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Know Your Enemy: Seattle Mariners

Wasting your favorite players for decades

A bipedal moose, the symbol of a city!
| Steph Chambers/Getty Images

On this Bloomsday, it’s time to marinate in Mariners hate, as the Sox slump into Seattle licking their wounds like Bloom on the beach. There is nothing Joycean about this season, no epic of the single day, even though each game seems to spread out into a stream-of-consciousness flow of frustration, lingering and unspooling unto loss after loss after loss. As the man said, the soul of the White Sox is the cracked lookingglass of the servant.

But now we’re talking about Seattle, last year’s darling, and anecdotally, one of the three favorite “second teams” for White Sox fans. The other two seem to be the Brewers and the Mets. This is enough insight into Sox fans as you need.

The Sox are 248-217 all-time against the Mariners, although 0-3 in the playoffs. God, that series was the worst.

So How Are They Doing, Anyway?

Not great! They are a game worse than .500 and 8 1⁄2 games behind the Rangers. It doesn’t seem to be a fluke, either; they have an X-W/L of 34-33. They seem to be stubbornly middling, and the thrill of last year is fading fast, with the Rangers and even the surging Angels seeming like much more interesting teams.

All glory fades, and yesterday’s promise is never tomorrow’s sure and certain thing. But will they beat the Sox? Yes I said yes I said yes yes yes they will I said yes.

(OK, that’s enough Ulysses nonsense)

Are the Hitters Fearsome? Need I Worry About Dingers?

No. Not really, anyway. They actually have fewer homers than the White Sox, who, well:

The Mariners are just ahead of the White Sox in runs scored and OPS. Their pitching is better — they lead the league in quality starts, though what you make of that stat is up to you. They are near the top of the league in WHIP. If they could just score some damn runs, they’d be a lot better.

Obviously, Seattle plays in a better division, and are probably better overall, but right now there are a lot of similarities between the teams. I hope Mariners’ fans aren’t as bitter and broken as we are.

And the Pitching Matchups? What of Them?

Right now, pitching matchups barely seem to matter because the bullpen seems determined to hand victory to our enemies.

Friday, June 16
Sox: Michael Kopech (3-5, 4.03) is betrayed time and time again by his bullpen.

Mariners: Bryan Woo (0-1, 10.80) has given up 8 runs over 6 2⁄3 innings in his first career starts. He’ll go seven scoreless, book it.

Saturday, June 17
Sox: Lucas Giolito (5-4, 3.54) is betrayed time and time again by his bullpen.

Mariners: Logan Gilbert (4-4, 4.38) had a good start against San Diego sandwiched between getting beaten up by the Yankees and the Angels.

Sunday, June 18
Sox: Lance Lynn (4-6, 6.72) really can’t blame the bullpen.

Mariners: Bryce Miller (4-3, 4.06) is another guy in his first season. His record disguises a 0.92 WHIP, which is really good!

Why Do We Hate Seattle?

The last time I was in Seattle I went to the Museum of Pop Culture, where they had a big Nirvana exhibit. I can’t remember if it was permanent or I just lucked out to be there when the formative band from my youth, and my instinctual association with Seattle, was being honored. It was cool, but there was also the nagging and inevitable sense of packaging, of narrative-molding, of tidying up everything into a neat package, sawing the edges off what the band meant.

But then, that’s Seattle, isn’t it? They perfected the commodification of the freewheeling outdoor and hardy lifestyle and sold it at cost across the country. A genuinely beautiful area, with a long history of true iconoclasm, was bought on the cheap by early tech investors and hyper-capitalists who thought their beards could disguise their rapaciousness.

The story of modern Seattle is hedge funds seeing a bit of authenticity and snapping it up, packaging it, and turning it into profit. It is a reflection of today’s pervasive sense of the uncanny, that even the things you like were algorithmically crafted for you to like them. It’s Bloomsday, sure, but to think of today’s Seattle is to realize that Thomas Pynchon has been right all along.

Why Do We Hate the Mariners?

Man, we generally don’t. Remember those Griffey/Edge/A-Rod/Randy Johnson teams. They were awesome. It’s a shame they didn’t win. Oh, and they had Ichiro, of course. If you don’t love Ichiro I really don’t understand how you enjoy baseball. Too bad they never won. And oh man, Félix Hernández was such a joy to watch pitch. It’s frustrating that the Mariners could never build anything around that.

And that sums up the Mariners. We always want to like them and think that baseball would be better with a strong Seattle team, but they always manage to muck up generational talents. The Angels at least have only wasted incredible talent from one decade — the M’s manage to do it again and again.

Let’s Hear it From White Sox Fans!

Wasted Careers!

Because of 2000!

Other Teams!

Vague Antipathy!

Not Enjoying Seattle, Overall or in Parts!

Actually, I Like Seattle!

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