This afternoon, I was in the office after the Husky women’s rowing team laid it all on the line to win a national championship. On one TV, I was watching the Husky softball team digging deep, showing incredible grit, determination and emotion at the Women’s College World Series.
And then, I turned my head just in time to see this:
(Marco Gonzales gives up 3-run HR in 2nd inning): The Mariners were already down 7-0 in just the second inning, in a game they lost, 13-3.
Sure, at least they warned us they’d be bad this season. But this anticipated “step back” has been more like a free fall, having lost 35 of their last 47 games. Via Gregg Bell of the News Tribune, the M’s have allowed 10 or more runs in 13 games this season – that’s 21 percent of the time.
Frankly, it’s absolutely embarrassing for a Major League baseball team to be this bad.
Don’t get me wrong: For the umpteenth time, I understand the rationale. I get that this is part of the “grand plan.” And I hope with all my being that it works. But given their track record, it doesn’t mean we’re all bound to throw the franchise our undivided attention or unconditional support.
Especially given the consistency of so many other programs in our area: The Husky softball team has made the NCAA Tournament 26 straight years. The rowing programs on Montlake are a beacon of light year after year. And that’s just the Spring Sports.
The Storm just won another WNBA title – their third. The Sounders have never missed the playoffs and a have a league championship. The Seahawks are Super Bowl contenders almost every single year. The Huskies made the Rose Bowl.
But the Mariners? Well, they throw one heck of a Fireworks Night. And their bobbleheads are pretty good too.
That’s what gets to me the most on weekends like this when, bless-their-souls, the franchise goes out of its way to hold a celebration for the 40th Anniversary of the Sonics winning an NBA Championship. It’s a wonderful night and a fantastic gesture, and a great chance for everyone to see a reunion of that title-winning team.
And yet, it’s another reminder that the Mariners are really good at celebrating championships that other teams won. Everything they do seems to be a reminder of their own futility – which can be really tiresome!
And it’s not just me. Through yesterday, by my count, Mariners attendance is down just over six percent this season. It was down about 15 percent year-over-year in the month of May. While it’s still a valid option to have a fun family day and catch some sun, fans seem to be less inclined to be drawn to the ballpark overall – and I’m assuming the product on the field is a major cause.
In the end, I appreciated the heads-up. None of us were expecting much from the start. But when General Manager Jerry Dipoto went out of his way to warn everyone that the M’s wouldn’t be contending this season, they might as well have placed white flags around the ballpark.
And the Mariners Moose should have been replaced until further notice by a notable Disney character: Flounder.