Mariners fans James Muramoto, 29 and brother Matt Kopp, 23, sit at the dining room table at their family’s home on Thursday, in Everett. Muramoto said he has been a lifelong Mariners fan thanks to the passion of his late grandmother Edie Galen. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Mariners fans James Muramoto, 29 and brother Matt Kopp, 23, sit at the dining room table at their family’s home on Thursday, in Everett. Muramoto said he has been a lifelong Mariners fan thanks to the passion of his late grandmother Edie Galen. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Playoff fever: A 21-year wait is over for long-suffering Mariners fans

For M’s fans in Everett, the end of a postseason drought feels “like the World Series” and “like everybody’s dream had come true.”

EVERETT — James Muramoto was 8 when the Seattle Mariners last made the postseason.

The Mariners won an all-time record 116 games in 2001, only to lose to a New York Yankees dynasty in the American League Championship Series.

In the 21 years since, Muramoto never lost faith in the team, even during some difficult losing seasons. And there were plenty of those.

Starting Friday, baseball’s postseason will include the Mariners again.

“My friends always said it wouldn’t happen, but I believed,” Muramoto said. “It is not the World Series, yet, but to a Mariners fan who has been waiting 21 years it feels like the World Series.”

The Mariners are the only current Major League Baseball team to have never played in the World Series.

Fifth-seed Seattle (90-72) will open a best-of-three American League Wild Card series against the Blue Jays (92-70) in Toronto. Games will be played at 1:07 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and at 11:07 a.m. Sunday, if necessary.

Winning the Wild Card round is the first step to advancing in baseball’s postseason, expanded for the first time this year from 10 to 12 teams. The six teams from each league include three division winners and three wild card teams. Under the new format, all three games are scheduled to be in Canada because the Blue Jays had a better regular season record.

Can’t make it to Toronto?

Mariners fans can attend the watch parties at T-Mobile Park for $10, or $5 for season-ticket members, with stadium garage parking going for $10.

Sports bars and tribal casinos with sports betting will be hot spots during the games, as will corner taverns, break rooms and anywhere there’s streaming.

St. Louis Cardinal Albert Pujols, who hit his 703rd home run Monday, was a rookie when the Mariners last made the playoffs in 2001. President George W. Bush was starting his first term. It was the longest active playoff drought in the MLB, NFL, NBA or NHL.

Alicia Bates was at T-Mobile Park last Friday when Cal Raleigh’s walk-off home run in the ninth inning gave Seattle a 2-1 win over the Oakland Athletics, clinching the postseason in dramatic fashion.

Nobody wanted to leave, Bates said.

“It was like everybody’s dream had come true and we all witnessed it,” said Bates, 36, an Everett dental hygienist. “Everyone was high-fiving each other and jumping up and down. Nobody left. Everyone stayed in the stadium. My dad texted me, ‘You just witnessed history.’”

She priced what it would cost to go to Toronto, but decided to make do with seeing the game here, likely at a watch party at T-Mobile Park.


If the Mariners make it to the World Series, Bates said she’s “absolutely” going.

Ditto for Muramoto.

Muramoto, 29, of Everett, a Graybar electrical salesperson, went to his first Mariners game when he was 2 years old with his grandparents.

He still has the ticket stubs.

“My grandma taught me everything about sports and especially the Mariners,” he said. “She would let me stay up late watching games with her. I remember her yelling at the TV. My favorite was when Joel Piñeiro was here and had pitched bad. ‘You pinhead!’ she would yell.”

The games were a family tradition.

“Opening Day, we would always make hot dogs and mac and cheese, and we would always get our hopes up just to be let down, but we never gave up faith,” Muramoto said.

“There’s a lot of nostalgia looking back on some of my happiest times as a kid,” said his brother, Matt Kopp, 23.

Their grandmother, Edie Galen, died in 2014.

Muramoto’s mementos include her Mariners cookbook signed by catcher Dan Wilson.

“When they clinched the playoffs this year I lost it, bawling my eyes out,” Muramoto said. “Grandma would have been so proud.”

Just Sports assistant manager Jose Romero said the Mariners win is a win for the Everett Mall store.

“It’s better for us, more sales,” he said.

The store has Mariners caps, shorts and shirts.

Romero said there has been an uptick in baseball card sales.

“A guy came in and bought two packs of $244 Chrome baseball cards,” he said. The anniversary box has 24 packs of cards and an autographed card.

Bring on the bling with a chunky coil chain necklace and a giant logo bauble for $38.99.

Andrea Brown: 425-339-3443; abrown@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @reporterbrown.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

A big decision for Boeing’s next CEO: Is it time for a new plane?

As Boeing faces increased competition from Airbus, the company is expected to appoint a new CEO by the end of the year.

A Mukilteo Speedway sign hangs at an intersection along the road in Mukilteo. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Mukilteo Speedway name change is off to a bumpy start

The city’s initial crack at renaming the main drag got over 1,500 responses. Most want to keep the name.

Two workers walk past a train following a press event at the Lynnwood City Center Link Station on Friday, June 7, 2024, in Lynnwood, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Trains up and running on Lynnwood Link — but no passengers quite yet

Officials held an event at the Lynnwood station announcing the start of “pre-revenue” service. Passengers still have to wait till August.

Nedra Vranish, left, and Karen Thordarson, right browse colorful glass flowers at Fuse4U during Sorticulture on Friday, June 7, 2024, in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
A promenade through Everett’s popular Sorticulture garden festival

Check out a gallery of the festival’s first day.

Left to right, Everett Pride board members Ashley Turner, Bryce Laake, and Kevin Daniels pose for a photo at South Fork Bakery in Everett, Washington on Sunday, May 26, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Second Everett Pride aims for even bigger rainbow of festivities

Organizers estimated about 3,000 people attended the first block party in Everett. This year, they’re aiming for 10,000.

A house fire seriously injured two people Friday evening, June 14, in Edmonds, Washington. (Courtesy of South County Fire.)
1 killed, 1 with life-threatening injuries in Edmonds house fire

South County Fire crews pulled the man and woman from the burning home around 6 p.m. Friday, near 224th Street SW and 72nd Place W.

Melinda Grenier serves patrons at her coffee truck called Hay Girl Coffee during the third annual Arlington Pride event in Arlington, Washington on Sunday, June 2, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Hidden costs, delays crush hopeful food truck owners in Snohomish County

Melinda Grenier followed her dream to open Hay Girl Coffee. Thousands in fees later, it has cost her more than she bargained for.

The I-5, Highway 529 and the BNSF railroad bridges cross over Union Slough as the main roadways for north and southbound traffic between Everett and Marysville. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Highway 529 squeeze starts now between Everett, Marysville

Following a full closure for a night, starting late Sunday, Highway 529 will slim down to two lanes for months near the Snohomish River Bridge.

Lynnwood
New Jersey auto group purchases Lynnwood Lexus dealership land

Holman, which owns Lexus of Seattle in Lynnwood, bought property on which the dealership resides.

Marvin Arellano (Photo provided)
Family: ‘Manic episode’ preceded trooper shooting man on I-5 near Everett

“It’s very, very unfortunate how he was portrayed in his final moments,” Gilbert Arellano said. “He was just such a good person.”

Two visitors comb the beach at Kayak Point Regional County Park on Friday, June 14, 2024, in Tulalip, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Kayak Point reopens ahead of schedule

The county’s most popular park reopened Friday.

Grauates throw their caps in the air at the end of Arlington High School graduation at Angel of the Winds Arena on Thursday, June 13, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
‘So worth it’: Snohomish County graduates step into their futures

Alyssa Acosta, who is Harvard-bound, was one of thousands to walk the stage at Angel of the Winds Arena this month to get high school diplomas.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.