I was more anxious about how and when I’d get to the game than the game itself. Normally, I leave the house about 1.5 hours before the gates open and get there in plenty of time. Today I had to wait for my wife to get home before I could leave so it would be later. Anyhow, left the house around 5:15, got through traffic to the light rail station, found a parking spot PTL, and was on the train around 5:45. I believe I was in the stadium around 6:30. I brought some cards but missed the autograph action, but was there for the first pitch at 6:40 and got some nice seats. 🙂
Since the M’s magic number was down to 1, either an Orioles loss to the Yankees or an M’s win over the A’s would clinch a playoff spot. It would be the first Mariners playoff appearance since 2001, and would and a 21 year postseason drought (the longest in major American professional sports). The O’s won, so I billed this M’s game as “The Game of the Century — So Far”.
The game was tight. Each pitcher gave up a home run in the early innings but neither offense got much going. Both the A’s Ken Waldichuk and the M’s Logan Gilbert were outstanding. Logan gifted us with a fantastic eight inning masterpiece — 8 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 SO. Just the guy to have up there in this pressure situation, cool as a cucumber. 🙂
It was 1-1 going into the ninth. Matt Brash took care of the top of the ninth. If we needed to go to extra innings, I felt pretty good about it since we have a strong bullpen, decent team speed, the runner starting on second, and the last at bat here at home. 🙂 Extra innings, it turned out, would not be necessary.
In the bottom of the 9th, with two outs and a 3-2 count, pinch hitter Cal Raleigh golfed a ball high into the night sky and down the right field line. Everything went into slow motion. The question was if it would stay fair. It did! I thought it hit the foul pole but it might have actually bounced off a window on The Hit It Here Cafe, not that it matters. Walk off home run!!! Pandemonium ensued as the M’s won 2-1 and clinched a wild card spot, ending the drought!!!
Everybody was going crazy, players and fans alike. Just making the playoffs was such a huge deal for Mariner fans that everyone celebrated like we won the World Series! I can’t describe it except to say it was (and still is) so joyful. I was cheering, yelling, jumping around, dancing, hugging, high-fiving many fellow fans in close proximity, etc. The M’s finally did it! They came so close so many times in the past 21 years but this group put it together and made it! The players celebrated big time! They did the type celebrations you usually see for winning a big playoff series on the field and in the clubhouse, and then came back out to celebrate with family and the fans. I’ve never seen them party like that, which makes sense cause we haven’t had that much to party about since 2001 lol. It was just so awesome! These photos hardly do it justice. Was probably there for a couple of hours after the game just enjoying it all. 🙂