Being a Seattle Mariners fan over the past, say, 20 years has generally not been an enjoyable experience.
Major League Baseball’s longest playoff drought had stretched for seems like an eternity. Entire generations of young fans have been born and grown into adulthood without seeing the Mariners make the postseason.
But Friday night’s game against the Oakland Athletics showed why sports are so great and why fans stick with their teams even when they’re losing.
Because every once in a while, a moment comes along that makes all that suffering worth it.
Cal Raleigh Delivers For The Mariners
For the Mariners, that moment came in the bottom of the 9th inning of a game tied 1-1, needing just a run to clinch their first postseason birth since 2001.
Second-year catcher Cal Raleigh, who’s exploded onto the scene after a middling debut in 2021, pinch hit for Luis Torrens to face reliever Domingo Acevado.
After working the count to 3-2, Raleigh went after a low breaking ball and launched it to right field:
That is exactly why you watch sports.
It’s hard to imagine a more fun way to clinch your first postseason spot in over 20 years than a pinch-hit, walk-off home run on a 3-2 count at home.
While it can’t necessarily make up for all of those years of disappointment, those are the moments that keep fans coming back for more.
The Mariners have a few games remaining to sort out the seeding, as they jockey with the Blue Jays and Rays to see who will finish 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the Wild Card.
With two more games against the last place Athletics, followed by four against the dreadful Detroit Tigers, the Mariners will certainly have chances to get the first wild card spot and guarantee at least a few home games in Seattle.