You probably knew this, but the Mariners sucked for a while. It didn’t cause us to stop being fans, but it did cause us to become different fans, fans who adapted to the miserable circumstances. When a team loses over and over, it’s only natural for one to develop a defense system, and I think a lot of us survived with humor, much but not all of it dark. We also would’ve distanced ourselves, because, who can really be the textbook example of a die-hard when the team you’d die for reliably blows? The Mariners forced us to change our fan behavior, and along the way they conditioned us, they altered our psychology. Every fan group has different psychologies. We identified with our own.
And now there are the 2014 Mariners. I still don’t really know what to do with them, because this whole course is unfamiliar. It’s like we’ve been hiking uphill in the cold and the clouds and the rain, only now it looks like the clouds might break, like we might be able to achieve a clear and warm summit. This team feels like a gift, but it’s also challenging the identities we developed over the course of the previous decade. This is a good baseball team, unlike even the 2007 mirage. We’ve been trained to laugh at the bad. We’ve been trained to expect even worse. But we can’t laugh at what bad that there is, because it’s September and we still freakin care, and you can’t laugh at the bad during good. And as much as we know what we’ve expected in the past, this year feels different, as any winning year does.* If the Mariners are better, are…we…better? Just a few months ago, the Seattle Seahawks won the Super Bowl. They actually won so convincingly I think they won a few of them. What has that done to the city’s psychology? What’s going on with the city’s psychology?
So I want to see how people feel, today. I want to monitor the mental state of things, because I’m legitimately curious where people are finding themselves after so many years of getting let down. Is your brain allowing you to really buy in, or are you still too damaged? Does it take more than a single pennant race to heal? I want you to answer this honestly, and I’m not asking for what you want to happen.
It feels like this year’s Mariners are writing a completely different story. The story is also far from finished.
* I’m told