We, and I can’t emphasis this enough, love to see it.
The Seattle Mariners have never been set up for success in the eyes of an American sports fan. They have to fight the prevalent East Coast bias, they’re too far out of the way to be a team one could catch a home game to while passing through to another city, and they certainly never had a media proprietor as an owner that put them on national television (here’s looking at you, Atlanta Braves and TBS).
To add to that, the Mariners play their home games on the West Coast. If you’ve never experienced 10:10pm game starts on the regular, consider yourself fortunate. The day begins on the East Coast, meaning the news cycle begins on the East Coast. Chances are whoever is influencing those news cycles probably didn’t stay up to watch a lot of West Coast teams.
That’s all to say that the Mariners were born, trident first, into an uphill battle out of obscurity. Any media attention they get is earned, not given.
One way to get the media’s attention? Keep winning.
And so they keep winning.
There were plenty moments in this game that would’ve made Mariners fans of yester-month melt faster than a snow cone in a Texas summer. The team only recorded one hit through the first three innings while striking out four times over that span, Robbie Ray gave up two homes runs (one of which put Texas within a run) before being pulled for Erik Swanson, and Julio was down to his last strike with the bases loaded and two outs.
Yester-month Mariners fans might’ve felt misplaced anger boil up during these moments, perhaps even shutting the television or radio off because we already know what’s going to happen.
I can’t speak for everyone in the Mariners fandom, but for me these moments felt different. The challenges the team faced in these moments no longer seemed insurmountable, they now felt doable. Not just doable, but presumed achievable.
After the Mariners failed to get more than one hit for three innings they went on to score three runs in the 4th inning.
After Robbie Ray gave up two home runs that put Texas within a run the bullpen came in to record seven straight outs to end the game.
After Julio found himself in a 2-out make-or-break situation with the bases and count full he delivered and hit his first ever Grand Slam (break out the rye bread).
And yes, after another 12-strikeout performance by our reigning Cy Young winner, our offense continued the trend of providing run support.
Now that the Baltimore Orioles had their win streak snapped by the Tampa Bay Rays, all eyes are rightfully affixed to the team in the Upper Left USA. It helps that Julio has lived up to — and perhaps exceeded — his hype, but I can’t remember the last time I saw the MLB social media accounts or the ESPN social media accounts talk about the Mariners as much as they are now.
It used to be that we’d have to wait for Mina Kimes to appear on a show to hear the word “Mariners” uttered through our television’s sound system. That’s no longer the case.
The only drawback to this is every analysis of the team is met with the question, “but are they the real deal?” I guess there’s only one way to find out.
Photos of the Game
Tweets of the Game
Robbie Ray has a 1.36 ERA (7 ER, 46.1 IP) with 11 walks and 58 strikeouts over his last 7 starts.
— Mariners PR (@MarinersPR) July 16, 2022
Julio Rodríguez is the first @Mariners player 21-or-younger to hit a grand slam since Alex Rodriguez on July 6, 1996, also at Texas.
— Alex Mayer (@alexmayer34) July 16, 2022
Mariners pitchers struck out 17 tonight.
— Jason A. Churchill (@ProspectInsider) July 16, 2022
PART FIVE: (despair sets in) pic.twitter.com/L47sevjq15
— Lookout Landing (@LookoutLanding) July 16, 2022