As the sun slowly climbs into the sky, waking up the region on a wonderful Wednesday, I find myself riding the northbound Sounder train toward Seattle. And no matter what happens this morning, be it an urgent email or spilled coffee, I already know that this is going to be a good day.
Why? Because at noon, my office is locking the doors to go watch baseball for the day.
There is a rarefied and magical feeling that occurs whenever I’m fortunate enough to find myself at T-Mobile Park, sitting in the afternoon sun and taking in a Seattle Mariners game during a workday. It’s a strange thing, because most Sundays you can just as easily take in a day-game, but the “cutting class” sensation that comes with a weekday day-game is some kind of special–if I may evoke my favorite Rick Rizzs-ism.
The game will see the 51-50 Texas Rangers come to town to face my 41-63 Mariners, pitting the two last-in-the AL West teams against each other to see who can scrape out a desperate win. For their part, the Rangers aren’t technically out of contention; but sitting seven games out of a wildcard spot behind the Tampa Bay Rays and reigning World Series champion Boston Red Sox, it sure feels like a long shot to see the Rangers in the postseason.
At 12:40, newly reborn starter Mike Leake will take the mound for the Mariners. Coming off the best start of his career, where he came within three outs of a perfect game against the Los Angeles Angels, Leake finds himself likely to be traded to a contending team–especially if he can deliver another solid performance. In a few hours, we shall see.
So, how did it all turn out? Basking among 28k fans in the hot summer sun, I watched my Mariners show off the competitive brand of baseball that we’ve desperately missed in the Emerald City for most of this year, fully evidenced by the final score, a 5-3 win for the Mariners.
From Leake delivering seven innings of 7 strikeouts, 3 run ball (pack your bags, Mike!) to Daniel Vogelbach mashing two monstrous vogiebombs–the first of which kicked off a 4-run fifth inning for the M’s, and even the dramatically underrated Roenis Elias picking up his 13th save on the season, all aspects of the team were working well today.
Additionally, and more to the season’s overall rebuilding theme, young standout shortstop J.P Crawford flashed on the field and at the plate by delivering two walks, a hit, a run, and an RBI that all inspire confidence in the seasons to come.
It was pretty much exactly what I wanted to see from one of our young, home-grown stars of the future franchise.
I may have received more sunshine than I planned to, but overall it was the absolute best way to spend a Wednesday afternoon. Hopefully my office will close next season so I can return for another day-game. And if I can wish for a just a little more magic, maybe the Mariners will be hanging around in the wildcard hunt by then. Wouldn’t that be something.