As a Mariners fan, I'll be honest with you - one of life's few remaining pleasures is figuring out a new way, every day, of expressing just how miserable this whole team is. Just how unthinkably, unreasonably, improbably, absurdly, impossibly miserable. It's a challenge, but it's rewarding, in that the team has been miserable for so long that this has become an exercise in creativity.
I came across another I really liked just the other day. Unfortunately the Mariners kind of spoiled it for the time being while winning on Wednesday night thanks to a surprise quartet of dingers, but still, the 2010 Seattle Mariners stand a realistic chance of ending the season with more losses than home runs.
They currently stand at 93 and 96. Before Wednesday, it was 93 and 92. The next-smallest gap is Oakland, at 75 and 95. On the other end of the spectrum, you've got Toronto, at 75 and 233.
Now, I wouldn't consider this analysis. The Mariners were never built as a home run-hitting team, and so we'd expect their homer count to be lower. We'd expect them to be more vulnerable to this sort of achievement than, say, the Yankees, or the Diamondbacks. But at the same time, I think it's one of those things that, when you really think about it, highlights the bad. Underlines the awful.
All-time, it's not that big of a deal. The 1982 St. Louis Cardinals, for example, went 92-70 and won the World Series despite knocking just 67 balls out of the yard. It's when you consider the era that the meaning becomes apparent. The Mets came close a year ago, with 92 losses and 95 dingers, but then, they're in the National League. The Mariners have the DH. The last big league team to pull it off was the expansion 1993 Marlins, with 98 losses and 94 dingers. The last American League team to pull it off was...well there were three of them back in 1992, when the Royals had 90 and 75, the Red Sox had 89 and 84, and the Angels had 90 and 88.
And then nothing. Nothing, for 17 years. Until the 2010 Mariners, who threaten the mark, and who have been threatening the mark, really, all season long.
Fortunately, or unfortunately, Wednesday's outburst greatly reduced their odds. The team's second four-homer game of the season means they'll really have to press to make recent history. If anyone can do it, though, it's a team with guys like Ichiro, and Chone Figgins, and Josh Wilson, and a bunch of kids who are still getting their feet wet. The Mariners may not do it - the Mariners probably will not do it - but the fact that they even have a chance this close to the finish line is something else.
This is as weak a team as any I've ever watched. It's almost beautiful, in a way. Delicate. I want to press it between paper and put it in a book.