Last night, the Mariners turned ahead the clock. Which was really well done.
Except, for the first time in a long time, I found myself saying: “Wait a minute, DON’T turn ahead the clock! I’m actually enjoying this season!”
All kidding aside, today is July 1st, which historically is the start of a month in Seattle sports that is, frankly, pretty boring. And the M’s are a huge reason that this year, it’s not. They began this month 22 games over .500 for the first time in 15 years! They survived a gauntlet of games most people thought would sink their ship. And they’re just a half-game behind the Houston Astros.
I’ll repeat that again: Just a half-game behind the Astros – the defending champion Astros – who no one believed would be challenged to win the division, outside of maybe the Angels, certainly not the M’s.
And say what you want about Seattle’s struggles against the Yankees and Red Sox, but I don’t see either of those teams on their schedule this month either.
Which brings me back to last night: I don’t care what the baseball purists say. That was awesome! Seeing Dee Gordon with his backwards hat and jersey untucked and Nelson Cruz with his sleeveless jersey was fantastic. It was the perfect symbol of the entire season so far: This team has bought in, the players are having fun, and the results are there.
And that’s what’s been missing. Host a theme night when you’re 23 games under .500, and it makes your fans cringe.
But when you’re winning, gimmicks become acceptable – in fact, extra enjoyable.
The Mariners’ marketing team has always been good – but their team hasn’t. It’s when you marry an effective marketing department with a winning baseball team, that you have an amazing combination. It’s always been about the product on the field, and the players are finally holding up their end of the bargain.
And if you combine the M’s situation with the Seattle Storm sitting in second place in the WNBA, the Seattle Reign FC also in second place in their league, the Seattle Seawolves, in their inaugural season reaching the championship game next Saturday in Major League Rugby, and the Special Olympics USA Games in town this week…. that’s a pretty solid sports scene in a typically uninteresting month.
We’re not sitting here begging for Seahawks Training Camp to start, because right now, we’re more excited about the next six home games at Safeco Field, starting this Tuesday. We’re desperate for a pennant race and a playoff spot, and this baseball team looks willing and able to actually get there. They’re finally helping fill that void.
So turn ahead the clock to 2027 if you’d like, but let me still enjoy the 2018 version of the Mariners too.
Everyone enjoys a surprising underdog, and so far, the M’s fit that to a tee.