Let’s talk some Seattle Mariners baseball.
The Major League Baseball season was supposed to begin last week, with the Mariners scheduled to open the campaign at home against the Texas Rangers last Thursday at T-Mobile Park. Unfortunately, the start of baseball season has been put on hold and, like all sports, baseball is in limbo as the nation tries to control the spread of coronavirus. We have no idea when things will get started again.
So for this week’s Seattle Sidelines poll, let’s bring back some positive memories of Mariners seasons past. Let’s find out which season produces the most positive memories.
When I think of memorable Mariners seasons, there are two that immediately spring to mind.
The first is 1995. That was the year when the fate of baseball changed in Seattle forever. At that point the Mariners had gone nearly two decades into their history without making the postseason, and the team was in danger of leaving the city. A vote was put to the public on funding for a new stadium, and that vote eventually failed. But while the vote was happening, the Mariners were putting on a late-season run for the ages, climbing out of a huge hole to catch the California Angels for first place in the division. Seattle won the one-game playoff, then went on to beat the New York Yankees in the Division round in dramatic fashion, thanks to “The Double” delivered by Edgar Martinez, with Ken Griffey Jr. sliding home with the series-winning run as he was mobbed at home plate by his teammates. The excitement that team generated prompted local government, after all, to find a way to fund the stadium that became T-Mobile Park.
The second season is 2001. The Mariners were having to figure out how to move forward without franchise star Alex Rodriguez, who left as a free agent during the offseason as he signed the largest contract in sports history to join the Rangers. But that just happened to coincide with the arrival of Ichiro Suzuki from Japan. No Japanese position player had ever found success in the majors before, and there was skepticism about how Ichiro would fare. He ended up being a sensation, and his arrival helped energize the Mariners into winning 116 games to match the 1906 Chicago Cubs for the record for wins in a season. Sure, it didn’t end the way everyone wanted, with Seattle losing to the Cleveland Indians in the American League Championship Series, but the ride was exhilarating.
The Mariners had two other seasons in which they made the playoffs. In 1997 Seattle lost to the Baltimore Orioles in the Division round, and in 2000 the Mariners actually had their best overall postseason record as they went 5-4 en route to losing to the Yankees in the ALCS. But in my mind neither of those seasons reached the heights of 1995 or 2001.
So which Mariners season generates the most positive memories for you? Was it 1995, 2001, something different? Let us know by voting here, and if you pick “other” tell us which season and why in the comments section: