...And it just continues. My oh my.
The 2011 Mariners went from the little engine that might, to a collection of rusty spare parts awfully fast. A month ago, they were a collection of lovable flaws that just might be saved by an insane starting rotation. Now, there is nothing to save at all. The team wasn't scoring all that much, so I figured the run would end at some point, but who thought it would look something like this?
With the title to this post, I might as well make my one pop culture reference for the year; and even this reference is pushing the boundaries of "pop culture." True story - I had a high-schooler come up to me once and tell me that she feels the song speaks to her life. I guess it speaks to the Mariners now too.
This post is going to jump around, which I suppose is the right way to write this. Really, what is there to do besides throw your hands up at this mess? Throwing hands up doesn't make for good reading material though, so I have to say something. I might as well start with a post I've been reminded of as the 15 losses have mounted. The Mariners started bad enough at home with a sweep against Cleveland, and the season looked bleak at that point. I could write a similar post for their current streak, but I doubt it would end up much different.
Really, I am tempted to take pride in this losing streak. Why not? The Mariners have never been this bad. That's not hyperbole, just the facts. We should never see a streak like this again. Over the course of this month, the Mariners have set team records for most consecutive losses, and also most consecutive scoreless innings. The shorter stint of futility wrapped within the larger hard stretch is not all that surprising I suppose, but nonetheless seems so appropriate.
What should not get lost in this story is the incredible run the Rangers went on. The Mariners were only 2.5 games out of first place when this run started. While the losses mounted, the Rangers simply did not lose. Again, that isn't hyperbole, it's just the truth. They went on a 12-game winning streak that began just a couple days before the Mariners started with all their anti-wins. Thanks to Texas and their run, the Mariners could not have fallen out of the race quicker. Literally, for a week and a half, the Mariners always lost, and the team they were chasing always won.
What else is there to do besides admire what is unfolding?
The previous record for consecutive losses in franchise history was 14, set by the 1992 version of the team. While their run is only one game shorter, it is so much less impressive. For starters, it came in early September, and the team was already well out of contention. Weird things are more prone to happening when September rolls around and a team is out of a race. The Mariners were still relevant when their current run started, and that just makes the Rangers run all the more painful and integral to rubbing in how brutal these losses are.
With that said, the 1992 Mariners were a bit of an intriguing bunch. They had a fair amount of youth. On offense, there was a 24-year-old Tino Martinez at first, 25-year-old Omar Vizquel at shortstop, and 22-year-old phenom Ken Griffey Jr. patrolling center field. Edgar Martinez had an incredible year at third base. There was even a 23-year-old Bret Boone that mostly flailed away in limited action. The starting rotation had a pair of good pitchers, Dave Fleming and Randy Johnson (though the Big Unit was still quite wild). In the bullpen, Jeff Nelson was starting to figure out how to use that frisbee slider of his. The 1992 Seattle Mariners had some talent.
Hopefully, when we look back, the 2011 Mariners are something like that 1992 squad. The unforgettable 1995 season was just 3 years after the 14-game losing streak. As rough as that streak (and really whole season - the team lost 98 games) was, the team had many players that turned out to play critical roles in this franchise's most successful run to date. The wins certainly didn't come that year, but they came eventually.
Here's hoping that history repeats itself. Maybe a longer, more intense losing streak will lead to a little more success too.