So, you think last night's Mariners comeback win
over the Padres, 16-13, was pretty amazing, right?
Me too. I'd never seen a 14-run rally, and so many scores with two outs. From 12-2 in the fifth inning to winners.
But in my mind, it was more than amazing – it was payback for a painful loss suffered during Seattle's historic 116-win season.
You remember that 2001 team, right? Managed by fiery Sweet Lou Piniella. Stars like Edgar Martinez, Ichiro, Bret Boone, John Olerud, and stellar reliever Kazuhiro Sasaki.
Aug. 5, 2001, was a special day for me, being an acknowledged hydroplane fanatic. Popular local driver Nate Brown
won the Seafair race on Lake Washington aboard Miss Elam Plus
, and afterward I shot a photo of him with my kids inside the pits.
Driving home I turned on the radio. What ensued cast some gloom on the sunny day.
Our streaking Mariners, sporting an 80-30 record, were choking against the Cleveland Indians. After leaping ahead 14-2 in the fifth inning, Piniella yanked starters like Edgar, Ichiro, and Olerud, and pitchers John Halama and Norm Charlton began spilling runs like a burst dam.
But the M's still led by five in the ninth with two outs when Piniella called on usually reliable Jeff Nelson. He gave up two runs. Then ace closer Sasaki, he of 35 saves, took the mound ... and gave up three more. Game tied.
In the 11th inning, Jose Paniagua allowed a broken-bat single. Mariners lose, 15-14, after leading 12-2.
Yes, Seattle went on to tie the MLB season-win mark at 116 games. But that Cleveland loss was kind of an omen, considering our early exit from that year's playoffs.
So thank you, Mariners, for providing such splendid TV viewing last night.
And for splendid payback (of sorts).