The drought is over! Mariners fans are ready for playoff baseball
It’s an exciting weekend to be a baseball fan in Seattle after the Mariners clinched a playoff berth in thrilling fashion Friday night.
There was a talking point among workers coming off their lunch break in downtown Seattle on Friday — the Mariners breaking their playoff drought. They couldn’t wait until the workday was over so they could watch the game, whether on TV or in person at T-Mobile Park.
Longtime fans told KIRO Newsradio they’ve been waiting 21 years for this week – since the fall of 2001, the last time the Mariners played at the October Ball. The team‘s four playoff trips from 1995-2001, anchored by Ken Griffey Jr., Randy Johnson, Edgar Martinez and others, will be etched in Seattle residents’ memory as the Mariners’ heyday.
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But it looks like another golden age is beginning, led 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 that momentum that he hopes will push the Mariners all the way to the playoffs.
“I loved it when I was just into it and excited about everything,” Covington’s Mike Ritchie said. “It’s nice to feel that coming back. It’s been a while.
The 21-year drought was tough, but he never stopped being a fan.
“I started coming into the Mariners heavily, of course, in the Griffey Jr. days and it was all just fun…I think once Ichiro left, I sort of kind of started falling and their record wasn’t that good, but I always had it on my radar,” Ritchie said.
Heading into Friday night, the Mariners had the longest active playoff drought in American professional sports, with 20 postseason-free seasons atop the NBA’s Sacramento Kings 16-year drought, the NBA’s 11-year drought. Buffalo Sabers of the NHL and New York Jets of the NFL. ‘ 11-year drought. Now that the streak is 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 watch out for the Mariners,” said Kathy Hutchinson, who has supported the Mariners since 1977. “I grew up here watching them and remember when they were a franchise team and at their beginnings.”
Hutchinson, who is 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 even went 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 playoff shot since 2001, when the Mariners, who won 116, lost to the New York Yankees in five games.
“I remember 2001, I thought we should have won then,” said one fan. “I remember that series against the Yankees, so I’m still bitter about that 21 years later.”
You can listen to the Mariners all season long — playoffs included — on Seattle Sports 710 AM or SeattleSports.com.
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