I’m a Mariners fan, and you could say that whenever I go to a game—usually with my friend Mark, or dad—I’m reminded of the film Harold and Maude, because just like that mismatched duo enjoyed going to a good funeral to commiserate in the shared experience of entropy, I enjoy the Mariners’ slow sink, and I’m not kidding because, to me, that’s baseball.
It’s not just a Mariners thing; every team besides one will feel the sting of defeat come the end of October. This fact reigns true in all sport, but baseball has a way of dragging on. Through 162 games you become lost in the woods. In football you refer to games by which week. “Oh, in Week 7, the Hawks looked like their former selves, but in Week 8 they looked like chopped liver,” people might (never) say. Yet, in baseball we say, that was an awful May. A hopeful June. A dismal July. A “just not good enough” August. A “there’s always next year” September.
Individual games become the stuff of flawed childhood memories, and you sum them up by one event, for example, saying, “Remember when that magic Mike Zunino hit a walk off with 2 strikes in the bottom of the 9th?” Or, more often, “Remember when that no good rotten bum, Zunino struck out on three pitches in the 9th with Dyson on third, 90-feet away from tying up the ballgame?” In either instance, the fan will audibly proclaim, “How could I forget?” Though, most likely has forgotten which game it was, or why it really mattered at that moment when it happened.
Baseball is a game of context. The seven-month baseball season peels, spins and burns-out on the alleyway of your consciousness with a Dostoyevskian novel’s prowess for cultivating passion and introspection. You begin to learn the names and nicknames of far too many peripheral players on your AAA farm team roster. You talk about your team’s starting batting order like they’re your roommates. Most importantly, individual games lose their meaning when not contextualized through the three games that came before it. What I’m driving at is that the baseball season is an on-going narrative. It’s a tragi-comedic novel where everyone deceives themselves into believing that all their hopes were for something bigger, but in the end, not enough, and all that time, emotion and money invested was devoted to a game that consists of a measly ball and stick. I love it. I love baseball and I wouldn’t take back a single minute, curse work or dime spent from any season that I’ve ever survived.
This season I plan to document the tragedy of a baseball season, the Mariners 2018 baseball season to be exact. A team that currently lays claim to the longest postseason draught in professional American sports. For the next 162 games, I’ll write about many of them, but will also ignore some of them. In either case, I’ll spare you the statistical analysis as much as I can to instead concentrate on the human element of the game. The game as it is from the bleachers, where baseball mythology thrives.