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Long game ended too soon

It was quite the season that the Seattle Mariners had. It helps that there are more Wild Card teams otherwise the M's may have had to wait another year to make the playoffs. I know that there are a fair amount of purists out there that think only the division winners should make the playoffs. I remember when there were only the teams from the American League and National League and they played each other all season long and the team with the best record would go to the World Series. If there was a tie for the top spot then they would play against each other to break the tie.

I would say that if no Wild Card team is ever competitive enough during the playoffs then maybe having more teams would be stupid. But last year Atlanta won the World Series as a Wild Card team and this year they outlasted the New York Mets to become the NL East Division champs. Unfortunately for them they were eliminated by a Wild Card team Philadelphia, this year. The Los Angeles Dodgers had the very best record in all of baseball and were the odds on favorite to win it all until the San Diego Padres stomped on their dreams. The Dodgers dominated the Padres during the season but when it matters most the LA boys will have to take an early vacation and watch from a sports bar nearby or from their luxurious Man Caves because the season doesn't mean much to them right now.

Getting back to the Mariners, what is more disappointing getting eliminated by the New York Yankees in 2001 after winning 116 games, or losing to Houston in 18 innings on Oct. 15? Most people are going to be upset with the latest loss of course. But we have to be happy with the first round of the playoffs versus the Toronto Blue Jays. The M's dominated game one winning 4-0 and keeping the hard hitting Toronto nine off the bases.

In game two the Blue Jays looked like they were going to turn the tide on the series and took a big lead until the Mariners rallied for a 9-8 win and left the Toronto fans stunned. Toronto was also a part of the turning point for the Mariners season as Seattle swept Toronto in four games prior to the All-Star game. So it was a memorable season for Seattle.

There are a lot of things that we can take away from the 2022 season and it would seem that the nucleus of this team will be back and hungry for more. They have seen the Astros success over the years but may have played them tougher this year than they have the past five.

Manager Scott Servais has done a really good job with keeping the team playing competitively even with as many injuries as the M's had this season. General Manager Jerry Dipoto has made a bunch of trades over the years but it seems that the positions are being filled with athletes that are competitive and enjoy playing in Seattle. Keeping the key players together for a couple of years is important and hopefully they will want to stay and bring a World Series title to the Emerald City. It is not that far-fetched. No one foresaw the 116 game season before it happened. The whole northwest was buzzing with the Mariner success. And they were again this summer.

Last Saturday night's game was epic. How could any team keep the Houston Astros from scoring for 17 innings? But somehow young George Kirby and the Mariner bullpen were putting zeroes on the board. But so were the Houston pitchers. With a two games to none lead in the series Manager Dusty Baker was able to keep his reliever Luis Garcia in the game for the last five innings and he would pick up the victory after giving up only two hits in that span. Houston used 8 pitchers and the Mariners used 10.

Houston and Seattle played two full games Saturday afternoon and evening. It was a classic that ended too soon for Seattle. They just couldn't come up with a rally to keep them playing on. Both teams should be commended for keeping baseball fans excited for any kind of score.

Congratulations Seattle Mariners for a great season that had northwest baseball fans cheering for your success. We'll be better prepared next year!

- Dale Anderson is a sports columnist from Ritzville. E-mail him at

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