Mariners Fumble Away Fans To NFL Draft Weekend


This is the 40-Something Files! 

A weekly take on the state of Seattle Sports through the lens of a guy whose four decades of fandom has earned too many scars, and seen too few celebrations.

April 30th… That’s the night of Roger Goodell’s Gold plated prime time TV showcase, the awkward hug-fest we won’t be able to turn away from, also known as the 1st round of the 2015 NFL Draft. And the draft will continue for the entire weekend to follow.

Those that brave this weekly column on a regular basis, just might recall an entry from approximately one month ago. The article “Dear NFL: Give It A Rest Already! Sincerely, All Other Sports” warned of a very short window of time during which the M’s had to grab AND HOLD our attention. During that time, the team has played sub-.500 ball. Surprisingly, thanks to a general regression of the usual division leaders, the Mariners are clinging to second place in the AL West. However, even when they win, they squander opportunities to score runs, and therefore have severely under-shot everyone’s April expectations.

If the M’s, winners of three straight, coming off a sweep of rival Texas (ugly as that series was), could have handled their business with runners in scoring position vs. the Astros on Thursday night, they would have won. They would have put a dent in what was only a four game lead for their opponent – with three more games on the weekend series docket. They also would have kept our attention.

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It was April 30th, and by some miracle alignment of the sporting world’s planets – with the Seahawks on the sidelines for the first night of the all powerful NFL Draft, and with fans having tasted baseball hope for the first time since the Peoria days – there were still many eyes on Root Sports NW. Meanwhile the first round NFL draftees, like Danny Shelton, Reverse Heimlich Maneuvered Roger Goodell on nearly every other sports network.

Instead of seizing the opportunity to remain relevant into May, the M’s delivered their trademark 2015 output, dazzling us (and by dazzling I mean blowing our minds) with a new line-up, bizarre in-game management, amateur-hour situational hitting, and curious levels of desire, as they painfully blew another winnable game.

Their timing for an effort like this was even worse than their timing has been on the base paths.

Here’s why:

Dec 2, 2013; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll (left) and general manager John Schneider during the game against the New Orleans Saints at CenturyLink Field. The Seahawks defeated the Saints 34-7. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

1) The NFL Draft starts for real. The Seahawks have 11 picks between Friday and Sunday. That’s 11 more can’t miss moments for Seattle fans than the Mariners project over the same time period (With no bobblehead or weird hat giveaways allowed for away teams, and Felix Hernandez not on the mound again until Monday).

2) The NBA Playoffs. Intriguing new arena news reminds Seattle fans that hopes for a return of the NBA to our region are not-so-false after all. What better time to brush up on the exciting possibilities this league can provide a fired up city, than to tune into some intense playoff action?

3) The NHL Playoffs. (See #2 above, sub “HL” for “BA”)

4) Mayweather vs. Pacquiao. Even Nelson Cruz can’t provide these kinds of hits, this much power, this amount of punch… etc…

In spite of a less-than-inspiring start to the 2015 campaign, with the “Boomstick” barely keeping the ship upright, the Mariners still had one, huge chance to remain relevant in the hearts and minds of the relentlessly patient, “True to the Blue.”

But after Thursday night’s woeful kickoff to the four-game series at Houston, it no longer matters how well the Mariners play the rest of this weekend. Sorry, Howard Lincoln, Jack Z., and company… these M’s haven’t earned their spot on this weekend’s epic sports schedule.

April’s “window of time” for the 2015 M’s to cement their place in Seattle’s summer sports landscape has closed. And as these next few days will surely prove, the Seahawks, and even sporting events without direct ties to this city, can still render the Mariners meaningless.

Once the dust settles on the weekend, and things slowly return to normal, Monday better turn out to be one seriously Happy Felix Day.

If not, the window won’t just be closed on this year’s Mariners’ campaign, it’ll be shuttered, and the burglar alarm will be set to “AWAY” on the house.  Most fans won’t be returning anytime soon.

Next: James Paxton Has Turned It Around

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