I’m in Seattle now, preparing to go T-Mobile tomorrow with my daughter and son-in-law to see the last of the scheduled regular-season games, with the Mariners still in the mix for the post-season.
Like some (all?) of you, we watched tonight as the Mariners nursed a lead most of the game, only to fall behind 4 – 3 in the top of the ninth on a Jared Walsh three-run home run. Tornado Mitch Haniger was having a great game — 3 for 4 with a homer and all three Mariner RBIs. No one else having been able to get a clutch hit, we counted the outs to see if he would get up again before the game was over. Going into the bottom of the 8th inning, there were 5 hitters scheduled before Haniger’s spot in the lineup. If the other 5 all made outs, Haniger would come up with 2 out in the bottom of the ninth.
“I don’t want to see Haniger again,” I announced. No one here knew my private reason for not wanting to see Haniger again. I didn’t want him leading some kind of Tornado miraculous charge carrying the Tornados into the EFL lead. I know, it’s so unlikely, but I won’t feel safe until the last out of the season is recorded.
But that wasn’t the REAL reason I didn’t want to see Haniger again. The only way that would happen is if the M’s didn’t have to bat in the bottom of the ninth. A bloop, a blast and three outs in the bottom of the 8th would leave Haniger on deck, with the M’s back ahead.
But I did have to see Haniger – still in the 8th inning with the M’s still behind 4 – 3 with two out and the bases loaded. Haniger worked the count full — a harrowing experience with an umpire who several times called “Strike!” on pitches several inches off the plate. When the count reached 3 – 2, Haniger stepped out. The cameras focused on him. He seemed to be nervous, tense. The next pitch was down, out of the strike zone. Haniger reached for it awkwardly, and drove a sharp ground ball toward the hole between SS and 3b. The ball zipped between them and into left field, scoring two runs (and setting up a third run later).
That saved the Mariners season, for at least one more day. And it piled a 4 for 5 with a homer and three singles onto the Tornado stats.
But it’s ok. And it’s ok if Jarred Kelenic keeps swapping the Tornado Hero’s sash with Haniger. They can even share it. I’d give up 4 games of the W’s lead to see the M’s in the postseason.
We’re all Tornado fans today, especially when Kelenic or Haniger are up to bat. They can go wild! I think I’d enjoy watching the Mariners erase a quarter of their run differential — even though the Tornados are already only 4.3 games back.
|Old Detroit Wolverines||110||51||.683||—||924.9||629.8|
|Flint Hill Tornadoes||106||55||.656||4.3||886.4||637.5|
|Old Detroit Wolverines||110||51||.683||—|
|Flint Hill Tornadoes||106||55||.656||4.3|
|Tampa Bay Rays||100||61||.621||10|
|Boston Red Sox||91||70||.565||19|
|New York Yankees||91||70||.565||19|
|Toronto Blue Jays||90||71||.559||20|
|New York Mets||77||84||.478||23.3|
|Chicago White Sox||93||68||.578||—|
|Kansas City Royals||74||87||.460||19|
|St. Louis Cardinals||90||71||.559||5|
|Los Angeles Angels||76||85||.472||23.5|
|San Francisco Giants||106||55||.658||—|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||105||56||.652||1|
|San Diego Padres||79||82||.491||27|