Dori: What makes Mariners so different heading into playoffs

Oct 6, 2022, 5:36 PM | Updated: 5:58 pm
The Seattle Mariners celebrate with teammates in the clubhouse after clinching a postseason birth after beating the Oakland Athletics 2-1 at T-Mobile Park on September 30, 2022 in Seattle, Washington. The Seattle Mariners have clinched a postseason appearance for the first time in 21 years, the longest playoff drought in North American professional sports. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Nothing galvanizes a community in joy like sports. Sports are the one thing that can bring us all together as one – and in our area, that is badly needed right now.

That’s why this weekend’s wild card playoff series is so important to Seattle Mariners fans.

It’s not just the end of a playoff drought like no other that makes the M’s so special – although breaking the team’s 21-year dry spell is an accomplishment all its own. In fact, “drought” doesn’t even begin to describe the wait Mariners’ fans have endured. It was the longest active wait in American sports history. Not just in baseball, but in the National Football League, the National Basketball Association, and the National Hockey League too.

What sets these Seattle Mariners apart from other playoff contenders who have experienced droughts boils down to respect.

That respect was evident one week ago when the team locked in its first wild card spot in more than two decades before a win-ravenous T-Mobile Park crowd of 47,000 fans – and countless more cheering at home.

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Instead of surging into the post-game locker room to spray champagne while hooting and hollering, the players took 90 seconds to gather around manager Scott Servais.

“Everybody in this (locker) room,” Servais told his crew, “every player, staff member, trainer, coach – everybody has had a hand in this along the way. We are just getting started. I can’t be more proud of this group.”

The collective respect this team displayed before eventually popping the corks impressed me deeply. It’s a group of players who – once people get to know them better – will continue to be a team to support. This was special – very, very rare – that instead of screaming like maniacs – they took a reflective moment first to just be brothers.

That’s Seattle Mariners baseball right there.

First pitch on Friday is at 1:07 p.m. in Toronto. On Saturday, the best two-out-of-three series continues at 1:07 p.m. again on the Blue Jay’s home field. If a Sunday game is needed, that will be at 11:07 a.m.

Listen to Dori Monson weekday afternoons from noon – 3 p.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Dori: What makes Mariners so different heading into playoffs