The season is over. The M’s are out of it again. Heading out on their last road swing through Minneapolis and Houston, and returning home to face Oakland for four games, it was hard to see how they could win enough games. Their chances were slim, but I honestly think if they won Saturday night, they could at least tie. But I was wrong. It took 89 wins to take the Wild Card, not 88.
The pre-season predictions for this team ranged from 77 wins by USA Today to 84 wins by FanGraphs. Jerry Dipoto said 85-86. By the general manager’s measure, the team was a succcess.
And he’s right. It’s hard to overlook the fact that this team improved its record by ten games. It scored 768 runs, and had a run differential of +61. That’s better than anyone in their division, and the best offensive numbers of any Mariner team in nearly ten years.
But it doesn’t change the fact that the Rangers still won the division, or that the Mariners still have their noses pressed against the playoff team clubhouse door, reading the sign “You must be a club member to enter.” Despite the improvement, Seattle is still Mudville.
This year had the most stunning peaks, and the deepest, darkest valleys. It is a year unlike others I remember. I am at once, glad to see it over, while suffering the deepest of disappointments that it’s gone. So unsatisfactorily. We all know the might-have-beens, and I’ll pick those apart another time.
But for now, I’ll lament another season gone. I’ll miss the guys on television. I’ll miss Rizzs and Goldsmith, Blowers and Sims. I enjoyed hearing Hyphen in the press box. But more than anything, I’ll lament the fact another season is gone with little to show for it. Good, but not good enough. And I’ll wait for the playoffs to end, as Jerry fires up the trade-o-matic and we start all over again.