The drought is over! Mariners fans are ready for postseason baseball
Sep 30, 2022, 3:47 PM | Updated: Oct 1, 2022, 7:16 pm
(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
It’s an exciting time to be a baseball fan in Seattle after the Mariners clinched a playoff berth in thrilling fashion Friday night.
There was one topic of discussion amongst workers coming off their lunchbreaks in downtown Seattle on Friday — the Mariners breaking their playoff drought. They could not wait for the workday to be over so they could watch the game, whether on TV or in person at T-Mobile Park.
Longtime fans told KIRO Newsradio they have been waiting for this week for 21 years — ever since fall 2001, the last time the Mariners played October ball. The team’s four playoff trips from 1995 to 2001, anchored by Ken Griffey Jr., Randy Johnson, Edgar Martinez, and others, will live in Seattleites’ memories as the golden age of the Mariners.
But it appears another golden age is starting, spearheaded by AL Rookie of the Year favorite Julio Rodriguez, who signed a 12-year, $209 million extension last month. Fans said they could feel the energy in the city, and it’s this momentum they hope will push the Mariners through to the playoffs.
“I used to love when I was just all into it and excited about everything,” said Mike Ritchie from Covington. “It’s nice to feel that coming back. It’s been a little while.”
The 21-year drought was tough, but he never stopped being a fan.
“I started getting into the Mariners heavily, of course, in the Griffey Jr. days and all that was just fun … I think once Ichiro left, I kind of started falling off and their record wasn’t so great, but I always had them on my radar,” Ritchie said.
Before Friday night, the Mariners owned the longest active playoff drought in American professional sports, with 20-postseasonless seasons standing atop the NBA’s Sacramento Kings’ 16-year drought, the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres’ 11-year drought, and the NFL’s New York Jets’ 11-year drought. Now, with the streak over, it’s finally exciting to be a Mariners fan again.
Even those from out of state are getting in on the excitement.
“I’m from Oregon, but I pay attention to the Mariners,” said Kathy Hutchinson, who has rooted for the Mariners since 1977. “I grew up here watching them and I remember when they were a franchise team and just starting out.”
Hutchinson, who’s in town for a real estate conference, can tell how electric the city is right now. She said the Mariners are the hot topic among conference attendees, and some have even gone to games after the day’s seminars.
“I think it’s great,” she said. “I think the fans are great, there’s a lot of momentum and a lot of buzz.”
Many have been waiting for another crack at the playoffs since 2001, when the 116-win Mariners lost to the New York Yankees in five games.
“I remember 2001, I thought we should have won then,” one fan said. “I remember that series against the Yankees, so I’m still bitter about that 21 years later.”