After 17 straight losses, the Seattle Mariners avoided an 18th straight yesterday by beating the Yankees 9-2. But the damage-no the destruction was done. 18 games ago, the Mariners were sitting on a .500 record, not completely out of the A.L. West race. They were one of the feel good stories of the year as they seemed to come from nowhere to field a competitive team. Now, they’re back where they finished last season. Dead last.
The Mariners never became what I thought they would as I watched them growing up. When you see a team with talent such as Randy Johnson, Ken Griffey Jr., Alex Rodriguez, Tino Martinez, and Edgar Martinez, you expect big things. They won the division in 1995 and 1997. They grabbed a Wild Card berth in 2000. Then, they unleashed a magical 2001 season that still saw them fall short of the World Series.
Since then, it has been such an uphill battle they’ve needed Sherpas and climbing equipment to lead them. The Mariners teams since that 116-win ’01 club, have combined to go 735-827. They are almost 100 games under .500 for the decade following their record-setting 2001 campaign and there’s still 58 more games to be played this year.
Seattle could be a great baseball town. The Pacific-Northwest has some great sports enthusiasts (they can even cause an earthquake) But even the most loyal Pacific-Northwesterner can’t be blamed for sitting at home and watching something else besides another Mariners loss.
The Mariners rank in the bottom fourth in attendance this year and are averaging only half-capacity per game. Maybe if they handed out free Starbucks at the gate rather than bobble heads, more fans would come. If you brew it, they will come.
The Mariners are rebuilding, but maybe they need to rebuild their rebuilding plans.