About Last Night: The long ball giveth, taketh, giveth again

[Ed. note: Please welcome Nick Tucker (@nicktuck3 on Twitter) to the LL staff! Nick will be helping us capture Mariners moments in the About Last Night series—he got a pretty good one to start with, eh? Nick is a lifelong fan and former contributor at Diamond Digest.-]

The “massive hit” is without doubt one of the issues that each fan is ready for after they activate a sport. The anticipation of the large hit is a powder keg, whose eventual blast radius will get bigger as the sport will get longer, and because the calendar approaches October. The massive hit can come at any time. If you win a sport 1-0, and your solely run of the sport was a solo homer within the third, then you definitely bought your massive hit out of the way in which early with out even realizing it. The massive hit could be hit by anybody. The Mariners, simply this yr, have had loads of unlikely heroes on the dish: Luis Torrens, Sam Haggerty, Carlos Santana, Abraham Toro, Sam Haggerty again, and so forth. Typically talking, there is just one massive hit per group, per sport. The massive hit is valued for its exclusivity in that regard. There are massive hits, after which there’s the massive hit For instance, Adam Frazier’s bases-clearing triple within the fourth inning was an enormous hit, however not the massive hit

All this to recommend that the large hit is a product of circumstance. The earlier massive hit normally provides option to the following, constructing off its predecessor to label itself a lower above that which got here earlier than. The elements can differ relying on who you ask, however normally there’s little debate on what the large hit of a sport is. It’s common. When we see it, we all know it, and we collectively latch onto the enjoyment of it and gleefully experience it into the following sport to start out the cycle over again, perpetually unhappy with only one. We baseball followers are a grasping bunch.

So what occurs when two groups, each in the course of tight playoff races, get the large hit a number of instances within the ninth inning of a late season rubber match of a weekend collection?

Pandemonium.

Entering the ninth inning with a 6-2 lead, Diego Castillo did not must be excellent to safe a Mariners win. The Braves, seemingly conscious of this, did completely nothing to assist Diego as he issued two straight walks earlier than the Braves bought the large hit.

Michael Harris’ second homerun of the day was a two-out, three-run rocket off the entrance of the Café that pulled the Braves inside one. Mariners lead nonetheless intact, however positively the massive hit for the Braves to that time.

Castillo’s day unceremoniously carried out, the chad Scott Servais mentioned “it’s time for Sewald to pitch,” and so it was. However, two batters later, the existential dread that had been constructing in Mariners followers all through the period of the inning struck, and struck onerous.

The massive hit of the sport. With two outs within the ninth inning, Robbie Grossman blew aside the Mariners lead, and confirmed all our existential fears to be true. A terrific begin from Marco Gonzales successfully erased. A leadoff bomb from Julio now only a distant reminiscence. All these years of watching higher groups than the Mariners questioning “why cannot that be us?” has rudely reinserted itself into the entrance of our brains. We all watched dejectedly because the inning from hell lastly ended, realizing a one run deficit, dealing with one of many league’s premier closers, might as effectively be one million.

With one out within the backside of the ninth, Julio hit a 1-1 pitch so onerous that his bat briefly grew to become a defibrillator, granting that fortunate baseball the chance to be the primary of its form to expertise the enjoyment of sentient existence for all of three seconds earlier than it bashed into the hand operated scoreboard so onerous that its gentle was immediately extinguished. Truly the work of a god-like being by Julio.

The massive hit of the sport. Simply all in a day’s work when you had been to ask Julio himself.

For us followers, we see this group in our personal private entirety. Depending on how long you have watched for, the unlucky reality is that the majority of us have solely seen this group in a single type or one other on the fallacious finish of the query “why cannot that be us?” Watching different groups rejoice their achievements and get their massive hit is gratifying in some small method, however there isn’t any reward in it for you. Maybe at the back of your thoughts, you had been joyful for these males within the unfriendly uniforms that they had been capable of climb their mountain, however you continue to want that it did not need to be at your expense, and the expense of your Mariners. You at all times hoped sometime, possibly quickly, a Mariners group may make you ask the query “why cannot that be us?” since you genuinely thought together with your coronary heart of hearts, “that may very well be us. It ought to be us!”

Eugenio thought so too.

I feel even Dave Sims did not fairly consider what he was seeing at first. There’s a second of hesitation after the ball goes flying off Geno’s bat earlier than Dave collects himself to ship the decision, anxious at first as Acuña tracks the ball to the wall. But with out Inspector Gadget round, he cannot convey this one again. The ball is within the Mariners bullpen. Geno pulls out his binoculars to search for it. Around him, 45,000 followers who all rose to their ft watching, ready, have exploded. The dread is gone. That previous acquainted feeling is a forgotten relic and is relegated again to its bygone period. It has no place in our minds anymore. “Why cannot that be us? Pish posh. That is us.”

The dugout has emptied. Jubilant Mariners are crowding round residence plate able to embrace a hero. The man who delivered the massive hit has an enormous hug on deck. He earned it, however not as a result of he delivered a shocking walk-off, however as a result of he did what he knew he was able to, and what they knew he was able to.

We’ve all seen this group’s magic this yr, and whereas this may occasionally have been essentially the most shocking win but, possibly it should not have. After all, why cannot that be us?

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