So-o-o-o, Mr. and Ms. Mariners
Fan, you’re already given up on the season, eh? Barely a third of the way in, and you’re waving your white flag with more fervor than your Felix Hernandez K card?
Relax. Take a breath. Give thanks for the good things in life (like Felix). At the same time, consider the following 10 baseball disasters that bring a little perspective to the Mariners’ current struggles:
That 25-32 (.439) record has gotcha down? Well, the 1899 Cleveland Spiders finished 20-134. That’s a .130 winning percentage if you’re scoring at home. Or, as ESPN’s Keith Olbermann once noted, even if you’re home alone.
The recent seven-game losing streak left you depressed? The 1889 Louisville Colonels dropped 26 consecutive games, which is not an easy thing to do while sober. Just four years ago, the Mariners lost 17 in a row.
Fernando Rodney is giving you ulcers? He has 14 saves in 17 chances, and despite that bloated earned run average of 6.94, his 2-3 record isn’t that bad. Mind you, Atlanta Braves closer Gene Garber found a way to lose 16 games in relief (with six wins) in 1979. Also, Hall of Famers Rollie Fingers and Bruce Sutter are two of the four pitchers who share the major league record of 14 blown saves in a season.
You’re taking offense to the Mariners’ lack of offense? True, Seattle’s .237 batting average ranks 27th in the majors, and the M’s are 29th in runs per game at 3.4. On the other hand, only four teams have bashed more homers than the Mariners (63). The Chicago White Sox hit just three homers all season in 1908. Two years later, the sock-less Sox hit seven home runs, batted .211 and scored 2.9 runs per game. Of course, those Chicago teams played in the dead ball era. It only seems like the dead ball era when the Mariners are at bat.
Shortstop Brad Miller’s inconsistent defense is cause for concern? The man’s made five errors. In the late 1800s, shortstops Herman Long of the Kansas City Cowboys and Billy Shindle of the Philadelphia Quakers each managed to pile up 122 errors. Unintentionally, we presume. The Mariners haven’t made 122 errors as a team since 1998.
You cannot fathom how second baseman Robinson Cano has gone from all-star to almost-never-star in one year? In three seasons since Dan Uggla started at second base for the National League in the 2012 All-Star Game, he’s batted .171 with 281 strikeouts in 799 at bats.
As a fan, you can’t stand how often the Mariners fan? Three teams strike out even more (the Chicago Cubs, Houston Astros and San Diego Padres), and none of those teams has a losing record. Seattle batters are going down on strikes 8.4 times per game, but that’s well below Houston’s 9.5 average in 2013, when the Astros fanned a record 1,535 times during a 51-111 season.
You want to throw up when Seattle batters can’t man up? That .215 batting average with runners in scoring position is sordid, no doubt. For perspective, however, consider that .215 tops the RISP batting average this season for such noted hitters as Boston’s David Ortiz (.116), Cincinnati’s Marlon Byrd (.143) and Philadelphia’s Chase Utley (.184).
You want to grab a bat when Dustin Ackley (.197), Willie Bloomquist (.183), Mike Zunino (.170) or Richie Weeks (.165) steps up to the plate? Don’t overestimate yourself. You would be wise to wait for the second coming of Philadelphia Quakers pitcher John Coleman, who set a record for futility that will never be broken when he lost 48 (48!) games in 1883. Give ol’ John credit for perseverance: He pitched 538 1-3 innings, completed 59 of his 61 starts and somehow won 12 games. He also played 31 games in the outfield, but he found it much easier to allow hits than to get hits (.234).
Thirty-eight years into their existence, and the Mariners still don’t have one stinkin’ World Series to show for it? The Cubs haven’t been to the Series in 70 years (1945) and haven’t won it in 107 years (1908). How pitiful is that? Well, consider that Seattle hockey teams have won more Stanley Cups (1917) in the past century than the Cubs have won World Series.