I am a big baseball fan. Anyone who follows me on Twitter knows that I basically only tweet about archives, history, and baseball. There are so many things I love about baseball. I love that you could have gone to see the Cincinnati Reds play the Philadelphia Phillies in 1890 or in 2015, and the game would have looked pretty much the same either way. I like that I don’t have to feel conflicted about being a woman loving the sport the way that some female fans do for other sports. And I just love the game: the pace, the finesse, the mental game.
I support the Mariners. It’s no secret the team isn’t living up to expectations. But sometimes magical things happen and you forget about expectations and standings and just enjoy the game for the pure love of it. One of those things happened Wednesday afternoon. I turned on Gameday Audio while I sorted some maps at work, just passively enjoying the game. Then I realized that history was happening – Hisashi Iwakuma was 7 innings into a no-hitter. I kept listening to the game, sorting my maps. By the top of the 9th I couldn’t concentrate. My stomach was in knots. The crowd was extra loud. Seager made an incredible catch. He was almost there. Finally, a fly ball out to end the game – I started jumping around like an idiot. Iwakuma became the 4th Mariner to pitch a no-hitter, and only the second Japanese player to do so in the MLB.
These moments bring everyone together. The best article I read was from Lookout Landing, but there were many others. We had a bright spot in the season, a reason for the people of the Puget Sound region to forget about Seahawks Training Camp for a little while and turn back to baseball.
I have supported the Mariners since my family moved to the Seattle area in 1992. To me, that history is like a hot dog – it is 90% stuff you don’t want to think about and consuming it often isn’t really very good for you. But you eat it anyway and you love it because it reminds you of all those family camp trips, summer cookouts, and trips to the ballpark with your dad. Maybe someday by magic that hot dog will turn into a stick of something fancy like salumi.* It’ll still be 90% stuff you don’t want to think about, but you won’t feel so bad eating it and it won’t be out of place with some crackers and wine.
We don’t know when that turn for the better will happen. Sometimes I joke that someday I’ll be like those 90-year old people they interviewed when Boston finally won another World Series in 2004, crying because they didn’t think they would live to see their team win the series again. The Mariners will get there someday, and even though it can be so frustrating sometimes, it doesn’t take away from those magical moments. It’s a game of small pleasures in a long season. And, in the words of A. Bartlett Giamatti:
It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone.
Happy Friday everyone!
*Yes…I know this isn’t actually how meat curing works.