Salk’s World Series Guide for disappointed Mariners fans

Oct 28, 2022, 3:15 PM

world series...

General view of the field prior to Game 1 of the 2022 World Series between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on Friday, October 28, 2022 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Mary DeCicco/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

(Photo by Mary DeCicco/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

For Mariners fans, the baseball season ended after the eighth-longest game in history — a grueling, 18-inning 1-0 loss to the Houston Astros in Game 3 of the ALDS.

But the show must go on, and plenty of Seattleites will tune in to Game 1 of the World Series tonight, despite their beloved M’s absent from the stage.

“It’s kind of an interesting World Series. It’s not the one that everyone thought we would get, right?” said Mike Salk, host of Seattle Sports’ Brock & Salk Show, on Seattle’s Morning News. “I mean, the National League especially. The Dodgers just dominated this year, and then the Padres took them out. And then the Phillies took out the Padres. The Phillies were the last team in, they were the extra wildcard team. A year ago, they wouldn’t have even made the postseason.”

Wildcard teams continue to find unparalleled success in October, with 10 wildcard teams making the Championship Series in either league over the last 10 years. The Phillies became the third wildcard team to make the World Series in that timeframe, alongside the San Francisco Giants in 2014 and the Washington Nationals in 2019. The Giants and Nationals both eventually won the World Series.

The only thing stopping the Phillies from repeating wildcard history? The Houston Astros.

“They’re so good. I don’t know what hole there is on this team,” Salk said. “One through nine, their lineup is incredible. They hit for average, they hit for power, they get on base. Their pitching staff is unbelievable, one through 13. Just nobody wants to root for the Astros.”

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In Nov. 2019, The Athletic published an article on Houston’s history of cheating with on-the-record quotes from former members of the organization, with details supporting the argument that the franchise was cheating all the way back in 2016.

Starting in 2017, the Houston Astros made six straight ALCS appearances in a run that encompassed four World Series appearances (including this season) and a 2017 title.

In Jan. 2020, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred released the results of the league’s investigation into Houston’s conduct from 2017 through 2019, finding the team used illegal sign-stealing methods throughout the 2018 campaign.

In addition to Houston’s half-decade-long stretch of scandals, the franchise has operated as the Mariners’ “big brother” within their shared division. The Mariners went just 7-15 against the Astros this year, including playoffs, the third-worst record Seattle had against an opposing team this season, minimum six games played.

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“I hate them because they’re in the division and you’re supposed to hate every team in your division. I think that’s just being a sports fan,” Salk said.

But, Salk went on to argue the disdain for the division-rival Astros is only temporary, but the disdain for the New York Yankees is forever.

“Look, the Astros are a little eight-year uprising,” Salk said. “The Yankees is 120 years of being the worst thing in the world. So to me, it was an easy choice. But the Astros are pretty hateable.”

“My position is, if the Astros win the World Series, that means the only team that could beat the Mariners was a World Series-grade team,” replied Dave Ross, host of Seattle’s Morning News.

After the Astros dismantled the Yankees in a four-game sweep, there were plenty of murmurs about Houston’s true adversary on the diamond.

“Lance McCullers, who pitched the 18-inning game and who’s had the Mariners’ number forever, actually said after the Yankees series, the Mariners were the one team that if it wasn’t them, we were the only ones that could have beaten them,” Salk said. “So he sort of, without saying it, said the Mariners are better than the Yankees. That they were the second-best team out there this year.”

ESPN has listed Houston with a 61.5% chance of winning the World Series over Philadelphia. If the Phillies were to overcome the Astros, it would be tied for the second-biggest World Series upset since 2000. The 2003 Miami Marlins had the same odds as this year’s Philadelphia team, while the 2019 Washington Nationals had slightly worse odds, according to Vegas odds.

“If they beat the Astros in the World Series, it would probably sap the Astros confidence for years to come and they would just come crawling back in the next season,” Ross said.

“Let’s hope, I mean unfortunately that’s not what happened last year when the Braves beat the Astros, because nobody thought the Braves were going to be able to do that,” Salk replied. “So last time, unfortunately, that didn’t destroy their will to live either, so I don’t know what’s going to do that. Turns out you’re just going to have to go out and get some better players and the Mariners are going to be in play for some pretty good players this offseason.”

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The Houston Astros host the Philadelphia Phillies today at 5 p.m. for Game 1 of the World Series.

Listen to Seattle’s Morning News with Dave Ross and Colleen O’Brien weekday mornings from 5 – 9 a.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Salk’s World Series Guide for disappointed Mariners fans