|King Felix (wikimedia commons)|
Good thing this blog isn't a business. I also moved and got ready for the school year (as a public school teacher), so life happens. Those are some big, time-consuming happenings in my life, along with following every game for the Mariners, which I have been doing. Ironically, I've probably followed the Mariners more closely the last month and a half, while I haven't been writing, than for most of the time I have maintained the Musings.
Quite honestly, I have more than come to terms with this blog's radio silence. It's really the best statement I could make about the Mariners right now. Don't read about them. Don't analyze contracts, WAR, future returns, upcoming free agency, draft classes, who will go where in the winter leagues and how they will do. There will be time for all of that, but that time isn't now.
Just go out and experience the 2014 Mariners, specifically the 2014 Mariners of tonight, September 13.
Tonight's game, as far as I'm concerned, is at the heart and soul of what sports are all about. There are tangential parts that have spun into massive industries (marketing, fantasy sports, the business and politics) that are fascinating in their own right. However, tonight's game is guaranteed to be special. The only question is how special.
King Felix takes the mound against the A's tonight. The Mariners are making this a "black out" night, and the game promises to be a near sell-out, if not a total sell-out. If the Mariners win they take over first place in the wild card standings.*
*They might be tied in first place, depending on results of other games, but that doesn't really change the point or tenor of this moment.
Tonight will be amazing. This is an event that will draw 40,000 people together in unison, to cheer on a team that at least like and a player they absolutely love. Remember for years all the chatter about trading Felix? The analysis of the roster and contract flexibility? That's all part of the back story that makes tonight so special. Felix is still ours, and he has embraced the franchise and city, hoping to be the man that guides the Mariners back to the playoffs. Tonight's game wasn't guaranteed, but here it is, and we get to celebrate it together.
Sports has many ugly aspects, particularly in the modern age of massive media contracts and the scrutiny that comes with it. The NFL has reminded us several times over in the past week just how ugly modern sports can look when things go wrong. However, despite the distasteful and blatant cash grabs of modern professional sports, I still believe there must be something so compelling about sports for all the money and opportunities to be there in the first place.
Tonight's Mariners game is that compelling space. This game will be fun for bandwagon fans and amazing for those who dare stick it out through thick and thin. There have been those random moments - like when Felix starts a midweek matinee against Tampa Bay and never gets around to allowing a baserunner - where it's easy to dream of what could be if he ever gets to pitch on a bigger stage. That dream, the dream I'm sure just about every Mariners fan has harbored in their mind and soul for the past decade, becomes a reality tonight.
Sports, at its best, engenders hope, perseverance, determination, celebration, and unity. All of these traits will come together tonight at Safeco Field.
A win, obviously, would be huge, and make tonight much better. However, the existence of this game - King Felix in September with seismic playoff implications on the line - is such a monumental victory. Games like this don't come around often. Playoff chases like these don't come around often either. Mariners fans have no issues appreciating this, given the current playoff draught.
I, for one, have largely tucked away FIP, xFIB, K/BB ratios, BABIP, and the rest of sabermetrics' alphabet soup for the offseason. The stats help a team get to tonight's game, but they can't quantify what it means to watch our face of the franchise, a true Mariners hero, go after a playoff spot that has eluded Seattle's grasp for 13 years. I can analyze the game all I want to in the future. Tonight is for experiencing the game at its finest.