Ryan Divish (@RyanDivish) June 6, 2018
You bite your tongue until it bleeds—you put a padlock on your lips, you put your tonsils in a straitjacket.
“My oh my!” they want to scream out. “My oh my!”
It’s that run differential on your mind. You can’t let your mouth run wild, you think. Not yet.
They’re not even good, you think.
But, then, you might pause. You might consider how long its been. 17 years.
Good morning to Mariners fans only pic.twitter.com/UAdrRdNTs7
— LaVendrick Smith (@LaVendrickS) June 3, 2018
You might consider that this team has had no World Series in its history. No American League pennant.
You might consider what it would be like to win it.
And you unchain your tonsils, you unhook your lips, your tongue, your teeth. You brush them well. You floss, you use mouthwash.
You forget about all that other stuff.
And you speak in the most crisp confident way you can muster.
“My. Oh my.”