The Seattle Mariners currently sit at 62-87. Doing the math (or better yet, just doing the counting), I see that the Mariners have only 13 games left in the season. We would have to lose every game the rest of the way to get to 100 losses.
Our magic number is 1!
I don’t suppose that’s a magic number in the sense most people are familiar with magic numbers in sports, but for the Mariners, 1 win will make all the difference.
Look at it: we came into this season with lower than low expectations. Anyone who predicted a .500 season, or anything close to a .500 season is a God damn moron, there I said it! Yeah, I’m talking to YOU! All you blogs, all you sports writers and beat reporters and national pundits! You all had the Mariners in the 70-win range when you had NO REASON for it! And you M’s fans, forget about it! You’re fucking CRAZY!
Regression. That’s all you got? Certain players had outrageously bad seasons and SURELY they couldn’t replicate the badness back-to-back! Bullshit, of course they could! And, in many cases, they did. Chone Figgins, Milton Bradley, Jack Cust, Jack Wilson, Michael Saunders; ALL of those guys followed up bad seasons with even worse seasons. Compound that with the fact that Ichiro took a huge dive, Justin Smoak went on an extended slump (that is, when he wasn’t out with injury), Miguel Olivo is a walking Golden Sombrero …
I didn’t intend for this to be a 2011 Retrospective. There will be plenty of time for that in the off-season. This is a call-out to all the people who predicted this team would be better than it actually is.
And, for a while there, they were looking pretty damn good and I was looking pretty damn foolish. For a while, the Mariners were at or above .500. They were in contention for the AL West, their starting pitching was off-the-charts good, and their bullpen was doing things (Jamey Wright, David Pauley) that nobody in his right mind EVER could have expected. Then, that 17-game losing streak happened. I guess that’s one case where regression actually makes sense.
You know what I predicted for this year? “Record Prediction: 65-97. AL West Finish: 4th Place. Draft Pick in 2012: 4.” I’m EERILY fucking close to all of those things hitting right on the nose. Look at my post HERE (and trust that I didn’t go back later and adjust it).
To hit my record, the Mariners have to go 3-10. Look at the schedule! 6 games against the Rangers (fighting hard with Anaheim for the division), 3 games in Minnesota, another game in Cleveland, and 3 games at home vs. Oakland. It’s not the most difficult schedule in the world, but 3-10 is VERY much on the table!
Currently, the Mariners are drafting 4th by a half game (San Diego is tied with us in the loss column, with one more in the win column) and by one and a half games (Baltimore has 1 extra loss, 2 fewer wins). Should we go 3-10, as I predicted, I would say 4th is a stone cold lock (if not a lock for an even better draft slot).
And, obviously, the Mariners are last in the AL West. By a whopping 5.5 games. This one is a done deal.
Anyway, before I got all sidetracked on your idiotic predictions, I was talking about how 1 win will make all the difference. And it will! The psychological disgust involved with seeing triple-digits in the loss column is overpowering. It’s a stench so foul, it will haunt you in your nightmares! It’s the kind of thing that gets GMs and field managers unnecessarily fired.
I’ve said all along, while I thought the Mariners would be terrible, I still want to see Jackie Z retained. That’s still true. It’s a lot easier on management (I mean upper management here, the guys who hire and fire guys like Jackie Z) to NOT fire someone if they’ve got fewer than 100 losses.
However, a GM who has proceeded over a team with back-to-back 100-loss seasons … that’s a bitter fucking horse pill to swallow. And I understand Z has already been signed to an extension, but first of all, who really expects contracts to ever be honored (even in Baseball where everything is guaranteed)? Secondly, back-to-back 100-loss seasons is only going to serve in additional pressure on our already-beleaguered GM.
I don’t need Z suffering the ill effects of Armstrong & Lincoln breathing fire down his neck, whispering in his ear, “You gotta win now! We gotta get more asses in those seats!” That’s the kind of pressure that makes a guy panic in his wheelings and dealings. Signing guys he wouldn’t normally sign because they’re a big name who might attract a few hundred more season ticket holders; trading away blue-chip prospects for guys who will help us in the interim, but won’t help us in the long run.
Look, I’m not one of those guys who says, “Don’t trade ANYBODY,” and keeps talking about the farm system like it’s some magical fairyland that produces nothing but top-notch Major Leaguers. I understand not ALL of our prospects will pan out; I understand that we need to make trades to bring in guys to help the big ballclub (as opposed to the other way around; trading Major Leaguers to help the farm). But, I just don’t want Z making the wrong deals, or deals he will later come to regret, simply because there’s this pressure on him to Win Now Or Else.
The Mariners winning 1 more game will go a long way toward helping that. 99 is better than 100. Yeah, it’s just 1 game, but the distance between those numbers is a country mile wide.