I just screamed myself hoarse watching the Mariners win game 161. I’m pretty sure our neighbors heard the eruption of noise on the second to last at bat of the game. Brad Miller was on second in the bottom of the 11th. There was one out. Chris Taylor singled to center and the outfielder bobbled the ball. I was screaming for Miller to score, but for some reason the 3rd base coach held him at third. Of course, that was forgotten moments later when Austin Jackson legged out a grounder, turning a double play into a fielder’s chose and allowing Miller to score.
Game over. Mariners live for one more day.
This is the time that baseball legends from which baseball legends are crafted. Across the major leagues, two divisions and a wild card spot will be determined tomorrow. Of course, in the two Central Division races, all four teams will be playing in October.
Not so with the wild card race between the Mariners and the A’s. Only one of those two teams will be playing baseball in October.
If the Mariners win and if the A’s lose, the two teams meet for a tiebreaker in Seattle on Monday. In either case, the story will be the same. Both teams have suffered from unrealized opportunities. One team will succumb. The other will overcome.
The Mariner’s have a tough road ahead. If they win and the A’s lose, the have to win 2 more high pressure games before they can afford the luxury of a loss. Three elimination games in a row? It’s a recipe for heartbreak. Unless…
And that unless is what makes game 162 so critical. That unless is what baseball is all about. That unless is why the Mariners are still playing. On paper it should be over. On paper it should never have been close. On paper, the Mariners have to beat the best team in baseball while the A’s have to beat one of the worst. But the games must be played. The victors must record all 27 outs. If the A’s win, it’s over, but they have to beat a team that entered the season with high expectations and is left with nothing but the ability to knock a team out of the playoffs. If the A’s lose, the Mariner’s need to beat the Angels, a tall order. But they’re giving the ball to their ace, and the Angels are probably more interested in setting up their rotation for the ALDS and resting their starters.
So what story will we be telling on Monday morning. Who is going home, and who is going on? Who gets to enjoy one more day of summer?
I know it’s not great poetry, and I’ve posted it before, but here ‘s my tribute to autumn baseball.
One More Day
by Andrew Viertel
Spring’s hope long forgotten
Everyday more men fall, succumbing to the inevitable autumn chill
But some remain, playing, nay fighting tooth and nail for survival
Pushing to the limit bodies battered and bruised by the long campaign
Leaving everything on the diamond
In desperate flight from crackling fires and silent snow-shrouded stadia
They fight for glory, to own the diamond, but they also fight to stay alive
Trading rest and comfort for pain and fatigue
Desperately seeking that finite fleeting treasure:
One more day of summer.
#Game162 #GoMariners #refusetolose