As of this time yesterday, my favorite baseball team — the only current MLB franchise that has never won a league pennant — had the longest postseason drought in the major North American pro sports. No more:
There was some optimism about the Mariners going into the year, but after losing 4-0 to the Angels on June 19, leaving them 10 games under .500, their playoff odds were 5.3%. One of the team’s top prospects (Jared Kalenic) is slashing 154/222/350 and spent most of the year in AAA, the 2020 rookie of the year (Kyle Lewis) slashed 143/226/304 and ditto with knee injuries having apparently destroyed his career, and a major trade acquisition (Jesse Winker) was barely above replacement level. But, led by Julio Rodriguez, the best position player prospect the Mariners have produced since A-Rod, they did it. And it’s fitting that Cal Raleigh — an apparently stalled prospect who broke out and put up 4.0 fWAR — delivered the clinching walk-off. With Mr. Mariner in the building!
It might only be 2 days of playoffs, and the chances the Mariners will end their pennant drout are pretty remote, but I’ll still enjoy it.