Let’s say you’re not the biggest baseball fan (communist!) and you’ve basically never heard of the Mariners (completely possible, for reasons that will become clear). If you live in Seattle, it’s time to jump on the playoffs bandwagon! This is mainly because said bandwagon involves multiple hours of snacks and day-drinking while watching your friends who are Mariners fans stress out on Friday, Saturday and possibly Sunday. For your bandwagon-getting-on purposes, let’s quickly bring you up to speed, lest you sound like a latecomer — or, worse, say something that hexes our team. OK, play ball, as they say!
The reason you may know nothing about the Mariners is because they have literally, actually, factually been the losing-est of losers for legit plural decades. Until just now, the team had not made it to the playoffs since 2001, which represented the longest such “active drought,” as they say, not just in baseball but in every major professional sport in North America (that’s baseball, football, basketball and hockey, FYI). Our failure to make it to the playoffs became old enough to drink — this is why your friends who are Mariners fans are currently combo elated-and-terrified, and also why they seemed sad a bunch for the last 20-some years, which is, in some cases, since they were born.
Another depressing fact: The Mariners are the only team in Major League Baseball to have never, ever made it to the World Series, which are the big games at the end of the playoffs where one team is crowned the winningest winners. (Note that the teams of Major League Baseball are the only teams that can get to the World Series, so in this bit of loserdom, the M’s are singular.)
This is all laid out as background that’s important to understanding the Mariners fan mentality — do NOT bring any of this up. Be gentle with them, for they have suffered mightily. And hey, we finally made the playoffs again! This is great!! Onwards and, it is fervently hoped, upwards!!!
OK, so this weekend, we’re playing the Toronto Blue Jays, a team mostly notable for being Canadian (yes, America’s hat officially takes part in Our National Pastime, which is confusing), and for having fans who are as loud and irritating as the actual bird the blue jay (which, RUDE, especially for Canadians, eh?!). All the games will be played in Toronto, stupidly, which means you go to a bar or to the watch party at T-Mobile Park for more togetherness, or, alternately, cower in a small group in front of the TV at home — whatever makes your fan-friends slightly less uncomfortable.
It’s the best two out of three games. Each game takes a long time. Pace yourself.
We (that’s the Mariners) are strong in the pitching department, which is an advantage in this special fewer-games-than-normal playoff “series” or “stand,” because when more games must be played, the various pitchers get more tired/get tummy aches/get injured. Do NOT mention the possibility of anyone getting injured.
If you only know one player’s name, let it be this one: Julio Rodríguez. Sing his name, for he is to be praised!!!
Here are some things you can say before the playoffs commence and early on in Friday’s game without sounding like a blockhead:
- Good thing we’ve got some great starting pitchers!
- Julio, amirite?!
- Looks like Tacoma did some good for Kelenic [that’s pronounced KEL-nik ]!
- Do you think “Louie Louie” was the problem?
- Canadians! They would use maple syrup instead of pine tar, except they’re too nice to cheat. Unlike the Astros!!!
- Our garlic fries don’t need any stupid cheese curds and gravy.
After the first few innings of the first playoff game — there will be nine innings total, with extras in the event of a tie — it’s probably wisest to keep quiet. Consider yourself support staff, and again, treat your fan-friends with tenderness. Listen to them process their feelings and get them another beer frequently. Absolutely no Labatt’s!
Any home run by the Mariners must be celebrated with maximum jubilation — probably a round of shots is in order. If, excuse me, I mean, WHEN a game is won, you may arguably spray a bottle of Champagne everywhere. (It is my dearest hope to once again spray Champagne everywhere at my friend Ben Beres’ place, which happened when Seattle won the World Series of football in 2014 and is pretty much the most fun you can have, with apologies to Ben’s ceiling and thanks for his ongoing sports tutelage.)
At all appropriate moments, cheer LOUDLY! Remember that you must be heard in Canada!! Over the din of annoying Blue Jays fans!!!
And should a situation develop wherein, when the M’s are pitching, none of the Blue Jays’ guys seem to be making it to first base, DO NOT SPEAK OF THIS. (Hey, a fan can dream!)