I am a Mariners fan.
I am also a high school teacher. My colleagues are regularly bedecked in Seahawks blue and Sounders green to support their successful teams. I have an aged Mariners windshirt I bought from a street vendor back in the day. I have a blue, misprinted Mariners jersey, and a gorgeous teal Ichiro jersey I picked up cheap(er) when the team store was closing them out. I bought a tacky, but lovely Mariners sweater at FanFest. I wear them all proudly. All my colleagues know where my sporting loyalties lie.
But this year it’s different. My buddies stop me in the hall in the morning before students arrive and want to talk baseball. Inevitably the questions start with, “Did you stay up late enough to. . .?”, because of all the come back wins.
Usually my answer is no. I suffer from insomnia, and when I start to feel sleepy at nine or nine thirty at the very latest I have to go to bed. But because I wake up very early–say at 3:00 or 3:30, I follow the game news–ESPN, MLB.com, Lookout Landing–I usually know what transpired. Sometimes my iPad on my night table wakes me up with news. “Leonys Martin’s walk off homer beats A’s 6-5.” I usually sleep better those nights.
I find myself giving inordinate amounts of time to this baseball season and the Mariners. I’ve made 15 posts in May. Most posts take me a couple of hours. That’s a lot of hours. In 2015 I wrote 79 posts for the entire year.
If my behavior seems obsessive, my guess is that if you’re taking the time to read this then you’ve become a bit of a Mariners nut yourself. Watching the games, following storylines on the ‘web, maybe trying to figure out the new stats–what the heck is BABIP, xFIP and dWAR anyway? Why the heck is Adam Lind’s fWAR so bad?
But that’s the way it’s supposed to be, isn’t it? That’s what happens when your team is winning. In 2001 when it seemed the M’s couldn’t lose, we still read the print paper. But we looked at the box scores, all of ’em. We read Larry Stone and Larry LaRue every day. And there was a Post Intelligencer to give us a third view. I never missed a game on television, and I spent a fair amount of cash to take my wife to games at Safeco.
I still look at the Times and News Tribune coverage-until my free views run out. I check FanGraphs, MLBTR, anything I hope will give me a little more insight into my beloved Mariners. Winning teams inspire their fans to do that. And it sure feels good. That’s the way it’s supposed to be.
I’ll be away, playing games with toy soldiers this weekend, trying to sneak in views of the M’s vs. Twins in the bar. Go M’s.