convoluted sports fandom

Sometime back in high school, Ace Hardware Store was sole seller of a video of hi-lites for the Mariners 1995 season. And this video was the favored video of much of the male teaching staff — such that on those days when they had need to not teach anything — say, the day before Christmas Break — in plopped the video.

It was this or Forrest Gump.

The Mariners end up are a pretty sorry sports franchise, their 1995 ALDS victory proving to be “their World Series”. That year and the 2001 Record breaking year, fizzling in the playoffs, are the two seasons that will get any traction in Mariners fans’ imaginations — beyond stray games from Felix Hernandez and Ichiro Suzuki it is what can be held onto. I do not know if Ace or whoever the sports’ team could license it to, was selling a 2001 hit lite reel for small town high school teachers in rural Eastern Washington to foster onto their students. I do know there was a 1996 video which, given the team did not get into the playoffs, was just kind of sad. No teacher ever put it on to their classrooms.

Today I am following various major league baseball games — basically for the first time since 2018 — which, you can imagine, I faded away from through the summer. I just turned away from the Boston — Washington stream — the relief for the Nationals not holding onto a tie. So the Red Sox stay ahead, now tied with a Yankees team that just lost two to the Rays, now with the Mariners after last night’s loss hoping to stay one game back and tied with the Toronto Blue Jays.

Chaos follows suit in tie breaking scenarios.

It is a different set of rules since the mid 1990s — we have what might as well be a playing game as an official post season game, but that which does not feel like it, or — except for that “harbinger of seasons to come” hope, becomes kind of meaningless for the real goal — having a compelling damned video that rural Washington high school teachers will want to drop in to fill classes on days they are opting out of teaching. The dilemma is that the Mariners have no realistic shot of winning or making the damned World Series, so it is again incumbent on figuring some kind of season closing victory.

It dawned on me yesterday, if I am reading the tie breaking rules right, that the optimal effect would be a three way tie for that second playoff game with Boston and Toronto. This would set up that scenario where Boston opts for the one road game as opposed to the two necessary home victories the Mariners would have (holding a tiebreaker over Toronto.). Two home wins gives some ambiance for the announcer shout of “It just continues!”, before cutting out the hit lite reel and not really mentioning that they lost to the Cleveland Indians* in six… Or, in our case now, the Yankees in one. (Maybe they will win, but it is immaterial — the video would have the ” It just continues!” before no home crowd and a cut off of losing in five to the Devil Rays*.)

With that, I found myself quietly hoping for a Red Sox 2-1 series against the Nationals, a Mariners 2-1 against the Angels, and Toronto to sweep the Orioles. Which, I guess is almost still in order. The Yankees losing may complicate the picture. I do not think I want a four way tie — that seems to be setting up no home play game. I gather what I would be left with is hoping for a Red Sox win and Yankees loss.

* yes, I know. They changed their names. And so we will be able to gauge who are old fuddy duddys that refuse to keep up with changing times, and insist on maintaining tradition.

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