“So I’m ugly. So what? I never saw anyone hit with his face.”
– Yogi Berra
My favorite part of any day is bed time. Dreaming away the mundane routine of day to day life in this day in age is my idea of a good time. Don’t get me wrong I love living in the real world and all its challenges and new things to explore and learn, but when I am dreaming I can be whoever and whatever I want: Sometimes I am a cowboy on the open range, other times I find myself on a distant planet fighting alongside heroes of the galaxy to save the day. Usually though, the choice is to be a big league baseball player. My abilities are Hall of Fame worthy partly due to the team I am on and partly to my amazing ability to manipulate the dream almost like adjusting the sliders in a video game. Its not too hard to hit when you have Ted batting behind you and Jackie ahead already on base. Routinely I dream that I am on first base when Ted Williams comes to bat, he calmly watches the first pitch sail by before unleashing that swing upon the next pitch resulting into a moon shot that causes me to turn around and stare with my mouth open frozen as I check to see if my eyes still work. The ball is still in the air when I hear “God dammit kid run!” and realize that he is stuck at first waiting for me to move so he can round the bases. As I go to the dugout I am greeted by one of Yogi’s great quotes. I don’t want to wake up ever when I am in that dream, it’s the closest thing to heaven that I can imagine.
Every dream comes to me in stages. First, I go to sleep obviously because one really can’t dream with their eyes open. Second is the actual dream and the enjoyment of living a life that could not possibly happen in my reality. Finally, the realization comes that this fun is going to end and end soon. Possibly the alarm is blaring beckoning me back to the exciting rollercoaster world that is Accounts Payable. Maybe my kids are awake and trying to make themselves breakfast and as quiet as they claimed to have tried to be they somehow wake me up at 7 am on a Saturday. Whatever the distraction may be, it ropes me back into the crushing realization that this was all made up by my subconscious. I hold out hope that maybe the “real world” is a nightmare and “Dreamland” is real and that I have woken up in Bizzaro World where it is opposite day every day. The hope gets me through the day to make it back to my bed and begin the dreaming once again. Plus, dreaming is easier than training, so I hold out hope (now I do sound like a millennial).
For most teams this late in the season the alarm clock is now blaring loud enough to not be ignored anymore, its time to wake up to reality. Some will hit the snooze button in hopes that those last few minutes gained, will somehow make the transition to reality less irritable. But, like in real life, all it really does is delay the inevitable fact that it is time to wake up and stop dreaming. No matter how many times the snooze button is pressed it will eventually end, the real-world beckons so the best thing to do is arise and meet the challenges of the day head on. Dreamworld is representing the baseball universe here, I just use a couple cleverly chosen descriptors to make it relate better to the reader. So, in this scenario some teams have had the wake-up call and are already on their way to figure out what challenges will come in the day ahead, brainstorming what can change and what needs to be retained to achieve their goal of post season play next year. We kind of already knew who these teams would be at the beginning of the season and now that the front desk is calling with the scheduled wakeup call we are where we thought to be. But with the end of the season quickly approaching there are still a few snooze button believers out there that just need to wake up and get an early start on the next day (or season), time to rise and shine princess.
One of these team, and it pains me to say it, is the Seattle Mariners. Not even a month ago there was so much hope that maybe, just maybe this was the year that the dream would play out in the form of playoff birth and possibly a series title that would need protecting next year. How fast did this turn to a nightmare, realizing that the alarm would sound soon and nothing more could be done to delay the return to earth. The pitching disappeared at times when they needed it most, hot bats inexplicably quieted in the worst situations, and the management was unable (or unwilling) to make a needed change that may have salvaged the season. Sure, we can blame Robbie Cano for getting suspended but what is your response when I tell you they played better without him? King Felix was a shell of his former self, but how can you bail on a guy that carried your team through miserable season after miserable season in his prime, he was the reason to go to SafeCo field for many years when they just had nothing to promote. He should have been traded for a” king’s ransom” of prospects when they had the chance because now I doubt they would be able to get much more than the court jester for him at this point, and frankly he needed to be on a team that had genuine chances to make deep post season runs because he is that good. Injuries were also a major factor in the way the season played out this year, but in response to that, the Astros also had injuries to many of their key players throughout the season and look where they are. That’s what makes a good team a great team, they can weather out the storm knowing that reinforcements are on their way and if they can keep their heads above water they will come out of this in OK shape, that’s what you can do when you have some depth. Maybe it is time to look at the models laid down by the Cubs and Astros and tank for a bit (“Trust the Process”), get some good young controllable talent, and make their push when they realistically can compete. The question arises though of How long can you realistically ask the fan base to be patient while another rebuild is started? The writing on the wall is in bold black letters and it spells the words, “Next year”, a familiar phrase that seems to be the mantra of the Mariners and (coincidentally) my Fantasy Football team.
Awake and irritated is how I feel today, I want to go back to sleep so badly and start this dream over and do it right this time. Hell, maybe they can win the remaining games on their schedule and the teams ahead of them in the race will fade out– Schaa right and maybe monkeys will fly out of my butt. It seems like the snooze button has been pressed enough and it is just time to come back to earth. The only thing left to do now is choose a team that is still in the race and jump on that bandwagon, make room for one more. So, grab a cold beer to drown out the sorrows, pull up a chair to the party and pretend your team is still in it, I know I am. Play Ball.