Why am I a Mariners fan?
Of course they lost.
The Mariners have been on the wrong side of history quite a few times. Here are a few examples.
April 25, 1981 – Mariners are caught cheating by expanding the batter’s box. Seriously, only Billy Martin would have noticed something like this. It doesn’t look good on the manager at the time, or for the club image, but points you get points for creativity right?
Oh, um… No you don’t.
April 29, 1986 – 23 Year Old Rodger Clemens sets the record for strike outs in a game with 20, against the Seattle Mariners. I’m not all that sad about Clemens facing a hardball of his own now.
April 11, 1990 - The Mariners fall prey to the combo of Mark Langston and Mike Witt as the franchise experiences their first no hit loss. The real stab in the back was that Langston was himself a former Mariner having played his first 6 years in the Majors with Seattle.
The real surprise is that this hadn’t happened before, although it had come close several times. You have to look on the bright side of life right?
April 16, 1992 – The M’s manager turns in a draft line up instead of the finalized one that was in his other pocket, and the Mariners are not able to use their DH for the night.
In their first attempt at national league play, they lose.
August 5, 2001 – The Mariners miss out claiming the most wins in a season by blowing a 12 run lead and ending the season with ONLY 116 wins. Now the M’s are tied with the 1906 Chicago Cubs instead of standing alone where they belong.
As a fan you have to look at reality once and awhile right?
That just stunk… and they didn’t even make the World Series.
And another thing (CENSORED)… Ah now I feel better.
July 26, 2011 – The Mariners lose their 17th game in a row, (narrowly escaping a no hitter). They didn’t set a record for a losing streak, but I wish they would have, then it could have meant something.
April 21, 2012 – The Mariners allow Philip Humber to join the record books with the 21st recorded perfect game in MLB history.
I have to say, I’m not so convinced that final pitch was a strike, but no umpire is going to blow a last pitch perfect game after Jim Joyce ruined Armando Galarraga’s obvious perfect game in 2010.
So with all this negative history, why be a Mariners fan?
It is about love.
If the Mariners were your girlfriend, how many times would you let her break your heart until she would be your ex-girlfriend?
The disgrace and humiliation that happened on the field may lead to a lot more M’s jerseys available at Value Village, but for me, even though I get embarrassed, angry, bewildered, and shocked by the M’s I can’t help but love them.
I just keep coming back. I think it helped watching this game with my 5 year old son, who after watching the Mariners lose to the Humber left the room and was absent mindedly singing. “I love the Mariners, I love the Mariners.”
Patrons get upset with a team that never seems to be able to win, but fans, true fans, are so in love they just can’t walk away.
It is about the magic.
When you eat crap every day for dinner, just a bite of a steak seems like magic. You have to be a Mariners fan to understand that. The M’s are the perennial underdogs.
Even in their 2001 116 win campaign, it was magic because it wasn’t predicted to happen, and wasn’t expected to be maintained. In 1995 the phrase refuse to lose became a mantra because the M’s should have lost… repeatedly, but somehow they made it farther than ever before.
I remember screaming in my car at the radio when Edgar hit the double.
Magic… and Ken Griffey Jr.
It is about reality.
The Yankees and the Red Sox buy talent. The Mariners have to stumble into it. As a scrawny kid in the 1980’s it gave me hope that I could be a pro. The Mariners helped me to dream.
Not because of a super star or a home run hitter, but because in baseball the little guy could make it. Right Joey Cora?
There was a time when the Mariners, with Ken Griffey Jr., Alex Rodriguez, Jay Buhner and Edgar Martinez on the team, they were the most famous of all the baseball clubs.
That time was the golden age, and it cemented me as an M’s fan for life, but the reality of the little guy still excites me more than a big name free agent.
It is about family.
My dad grew up in Boston and would sneak into Fenway park as a boy to watch some of the greatest players through the 1940’s. So, rightfully so, he always had a bond with baseball.
My dad and I didn’t talk much when I was growing up. The truth of the matter is, my Dad likes the radio more than he likes people, so I rarely missed listening to a M’s game from the day I was born.
Baseball fills the awkward silence and helps me connect with my dad. Now baseball is helping me connect with my own kids as well.
Although my son likes to say he is cheering for the opposite team just so I will chase him around the house.
The family connection also extends to other fans who share in the pain; which is why I love this Mariners commercial from 2011:
The odd thing is that with few exceptions, (boo- A-Rod) the connection also stays with former players, as Mariners fans continue to cheer for them where ever they end up.
Those guys get our pain and we love them for it.
Sure we wish they could have been super star while they were with our team, but cheering for their individual success is the next best thing.
It is about Dave Niehaus
If ever I dream about baseball, and it does happen occasionally. The play is always called by Dave Niehaus who helped to immortalize the love of baseball and the love of the Mariners into my heart forever.
If ever I find myself complaining too much about what is happening to the Seattle baseball club.
I can almost hear Dave giving me a lecture about faithfulness. I stop. I turn on the game.
Watch to the end (because something magical might happen) and I mean it when I sing: “Root, root root for the Mariners, if they don’t win it’s a shame”
But even if they don’t win, I’m a fan for life.