BY FRANK WORKMAN
In less than three weeks, the Seahawks will play their first regular-season game in defense of their Super Bowl championship.
The attention of many Puget Sound sports fans will turn toward the Hawks and away from the Mariners, who are now in the mix for the second wild-card playoff position.
Only those die-hard fans will continue to monitor the M’s on a daily basis. That’s unfortunate.
Here’s why: Two months from now, in mid-October, the Seattle Mariners will be playing in a best-of-seven playoff series to determine who will represent the American League in this year’s World Series.
Some will ask themselves: “How did it happen.” A better question will be: “How could it NOT happen?” given how well the team played in the months of August and September.
It won’t be because the M’s went on a team-wide red-hot streak with their bats.
We will look back and realize that the offense came alive, if only a little bit. Not in an unreasonable fashion (the kind where .220 hitters start knocking the cover off the ball for weeks on end), but in a more subtle manner. With simply a key hit here or there that drives in a run or two, the sort of hit that makes all the difference in a well-pitched, low-scoring ballgame.
The team’s turnaround will be attributed to that age-old winning baseball formula of great pitching (which has been off-the-charts exceptional all season), timely hitting (finally … FINALLY), and having a different hero emerge every day.
We will look back in mid-October at how this team started winning one-run games down the stretch, after posting a 14-21 mark in them through the first week of August.
We will be reminded of the beauty of baseball, with its daily (not weekly) drama, where the outcome of each game (and a season) can ride on a single pitch.
And we will be left with memories to warm us through our long dreary winter, and with hope for the new spring to follow.
Frank Workman is longtime fan of Seattle sport who lives in Lake Forest Park.
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