Dear Professor Sport Ball,
I live in a house divided. My father loves the Dodgers, my mother loves the Athletics, and I am a lonely Mariners fan. From spring training to the World Series, our home is a place of feuding and vicious team-based discrimination. At times I feel like caving in and embracing a Californian baseball team. How can I justify being a Mariners fan? Can I ever show my parents the light and bring them into the King’s Court? How can I save my home?
Being a Mariners fan is a lifelong uphill battle. Some say they peaked in 2001. Some say it was as far back as 1995. I’d like to be hopeful and say the best is yet to come. But that can be tough after years of devastating losses.
Take heart, fellow Mariner. There are plenty of reasons to love your team. If you hold them true and dear in your heart, your parents just might be inspired by your conviction and see the light. Have confidence and keep the faith.
1. Track records don’t matter if you’re from the Pacific Northwest
The Mariners’ track record shouldn’t factor into your commitment because the Northwest has a terrible history of being incredibly cruel to its sports fans. It’s almost like this place gets a kick out of squashing the hopes and dreams of its dearest supporters.
Looking at the last 25 years, it’s really a surprise any of us even try anymore.
We may be swept up in Blazermania, but take a second to stop and think about the years of injuries, bad signing decisions and painful losses. The Seahawks have a mediocre history. They have one recent Superbowl championship under their belt, but that last defeat was just cruel. I won’t even start on the Seattle Supersonics leaving. It cuts too deep, but they will forever live in my heart and in NBA Jam.
The takeaway here is that losses don’t matter. If you’re judging the Mariners off their win ratio, you might as well give up on the Pacific Northwest teams all together. It’s better to have loved the loss than to have never loved at all.
2. Félix Hernández
If you’re looking for something to deposit all your faith into, that thing is a man. More than a man, really. Félix Hernández is our leader. The only messiah we’ll ever get. If anything will carry us to victory, it will be his beautiful, beautiful right arm. There’s nothing more glorious and rewarding than kneeling at our King’s altar or pounding a Coors in the King’s Court. Long live the King, baby.
3. Lookout Landing
Lookout Landing is the Mariners’ corner of SB Nation, a sports network dedicated to news, commentary and dialogue for fans. Lookout Landing is great if you’re looking for gifs of Brad Miller eating asparagus or want an in-depth breakdown of the Mariners’ bullpen (I go for the gifs). It’s one hell of a family, and you aren’t going to find a corner like this for any other team.
In times of desperation, it’s a comforting support group. When things are great, who better to celebrate with?
4. Who else are you going to root for, the Angels?
Yeah, right. Get real.
5. The commercials
They aren’t commercials they’re cinematic masterpieces. Every year, the Mariners release a new line of “cinematic masterpieces” to promote the upcoming season while having a bit of fun. It goes without saying, they’re reel good.
If you haven’t seen any of the commercials, “Larry Bernandez” is the pinnacle of the team’s short films, putting the revered work of Kenneth Anger to shame.
What other team entertains you like this?
6. You don’t even want to watch the World Series, anyway.
As much you want to see the Mariners make it all the way to the top, do you really want to go through the trouble of watching the World Series? Bars get overcrowded, and there’s always that one asshat decked out in Yankees regalia. The commercials aren’t funny. The announcers aren’t your usual, familiar people. It’s just not worth it.
At least that’s what I tell myself so I can sleep at night.
7. Félix Hernández
Because King Félix deserves to be mentioned twice.
8. You get to go to Nick’s because of Ted Turner
Because our nation’s capitalist system props up Ted Turner, allowing him to dominate cable television AND force his team down our throats, us Northwesterners don’t have many viewing options when it comes to America’s pastime. Unless you want to shell out the money for MLB.TV (which is AWESOME, but holy shit it’s expensive), you’re pretty much stuck with the Braves.
The silver lining in this situation is that it gives you an excuse to go to Nick’s Famous Coney Island on Southeast Hawthorne. Beer, baseball and hot dogs—it’s the best place for people who love sports but despise everything Buffalo Wild Wings stands for.
You’d miss out on an awesome sports bar experience if you rooted for the Braves.
9. Stick with what you like because it doesn’t matter—unless it’s football
Hahahaha, watching football, hahahahahahaha.
10. It can only get better
The Mariners have been through some rocky times, but they’ve also been through some beautiful moments that I wouldn’t trade for all the rings on fingers—hell, maybe one or two.
Do you remember Félix’s perfect game? Or all of the players that used their time with the Mariners to kick-start stellar careers with other teams? Or the tidal wave of emotions Mariners fans around the world felt during Ichiro Suzuki’s last game? (Speaking of Ichiro, go listen to Ben Gibbard’s “Ichiro’s Theme.”) What other team has this kind of support?
Maybe it’s trench mentality. We’ve been through the worst of times together, and we’ll sure as hell be here for the best of them, too. Things can be a bit rough, but we’re a big goddamn family. It may be a bit dysfunctional at times, but it’s the one we’ve got.
The Mariners may stumble and they may fall, but one day we will join them in the sun.