I thought before the season it would be a race between Seattle and Oakland for the basement of the American League West, but the Mariners clinched with ease.
The basement is the Mariners comfort zone, their safe nest, from which they rarely leave. In fact this is the 13th time in 36 seasons they have finished at the bottom. That is 35% of their history in the dark, damp cellar.
If you think most of those years were in their early history you would be mistaken. From 1977 through 2003, they finished last only six times, but from 2004 through 2012, a stellar seven times, including the last three years.
They have taken a big step back since the glory years, such as they were. They finished first in 1995, 1997, 2000, and 2001. They lost the ALCS to Cleveland in 95 and to the Yankees in 2000 and 2001. They lost a divisional series to the Orioles in 97. Take away the Lou Pinella years and their history is one of misery, sailors without a good ship to sail, adrift in calm waters without a sail.
The Houston Astros will be coming to the AL West next season and they are more dreadful than the Mariners. At least this year. But next year who knows. Maybe the Astros will give the M’s a run for the money, someone to compete with, two mediocre teams going down to the last day of the season with a race to the basement at stake.
The Mariners have claimed they are committed to youth. The question is whether fans will continue to support the gate with their dollars. They are likely to finish with their worst attendance since the 1900”s. That is not a good sign.
On the plus side they have used only 34 position players this season and only 18 pitchers That is the fewest in both categories in 2003.