NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's uplifting perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Friday, September 30th, 2022

Seattle Mariners end playoff drought, clinch postseason spot with walkoff win

We’re drought­less here in Seattle!

After miss­ing the MLB play­offs for a record twen­ty-one straight sea­sons, the Seat­tle Mariners swept aside over two decades of mis­ery tonight and began mak­ing bet­ter new mem­o­ries by clinch­ing one of the Amer­i­can League’s three wild-card spots in an exhil­a­rat­ing 2–1 walkoff win over the Oak­land Ath­let­ics that end­ed when catch­er Cal Raleigh hit a home run off the win­dows of the Hit It Here Cafe.

The vic­to­ry brought the longest ongo­ing drought in pro­fes­sion­al sports to an end in spec­tac­u­lar fash­ion, send­ing the very ready sold-out crowd at T‑Mobile Park into a mas­sive, rau­cous cel­e­bra­tion. Mariners play­ers donned Octo­ber Rise shirts and caps and took a team pho­to out on the field as the dis­play boards in the parks shim­mered with the word “CLINCHED” repeat­ed over and over.

“Con­grat­u­la­tions to our Mariners… we are going to the play­offs and watch out, our pitch­ing and defense are excel­lent and in a short series that’s what you want,” tweet­ed Mariners leg­end and Hall of Famer Edgar Mar­tinez, who was on the last Mariners squad to make the play­offs (and tie the MLB record for reg­u­lar sea­son wins) all the way back in 2001. That was before Twit­ter, Face­book, Insta­gram, and Tik­Tok; back in the days when most homes con­nect­ed to the Inter­net over 56K dialup con­nec­tions and Block­buster had over 5,000 stores across the country.

Yes, it real­ly and tru­ly has been that long since the Mariners were in the post­sea­son. The last time the M’s qual­i­fied, this pub­li­ca­tion did not exist. Per­ma­nent Defense would not be found­ed for anoth­er five months. NPI would not be found­ed for anoth­er two years. The youngest Mariners fans have wait­ed their entire lives for this moment, hav­ing not expe­ri­enced the “Refuse to Lose” era of the mid-1990s with Ken Grif­fey, Jr., Alex Rodriguez, Randy John­son, Jay Buh­n­er, Dan “The Man” Wil­son, Lou Piniel­la, and of course, Edgar… or even the incred­i­ble 116-win sea­son with Ichi­ro, Bret Boone, John Olerud, and many more.

Back in June, when the team was find­ing it dif­fi­cult to win ear­ly in the sea­son, few saw the Mariners end­ing their drought this year. Odd­s­mak­ers rat­ed the team’s chances of mak­ing the play­offs in the sin­gle dig­its.

But the team bat­tled on, led by young star (and Rook­ie of the Year!) Julio Rodriguez. New arrivals like Rob­bie Ray, Euge­nio Suarez, Luis Castil­lo, and Car­los San­tana — some acquired through mid­sea­son trades — made cru­cial­ly impor­tant con­tri­bu­tions. (Rodriguez and Castil­lo are here to stay for awhile, hav­ing both signed mul­ti­year deals with Gen­er­al Man­ag­er Jer­ry Dipoto.)

Before the All-Star Break, the Mariners found their groove, putting togeth­er a four­teen game win streak that helped vault them into con­tention for a wild card spot. In the sec­ond half of the sea­son, they avoid­ed a late August col­lapse, putting togeth­er qual­i­ty wins against teams like the Atlanta Braves and the Cleve­land Guardians. They did­n’t win every series, of course, but they stayed above .500 and remained com­pet­i­tive with the league’s oth­er top wild card con­tenders, the Toron­to Blue Jays and the Tam­pa Bay Rays.

Vic­to­ry cig­ar in hand, Man­ag­er Scott Ser­vais addressed Mariners fans from the field at T‑Mobile Park after the win, declar­ing that the team was only just get­ting start­ed and urg­ing fans to rel­ish a very, very spe­cial moment in team history.

My oh my. Wher­ev­er Dave Niehaus is right now, he is rev­el­ing in the mag­ic that this team has cre­at­ed. The per­se­ver­ance and resilience of these Mariners are a great gift to the City of Seat­tle and the Pacif­ic North­west in try­ing times.

Go M’s! Just a few games left in the reg­u­lar sea­son and then on to the playoffs!

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