Thursday, August 13, 2009

Mariners Baseball

I've followed the M's off and on since the late 70's when I was stationed in Bremerton and went to games in the Kingdome on a military discount. I could get good seats behind home plate or along the baseline back then - because attendance was so low. A fans biggest hope in those days was that the M's would have a plus 500 record. As someone wrote in Wikipedia "the Mariners teams of the late 1970s and the entirety of the 1980s were characterized by perennial non-achievement, gaining a reputation for poor performances, low attendance, and losing records." The M's first game was in 1977 and they didn't have a winning season until 1991.

As of today, the M's are 70% through the regular season with 48 games to go through August, September and then 4 games in October.

They've played 114 games and I've probably watched or listened to 100 including the 14 inning win against the White Sox last night. They are 60 and 54 which puts them 9 games back of the Angels in the West and 5.5 games from a wild card behind Boston, Texas and Tampa Bay. Their .526 winning percentage is good - they'd be in first place today in the Central division.

I liked playing baseball as a kid and like listening to the games or watching them on TV now. The game is a nice combination of individual and team effort, mental concentration and athleticism. The mental part is big - a batter is trying to concentrate on hitting a ball with a good swing like a golfer - except in golf there aren't 30,000 screaming fans, and the ball you are trying to hit is stationary, not coming at you at 90 miles an hour. It's a long 162 game regular season from April until October where a team is bound to lose some games and has to have the mental fortitude to shake off the losses and come back the next day.

Baseball has lots of traditions that surround the game - sunflower seeds, rally caps, organ music, beer, peanuts, hot dogs, cracker jacks, homer hankies...players chewing tobacco and spitting. Baseball has a long history with the first professional game being played in 1869, seven years before Custer's last stand at the Little Big Horn.

Mostly baseball is a nice diversion from whatever serious things are going on in the world.

Listening to a baseball game on the radio with a good announcer calling the game is one of the most pleasant parts of summer for me.

It's a great game.