Thanks For All The Fish
Bravo! And Encore, a few months from now
You can pick any game.
The one with the rookie ump and the joke of a strike zone?  That's a game lost.
Any of Rodney's blown saves? One less and we'd be in the playoffs - or at least the playoff for the playoffs.
Early season road losing streak or late one, poor home record, too many losses to bottom-feeders.  One more hit, one less run scored against us, and we're there.  We had 60+ games with 0-2 runs scored.   We lost 27 games by one measly run.  One run.
Over 162 games, it's a quirk of the game, a less-than-lovely happenstance in this case, that we got 1400+ of innings of baseball this season and 5000+ at bats, but the playoffs came down to one out on one of those games.
This is not a thread of recriminations.  A better DH, one fewer injury to Saunders or LoMo, a better ankle for Ackley, a stray pitch here or there and the season has an extra game or two in it and we all feel better about the season.  But I feel pretty good about THIS season.  I would have loved for these guys to be able to give me a JUST a little bit more - but realistically, in most cases they gave us everything they had to give, and I love em for it.
This season was full of amazing pitching, from the  probably-Cy-Young-winning King to the rawest rookie arms.  It began with the acquisition of a HOFer to buttress the lineup, saw the development of another MOTO hitter at third base, and finished up with a couple months of really good hitting by two club-controlled bats, one that we drafted and one that we traded for.
It held a catcher who dropped bombs into the seats better than any Mariner catcher who came before him, and caught a tremendous pitching staff all season.  We had a bunch of youngsters in the pen throwing lasers, while an erratic and eccentric closer set the team saves record and shot bushels of arrows in the process.
And most importantly for this fan, the Mariners were playing important games from Opening Day until the curtain call.  162 games and every one of them mattered.  It's been forever since that was the case. In the end, it's not about coming up an hit short or an out too late, it's about playing the game the way your fans deserve to see it played - to play it with joy and with determination, to refuse to buckle when the road got rough, and to fight to the last day.  
The kids had their moment of learning what it's like to play 6 months of Real Baseball. Next year they'll need to be just that much better.  Next year they'll start in April dreaming of playing Game#163, and working every day to make that a reality.  And all offseason, we'll be dreaming about the same.
But for this season?  The team exceeded what I thought they were capable of with the things that went wrong.  If you'd told me before the season that Smoak and Hart would both be terri-bad busts, Saunders would miss half the season, Zunino would bat under the Mendoza Line and Miller would be replaced at SS halfway through the season by the rookie Taylor, I would doubt our offense could hold up.  And with both Paxton and Walker missing most of the big-league season and Erasmo imploding, I would have doubted our staff as well.
There is lots to be positive about going into next season, but the 2014 season will still put a smile on my face when I think about it.  Baseball that matters finally returned to the Northwest.
You can pick any game. :-)



But one I will never forget. What a roller coaster of emotions. Felix was amazing: best AL ERA since Pedro, and breaking a fantastic record I never knew existed, but one that speaks of sustained and brilliant excellence. The bullpen was unbelievable and relentless. Ackley getting hot and carrying the offense, and totally sucking all in the same season. Same with LoMo. Seager in the All Star game. Three young starters all dazzling at times. And Robinson Cano, bearing the weight, day in and day out.
Excited for 2015, and it's been a while since I could say that at the end of a Mariners season. Reminds me of the Seahawks the season before they won it all, in that excruciating loss to Atlanta. Next season: Why Not Us?


These Mariners were the streakiest most heart wrenching team I've ever followed. It has been a wonderful year. It has been thoroughly enjoyable watching the season with y'all.


A game for the mem’ries , a game for the fan
Where Felix was dealing -- aplomb and elan
The King he was reignin’ and shinin’ his throne
He was strikin’ ‘em out and jus’ sendin’ ‘em home
And after that ol’ darn scoreboard had ‘minded us all
That playin’ today was our las’ swing of fall
They kept playin’ for pride in the eyes of we who
Had foll’ad ‘em fondly since day one an’ day two
I don’ hones’ly know why we missed out t’day
Don’ know why we couldn‘a made jus’ one more play
One more little game we jus’ might should’a won
But mercy ma’ goodness -- sure wasn’t that fun!


That game will live on as an instant classic that ROOT will replay many times and rightly so.
Adding the extra wildcard makes this a better game. This season is absolute proof.


I was fortunate to be in the park Saturday night with a VERY good look at Lloyd in the dugout.
Aside from being the most fun I've had in person since the playoff victory against Langston and those same Angels in the dome...I could NOT believe what a cool customer Lloyd was. Never did he seem affected by the emotion that engulfed all of the fans...and all of his players. Checking matchups on his deeply with Jewett in the middle of the mayhem...the right word or pat on the back for someone who he'd just removed from the game. Unbelievable control.
Robby Cano, I love you and all that you've done. But for me, Lloyd was the top pickup of this year. Remember the eight-game losing streak early? And the collapse last week? Most teams don't recover from blows like that. But I believe our manager is the reason we did. And I'm grateful to have him.

Good Guy Andrew's picture

I want to thank all the writers (and the commenters) on this site. I don't comment often but I stop by for every article, the comments and the shoutbox. The community itself is great and knowledgable. Each person thinks for themselves and adds an interesting perspective. The posts here are fantastic. Delivered with the confidence Cano has whenever he steps into the batters box. They always acknowledge the discussion going on in the community, like the King with his court. And the content is delivered like WBC-san on the mound.
Thank you all for a great season and I look forward to the off-season posts and 2015! Go M's!


I hear ya, Diderot. Lloyd commands the clubhouse and the bench. And that's important. But there's another side to his management, and it has me torn. It's the side that sits Brad Miller, who had an .802 OPS in the second half including two months of plus .900 OPS in August and September. Taylor weighed in with a .610 OPS in September. Yeah, you like the Taylor glove, but wouldn't you think you could find more use of the Miller bat? Maybe at DH? Miller's goodness of the second half (btw, he also produced an .867 OPS in June prior to entering the Lloyd doghouse) was obscured to the point that this will be a surprise to the average fan who laments the lack of a offense. Similarly, Saunders apparently finishes the season with an OPS higher than Seager (!), All Star Seager. Yet Michael was missing in so many lineups of vital games down the stretch. And so it goes. Message: Stay out of the Lloyd doghouse. But I'm unclear on how you do that. Morales owned the DH role and produced at a Smoak-like clip with it. We rode that horse down the stretch, and guess what? We came up a bit short. Do I blame Kendrys, or the guy who penciled his name in, game after game?
We'll have all winter to chew on the numbers. I hear you, and I agree. I am willing to give Lloyd the benefit of the doubt here. He knows his guys better than me. My view of the bench is tinier than yours, Diderot. But I am torn. Lloyd's inflexibility with certain players and platoon roles got way too rigid in the end. He was the anti-Wedge in that regard. But I think there's a sweeter spot between where both men went, and I hope Lloyd will find it.


a lot more attractive place to play for a whole lot of better players and if the owners are in it for the money they could get richer with an IPO or auctioning the team off about now. Doubt anyone wants to bail out now they are respectable though. It would be a good time for Lincoln to leave on a high note, I can hear the farewell address already, "the team is in good shape and my work it done."

RockiesJeff's picture

Agree 100% with both sides....I agree with wanting guys to know where they fit in and consistency BUT....Do you continue with Morales? Or just because it is a save situation do you continue to bring in a closer that can't throw strikes consistently? It will be interesting to see how those positives with real negatives will be manifest next summer! At least right now, people still care!

Rockies Jeff's picture

I concur completely. Thank for all for the excellent articles. And then there were the comments to follow. I love this site and the class attitudes that everyone shows to the other. Thanks Jeff for maintaining a standard unseen elsewhere. I feel like this summer flew by and I missed most of it. In bits and pieces, you all helped me catch up and enjoy what ended up being an exciting few months. Thanks all!

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