Every year has a moment where you let yourself dream. For Mariner fans, in many years that moment is before the first game. Some years, like 2014, we get to hope late into September, and we have learned to cherish that experience, that team.
While it’s a fickle alchemy that leads to a person’s hope, in the end I believe it’s a personal choice, and nothing more. Logic, reason, emotion, past experience, and personal attachment are all factors in that choice, but we decide how to measure them, and when to cook with them.
I still don’t really believe in the 2018 Mariners. They have beaten up on the worst the AL has to offer in the White Sox, Rangers, and Royals. They are 6-2 in one run games, and seemingly haven’t experienced a single tough loss this year. They still can’t really pitch, and while the offense is as fun and deep as any they’ve had this decade, it remains old and injury prone.
But, they’re 14-10. That 6-2 one run record is largely attributable to the very real possibility that Edwin Diaz is evolving into ChariDiaz, and is now one of the very best relief pitchers currently playing the game. They are only just yesterday approaching something approximating their penciled in every day lineup. They have survived some adversity. Lucky? You bet. But luck and skill count exactly the same in the W-L analysis.
I’m not ready to believe in the Mariners yet, but I’m getting closer. It’s fair to say I disbelieve in them less. It’s entirely possible that’s the best experience a baseball team can give its fans; move them from skepticism, and towards trust. Closer to embracing, trusting, maybe, perhaps, something like loving them.
I don’t love them yet. There is still so much for them to prove to me, and I will always be bitter that the shortcomings they have were easily accounted for and remedied by an ownership actually committed to winning. But I watched Edwin Diaz mow down one of the American League’s best teams last night, and felt something a little bit like love. To be honest, it’s more than I ever expected, and I’m always grateful for that.