Sporting musing

Watching a handful of innings of a handful of games from the Seattle Mariners, I represent a fair weather fan of sorts in that I quietly turn away with the recent horrible road trip — a road trip that invariably happens but if the team is any good — good enough for their first playoff appearance since 2001 — needs to land as the low point of the season and not qualify as one of multiple low points.

I see that they recently had a promotion — a bunch of fans paraded on the field dressed as the 1995 Mariners. The Mariners history is depressing enough that the fan base hangs onto the two magical years — 1995 and 2001 the distant second — neither of which have a World Series in them.

The great thing about being a northwest sports fan of a not serious stripe — and key in on the late 1990s as when such comes to fruition — is that as one sports’ Seattle representative inevitably dies in bitter frustration, you can just skip to the other sport. So, it does not much matter that the Sonics die in the second round of the playoffs, the Mariners are marginally competitive until the offensive show power gets overwhelmed by a pathetic bullpen. But then the Seahawks pick up … and are marginally competitive. That season dies with a bunch of weird wins and weird losses and a pathetic special teams, by which time — Hey! How ’bout them Sonics again?

By any accounts, your casual Seahawks fans will now disappear — largely already have anyways — and the league itself has decreed it so — there is a Monday Night football matchup against the Wilson lead Broncos to open their season, after which the team disappears from any national spotlight. So the team is relevant for one week. But there is fun in this. Run through YouTube for Seahawks games and — there are a lot there. Obviously the NFL itself posts a pile of “relevant” games of the last two decades — though notably the games of the oughts tend to be there as fodder for the history of other franchises — Tony Romo botches a playoff game winning field goal snap. But beyond that, the 1983 victory against the Miami Dolphins is interesting — notable as the biggest victory for the Seahawks until 2005. After that, well — there is a 1988 final week essentially “AFC west title game” win against the Raiders which serves as the biggest win for the Seahawks until 1999. You can kind of shadow this in terms of the Seahawks right now — maybe brace yourselves for a sorry decade? Or, maybe not. Who knows, and ultimately — do you really care?

But things do get kind of amusing there. The game oft cited as the “Worst Game in Monday Night football history”, but a high point in the career of quarterback Stan Gelbaugh as he leads a comeback against a Broncos team not lead by Elway. The problem is that it does not get counted in the ” win column” for career wins for poor Gelbaugh, as he came off the bench to relieve Stouffer. But I suppose all works out well because when the man did come around to get a starting win it was in a game won by someone else — the great Gino Torretta in the last game of the 1996 season, the greatest game of his pro career. So, balance is restored for Gelbaugh and he gets cited for a win he deserved credit for elsewhere, even though justice slopes off for Torretta — never granted a victory.

An entertaining game — of a sort. The announcers introduce the game as a “Carbon Monoxide game”. The two quarterbacks starting — one has a career record of 0 – 11, the other 0 – 4. The Seahawks’ QB gets benched off of injury — and instead of turning to a Rick Mirer the team is aiming to ship off as quickly as they can they throw it to their fourth QB on the depth chart — Gino Torretta. The Raiders bench their QB and go down to their next guy seemingly just for the hell of it. Round about the third quarter the commenters remark that the game has the feel to it of a preseason game. And they spend a decent amount of time talking about other games not happening here — the Jaguars make the playoffs off of a Morton Anderson missed field goal! (and, yes, someone has that game on youtube) — and are bored by whatever the heck this is on the field. The question becomes, though — does Gino Torretta pull this game out with great frequency — watching for his one go-ahead and eventual game winning touchdown pass to Joey Galloway — as … I guess ” his personal Superbowl”? (Though, not counted in the record books as a career win).

I suppose theoretically there would be opportunities for this kind of game with a good team — had sealed off a definite playoff berch and nothing else to play for — but it never quite happened in this last decade.

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