What is a 'swelmet' you ask? Well, it could be one of the reasons the Mariners are sitting in first place.
The Mariners are in arguably their best stretch in over a decade. Having won 15 of their past 20 games, they sit alone atop the AL West — 2.5 games ahead of second-place Texas.
And though timely hitting, consistent pitching and better plate discipline have been key factors, this year’s group of players also has had some swagger and chemistry propelling them to unlikely wins. They do, after all, hold the AL lead in two-out runs with 54 and have eight come-from-behind wins.
The source of that extra oomph? It could very well be a plastic blue helmet, dubbed the “swelmet.”
You might have seen photos of this stylish head gear floating around on social media over the past few days. The back story of the helmet is pretty fun.
Mariners third-base coach Manny Acta joined Brock and Salk of 710 ESPN on Thursday to explain the team’s newest rally icon: the sweeping helmet.
“We showed up (Wednesday in Oakland) to the game, and a fan had a helmet on,” Acta said.
That fan was die-hard M’s fan Larry Andersen, who originally crafted the helmet as a tribute to the M’s on Star Wars Day (May the 4th) by painting a Darth Vader helmet in Seattle’s retro blue and yellow colors.
The team took a liking to the helmet, and eventually they struck a deal with Andersen.
“He wanted a bat for the helmet,” Acta said, who replied: ” ‘I don’t have a bat, I have a fungo. I’m a coach, I don’t swing a bat.’ ”
Second baseman Robinson Cano was nearby and provided a signed bat for the fan for the helmet.
“It’s the coolest. It’s got the Mariners logo and Felix K on the side,” Acta said. “We have adopted it now. It’s called the ‘swelmet,’ the sweeping helmet”
As for the fan, Andersen says he’s still in awe of the support he’s gotten from his homemade creation.
“I was so shocked and proud,” he said. “I saw the pictures on social media, and my friends started texting me. Before I knew it, it was all over Instagram and Twitter.”
If the Mariners keep this up, you’ll see a lot more of the “swelmet” this year. The team’s marketing director, Kevin Martinez, has even indicated they’re looking into a potential promotional night for the team’s rally helmet.
Larry says he’d love to see the “swelmet” fill Safeco Field. His request in return?
“My dream would be to come out for the first pitch and meet Ken Griffey Jr.”
In the meantime, he just hopes what once was a Darth Vader helmet will give the team ‘the force’ to keep winning.
Maybe there’s something to rally hats in Seattle. Remember the “M-head”?