A genuine Mariner pride is welling up deep within. This weekend, our beloved Mariners cast aside the New York Metropolitans. It really wasn't even close. It was less a baseball series, more a stroll along the slew. Less Leo vs. Daniel Day-Lewis in Gangs of New York, more Bruce Willis vs. the asteroid in Armageddon. Yeah, I'd say we pretty much blew 'em in two and sent 'em hurtling into the remote reaches of space. [sidenote: I asked my wife for a good comparison. Her response: Austin Powers vs. Alotta Fagina. Not sure what that means].
There are so many things to be grateful for. The curse of Pedro is broken. A new era of youth has begun. And it's been at least 36 hours since Bret Boone has flailed away hopelessly at a fastball down the middle.
This afternoon's 11-5 drubbing concluded the M's first sweep in over two months, when they broomed aside the hapless Royals in the season's second week. Were it not for more floundering from the aimless Matt Thornton, Seattle's pride might have registered its first double-digit victory in...(not sure I want to research that one).
They've won five of the last six; 13 out of 20. Not bad for a team that took the better part of a third of the season to find its identity. But the surprising part isn't how long it took - it's what they found.
After nearly 3 years of trying to squeeze out every last morsel of that delicious run of the latter half of the 90's through early 2002, the Mariners have happened upon a fresh brand of Mojo. Meet the infield of he future (knock on something wooden, preferably the Light Bat). Beltre. Morse. Lopez. Sexson. Righty Row. The Diamond of Danger. A combined 7-for-16 in the game. A homerun and a double; 5 RBI's scattered about. It may have been game 66, but it seemed like game number one to me.
As for the rest, Ichiro, Raul, and outta-nowhere Rivera smacked three hits apiece. And Gil Meche built on some solid outings with a strong 5.1 innings. Thornton made the box score look messier than it should have been. If Gil continues to throw his curve for strikes, a great second half could be on the horizon.
But let's face it. This weekend is a celebration of youth. Morse and Lopez and Rivera and Reed. They have energy and spunk. They're hitting for contact and average. They're not striking out, overmatched by Major League stuff. The other night, Morse took the best fastball the Bigs has to offer and shot it right back at Billy Wagner himself. Today, they made the soft-tossing, crafty Glavine look tired - Reed went with a pitch low and away and poked it down the left field line for an RBI. Lopez took a pitch on the outer half and shot it up the middle for another. Rivera turned on a fastball for a double, again. This is fun baseball. There are rallies, and the kids are the cause.
A new era has begun. There's a new energy at Safeco. And I'll be there tomorrow night...
...for Game 2.