BY Art Thiel 06:00AM 04/02/2021

Thiel: Mariners opener was walk on the wild side

The return of fans seemed to be the lone Seattle highlight. Then excitable rookie Taylor Trammell went stone cold to lead the biggest opening-game comeback in club history.

A walk-off walk forced in Evan White with the winning run Thursday in the Mariners’ first game in front of fans since 2019. / Alan Chitlik, Sportspress Northwest

In the hours prior to making his major league debut for the Mariners on opening night in center field, Taylor Trammell, 23, was all twisted up and turned out.

“I woke up a wreck,” he said. “Guys are talking to me saying, it’s just like any other game. But you know, the first day is what we dreamed about ever since you were a kid.”

During the club’s always superb pre-game video presentations for big events, Taylor admitted getting choked up at the memorial segment saluting the numerous MLB stars who died over the past year.

Then there were the fans. Real people, not cardboard replicas, eager to express how much the players had been missed over the previous 550 days.

“I was really emotional today, just because we got the fans back,” Trammell said.
“That was awesome for me.”

Amped beyond 11, Trammell figured to be no match the evening’s big moments. Instead, he owned them.

According to manager Scott Servais, the critical moment in the greatest opening night comeback in franchise history, an 8-7, 10-inning absurdity over San Francisco, was a walk by Trammell.

Get used to hearing this season about killer walks. It’s what these guys do best.

After trailing 5-0 and 6-1, the Mariners scored six runs in the eighth inning using two singles, a double, three walks, a hit batter and a mammoth throwing error by Giants first baseman Brandon Belt. The mistake thwarted an inning-ending double play and sent the tidy gathering of 8,174 — all masked up and scattered distantly in the seemingly cavernous T-ball Park — into spasms of delight.

One walk was a nine-pitch molar grinder that epitomized the Mariners’ mantra about controlling the strike zone.

“If the game could be summarized in one at-bat tonight, it was probably Taylor’s nine-pitch walk in the bottom of the eighth against really tough lefty (Jarlin Garcia),” Servais said. “He played off some good sliders ended up drawing a walk. It’s crazy how that one at-bat was really pivotal. And for a guy making his major league debut, he was about as cool as the other side of the pillow.”

Trammell did his cool-pillow thing again in the 10th.

After new closer Rafael Montero offered up a buzz-killing solo home run to SF pinch-hitter Alex Dickerson in the ninth to tie the game at seven, the Mariners in the 10th exploited the goofy runner-at-second-base-in-extra-innings stunt MLB started in the 2020 stump season.

With Evan White at second, Giants reliever Jose Alvarez walked three consecutive batters — Trammell, 2B Dylan Moore and LF Jake Fraley — to force in White with the most galling of baseball denouements, the walk-off walk.

Fraley was on base four times — three walks and hit by pitch. While Yankees slugger Aaron Judge may win games majestically, the Mariners to seek to win annoyingly. The W’s are marked with no style points.

“it was great to see,” Servais said of the nine walks after the Mariners led the Cactus League in free passes. “We had some awesome at-bats by some young players. It’s kind of what we’re about — control on the zone and dominate the strikes.”

The late effort bailed out an early failure by pitching ace Marco Gonzales, who gave up three homers, five hits and five earned runs in six innings. A guy who has been the rock in the organization’s agonizing step-back wasn’t close to his usual self,

“I’ll be lying if I said I didn’t have some extra emotions on opening day,” he said. “It doesn’t ever get old — one of the best days of the year. Certainly something I don’t take for granted. I felt did it take me out of my game a little bit, to do a little too much.

“Having having my family here, and having the fans here, was just something I’ve missed a lot. We’ve all missed it. We’ve talked about it throughout the day. It’s a very special day.”

He was no match for Giants starter Kevin Gausman, who allowed two hits and no runs in 6.2 innings.

By the seventh inning, it seemed as if a rousing version of Take Me Out to the Ballgame, among the most sincere ever sung, would be the most sustained emotion of the night.

Then Trammell lowered his heart rate to near zero in order to spike everyone else’s.

After his walk-off walk, Jake Fraley was the object of his teammates’ affection. / Alan Chitlik, Sportspress Northwest



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  • Alan Harrison

    That game reminded me of the UCLA basketball team this year. Can’t win, shouldn’t win, couldn’t possibly win, win anyway. The kids are all right.

    • art thiel

      Good analogy. Obviously only one game, but it did validate the progress seen in AZ.

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  • jafabian

    Not a game the club would win if this game was played last year though the save was blown. When they were down 6-1 I was thinking that this team needs to learn how to manufacture runs and they did exactly that. Awesome to see Moore slap the ball down into the RF corner. Ichiro had to be smiling.

    • art thiel

      Lots of guys came through, including Haniger’s sliding catch in the 10th. Great moment.

      • jafabian

        I don’t know if anyone else on the M’s makes that catch. Mitch is the seasoned vet among the OF’s.

  • Kevin Lynch

    The most galling thing, especially for Giants fans, is how badly Garcia and Alvarez missed on those key pitches, and how often. One wonders if Posey was calling for ‘high percentage’ pitches, or whatever that amounted to for each of the two pitchers. Maybe the stress just melted them down. Nonetheless, it’s inexcusable at the major league level to be completely incapable of throwing a strike.

    • Husky73

      It’s a 6 month, 162 game season. It happens.

      • art thiel

        I hope it doesn’t happen again when I’m working the game. I wish I could show you the column I had mostly finished when the score was 6-1, but the delete button is still smoking from overuse.

        • Husky73

          Long ago, my wayward father told me the one thing that made sense….never, never, never leave a ballgame early. I remembered that when the guys that I was with left Husky Stadium about three minutes before Warren Moon’s pass was deflected into Spider Gaines’ hands. I was there. They heard the roar from the parking lot.

          • Archangelo Spumoni

            Ouch in the Moon to Gaines game in the weather. If everybody who said they were there actually WERE THERE, the stadium would need maybe 500,000 seats.

      • Kevin Lynch

        It happens. And it can be the one happenstance that becomes the one game you didn’t win that kept you out of the playoffs. Hey man, it’s an ‘odd’ year…the mere thought of that can give a Giants fan the heebie-jeebies. 2013, 2015, 2017…2021?

    • art thiel

      Nine walks is a tad much, even for day one. Dunno the Mariners’ bullpen, much less the Giants’.

  • Husky73

    The Mariners are undefeated and in first place!

    • art thiel

      Nothing gets by you.

      • Husky73

        If the season ended today, they’d be in the playoffs!

        • jafabian

          Every time I hear the word “playoffs” I hear Jim Mora screeching it.

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    • kristofe868

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  • Mark Stratton

    MLB has made the cowardly and despicable decision to move the All Star game out of Atlanta due to a new voting law. Most of the criticism of the new law is demonstrably false, with Joe Biden getting 4 Pinnochios from the Washington Post for his lies on the matter, which echo Democrat talking points. The law in Georgia is still more lenient than those red state bastions in California, New York, and Biden’s home state of Delaware among others.

    I was in possession of tickets to four Mariners games including the White Sox on Monday Those tickets are in the garbage. I will not watch or attend any MLB games this year and hope that all honest people will consider the same actions.

    • art thiel

      I’ll bet you’d be happier if MLB actions targeted the big companies like Coke, the airlines, etc., who donate to those “honest” GA politicians that are so fond of Jim Crow. I know you want to do the right thing by drying up support to those directly responsible for dragging America back to the 1950s. So we agree.

      • 1coolguy

        Art – READ the new Georgia law – It actually EXPANDS the voting periods beyond not only what they were, but compared to, for instance, DELAWARES voting rules (your boy Biden’s state), is actually more lenient. SO stop the kowtowing to your Left, Dem, intolerant, uneducated Biden backers and DO SOME READING. God I’m tired of your ignorant posts when it comes to non-sports issues.
        If you DARE expand your knowledge on this subject, here is governor Kemp’s rebuttal – Turn off MSNBC, CNN and get with it. Being an uninformed LEFT parrot is not a badge of honor Art.

        • 2nd place is 1st loser

          You’re tired of ignorant, uneducated Biden backers. Yet, you’re still here. It’s oh so easy not to read such things. Hey, at least you toned down your call for killing Democrats. But you know you want to vomit that out again now don’t you?

          • Mark Stratton

            Grow up. Have you read the text of the Georgia law? It expands rights.

          • Husky73

            Stacey Abrams disagrees….vehemently.

          • Mark Stratton

            True. But she’s not exactly an objective observer. She’s also in hot water with the Black business community in Atlanta. It was her lies the imbecile in chief was reading from the teleprompter that encouraged MLB to fold, costing them and the city a lot of badly needed revenue

            She’s also the originator of voter fraud allegations in Georgia when she lost the race for governor two years ago. Still hasn’t conceded. Sort of a female black democrat version of Trump

          • Husky73

            I’ll note again that election fraud exists entirely in the minds of the GOP and defeated Republican candidates.

          • Mark Stratton

            Killing democrats? Where the hell did that come from? I’m a reasonable adult who disagrees I hope you get there some day

          • 2nd place is 1st loser

            So now you’re answering for someone else?

        • Archangelo Spumoni

          There are new vaccines out there, but none any good for this.

          First, the Delaware is a whatabout and is rhetorically less than worthless.

          cOOl has erroneously posted in the past and never returned to admit falsehoods. Ever. Let’s see what happens this time. Let’s see if somebody has the personal honor to admit intent to deceive–this after accusing someone else of ignorance.
          “Expanding” the voting period needs context, always missing from this poster’s effort. Some contextual facts outweigh the technically true statement.
          Their new law CREATES a voter ID requirement for absentee voting (instead of signature-matching like everything else); LIMITS the use of drop boxes for ballots; expands early voting but SHORTENS the deadline period for absentee ballot requests. Then there’s the food/water thing.

          I could respect somebody admitting the truth instead of this–just say out loud “Georgia went blue for Biden and they also lost both Senate races and we want to punish their voters and rig the thing in our favor again.” At least they would speak the truth.

          Let’s see if somebody has the manhood to admit anything here, especially “. . . God I’m tired of your ignorant posts when it comes to non-sports issues.”

          • Mark Stratton

            Georgia went blue for Biden because Stacy Abrams put together a killer ground game. Republicans were asleep at the wheel. Good for her. There were serious changes to Georgia voting laws, approved by the republican governor, due to COVID Are you seriously against requiring an id to cast a vote?

          • Archangelo Spumoni

            Mr. Stratton
            My first statements are all easily verifiable and stand as stated, especially in context of about 520,000 newly registered voters down there, a significant chunk of whom were minority.
            Your last statement/question requires a response. (” Are you seriously against requiring an id to cast a vote?”)
            My first election was in 1972 and I have never missed one since. I have also never missed an off year election. So in 48 years of elections and voting in 100% of them, I have never had to produce an I.D. to cast my vote. EVER. My signature was always affixed to paperwork either on my absentee ballot or at the polling station. So yes, I produced and I.D. when i registered.
            Last but not least point: I was also a volunteer voter registrar for maybe 15 years and checked I.D. of those I registered to vote. So yes . . . they produced an I.D. to vote.

          • Mark Stratton

            So what’s your point? ID should be required.

          • Archangelo Spumoni

            1. Go back to the beginning of the thread//topic.
            2. Look at the changes in the law especially with respect to absentee voting and especially this very law and the new voters.
            3. Keep in mind the existence of voters’ signatures all the way through this entire little scenario.
            4. I.D. is established at the beginning as I explainED.
            5. Don’t use phrases like “read the law” (elsewhere but still yours) without having read certain parts of posts . . . or laws.

            QED. Good evening.

          • Mark Stratton

            Georgia instituted huge changes in response to the pandemic. How does the new law compare to voting laws prior? I don’t profess to know, but 2020 was a one-time event. 520,000 new voters is nothing but good news, but the Georgia legislature decided the changes made for pandemic voting were too broad. The new law compares very favorably to voting laws in most other states. Claims of voter suppression are unwarranted, and I believe MLB caved unnecessarily.

            Lastly, I don’t like being lectured by someone who lacks the fortitude to post under their real name. Unless you’re really named after a minor deity and Italian ice cream.

          • Archangelo Spumoni

            “Clams of voter suppression are unwarranted.” False. With the equally spurious claim that more voting access now exists . . . this whole exercise reminds me of that famous “Arbeit Macht Frei” sign.
            The entire Georgia scenario in context is 100% opposite of the more access claim and some posters are either simply deluded or are stuck on the “intent to deceive” track.

            Finally, the screen name involves musician humor. Archangelo Spumoni is a composer referred to by the discoverer of PDQ Bach and is a subject in “What’s My Melodic Line?” Hysterically funny to musicians . . . the brainchild of Professor Peter Schickele of the University of Southern North Dakota at Hoople.

          • Mark Stratton

            Cool screen name. Didn’t mean to be snarky.

        • Neal Sartain

          How many times do I have to show my ID to vote in a country I am born in?

          • Mark Stratton

            Once. Is that too much? How many Times do you show your ID to get on an airplane? Assuming you’re old enough

        • Husky73

          Ask Stacey Abrams.

        • Husky73

          Election fraud exists entirely in the minds of the GOP and losing Republican candidates.

          • Mark Stratton

            Somebody forgot to tell Stacy

        • art thiel

          I came to my views about politics and race long before there were 24-hour news networks, or even ESPN. I know racism when I see it, especially with the latest turn of events in GA, and the four previous years under Trump.

          If you’re tired of my “ignorant posts,” use the phrase once more and I’ll take care of your burden of having to read them.

      • Mark Stratton

        Jim Crow? You’re as deranged as Joe. Read the law Art. You’re better than this inane response

    • 2nd place is 1st loser

      Well bully for you, that’ll show em who’s in charge. Since you won’t be watching or attending any games that you’ve already “paid” for. Lol the jokes on you. Guess you’ll be absent from this blog regarding baseball. Bye Felicia. You won’t be missed…..Honestly!!!

      • Mark Stratton

        I vote my conscience and don’t give a damn what dimwits like you think. MLB caved in to craven leftists. They need to know there are two sides

        • 2nd place is 1st loser

          The hate is strong in you.

          • Mark Stratton

            Just responding to your post, Yoda

  • Archangelo Spumoni

    Mr. Stratton and Mr. cOOl guy
    Let’s see if the two of you have the honor to respond to this post, which provides in detail how the changes are de facto limits on voting, specifically often aimed at you-know-what voters. What follows is after actually reading the bill, which I doubt several posters did but told the rest of us to read the bill:

    Page 38 cut by more than half the period during which voters may request an absentee ballot, from nearly six months
    Page 38 and 57 enact voter ID requirements not previously existing. Detailed instructions for documentation possibly/probably not possessed by voters. Later pages put restraints on mailing absentee ballot requests.
    Page 47 deals with drop boxes; specifically they will be inside government offices and therefore are not available after hours.
    Page 31 mobile voting centers effectively/essentially banned
    Page 59 and 60 early voting expanded in small counties (helps keep the straight face by Republicans when claiming expanded voting) but not so in larger ones. Early voting must be done during business hours.
    Page 73 offering food or water is now a misdemeanor (!!!) Last time live voters waited in 80 degree temps for 2+ hours.
    Page 74 going to the wrong polling place is far harder to correct now
    Page 72 election problems far harder to correct
    Page 65 actually delays vote counting (for some unknown reason)
    Page 18 refers to some weird conspiracy theory 3rd party involvement.
    Page 8 has an attorney-general voter hotline. Can (guaranteed) be used for anonymous complaints.
    Page 8 Republican controlled election board has authority over the state election board and lower offices.
    Page 11 The G.O.P.-led legislature is empowered to suspend county election officials.
    Page 87 has an ill-advised section on runoffs.

    You challenged us to read. I have done so. Now what’s the response?

    • Brent Hannon

      I appreciated the run-down, at any rate. chilling, but informative. but don’t hold your breath waiting for the law’s defenders to respond in any rational way.

      • Mark Stratton

        Time for you to go back to your safe space and hug it out. This ‘chilling’ summary might give you nightmares.

        • Brent Hannon

          I’m far more resilient than you seem to think. but as to your points, which I did read: why wouldn’t procedures and process that were instituted during the pandemic, which make it easier to vote, be made permanent? isn’t the general idea to have more people vote? the U.S. is far down the global list in percentage of people who vote. It seems to me, you would want to increase that number. what is there to lose? answer that question, and you will arrive at the truth.

          • Mark Stratton

            Though there were no indications of fraud, there were problems verifying signatures and counting votes in a timely manner. The changes instituted for the 2020 election were necessarily done in a hurry. The benefit was a lot of additional people voting and I hope that continues, but the process was messy and the legislature cleaned it up.

            Hatred of Trump drove a lot of the surge in voting and I wouldn’t be surprised if participation is down next cycle. Lack of interest not obstacles to participation. But I don’t believe any of these changes were done to suppress voting

    • Mark Stratton

      first of all, your comparisons are with the 2020 regs which were enacted as an emergency due to the pandemic. Some adjustments were necessary. I know you don’t think comparisons to to other states are relevant, but I disagree. So do congressional Dems, which is why they want to pass the Make Democrat Control Permanent Act, otherwise known as HR-1

      The feckless commissioner was so overwhelmed by his concern for Black voters that he screwed a bunch of them out of anticipated wages and profits, and moved the game to Denver which is less than 10% Black and has similar voting laws to those just passed in Georgia. I won’t list the page numbers but will answer in the order presented.

      Absentee ballots: Not sure why the window was moved to 11 weeks instead of 180 days. However most absentee voters have traditionally been those with disabilities or active military, and this change does not effect them. An online portal has been created to turn in ballots electronically.
      Voter ID: Do I need to lst all the things you need an ID for? This is a total red herring.
      Drop boxes did not exist before the 2020 election, and government buildings are not locked up at 5PM. There are less drop boxes but I don’t see how this provision effects minority voters disproportionately.
      Mobile voting: Buses were used once because of the pandemic. They were eliminated.
      Early voting is up to the individual county, and hours can go from 7 am to 7 pm. Sunday voting was added (two Sundays) as many Black voters go to the polls in conjunction with Sunday services. Oh, those awful republicans!
      Food and water: This is obvious. Poll workers can and will offer water to people standing in long lines. Otherwise we’ll get this: Hi I work for the Biden campaign and notice you’ve been in line for a while, Can I get you a sandwich and something to drink? Perrier or san Pellegrino? Whole wheat? Would you like that toasted?
      The point of the bill is to make it smoother to count votes and get timely results. I would suggest people go to the right polling place. Or is this a mistake only Black folks make? You seem to have a low opinion of the intelligence of Black folks.
      They want to get all the votes in by election day and count them all at once. Does away with one of the specious complaints from Trump
      The truncated runoff timing makes no sense.

      Bottom line: I doubt Manfred read the law before making his knee-jerk decision. He just caved into the loud and the woke. If Georgia is so terrible, I hope he rescinds his memebership at Augusta. Many states made last-minute changes to accomodate voting during the pandemic, and many of them (R and D) are adjusting the hastily made changes. The charges of Jim Crow and whatever are just way overblown.

      • Mark Stratton

        Sorry for the late reply. Not a lack of ‘honor’, I have a job and a life

      • Archangelo Spumoni

        Interesting efforts but losing just the same.
        Yours: “Or is this a mistake only Black folks make? You seem to have a low opinion of the intelligence of Black folks.” And “Hi I work for the Biden campaign and notice you’ve been in line . . . sandwich and something to drink? Perrier or san Pellegrino? Whole wheat? Would you like that toasted?” So I guess certain voters would be the ONLY ones susceptible to changing their vote because of San Pelligrino? A self-contradicting set of paragraphs.
        The part about “emergency due to the pandemic. Some adjustments were necessary. ” Why necessary? Because of 3 blue results, of course. Adjustments because they lost. Citizens voted.
        As mentioned repeatedly, providing I.D. happens when registering, and I never ever supplied I.D. when voting as my signature was compared to what was on file, precisely as is now with mailed ballots. Never missed an election and never showed I.D.
        That business about losing anticipated wages and profits to Denver is worthless and tiny in the big picture. One game; one event.
        And the biggest one–the state legislature retains their brand new right with respect to local election boards.

        I guess you deserve congratulations on the “Make Democrat (sic) Control Permanent Act, otherwise known as HR-1.” If we didn’t have restricted voting, weird perambulations from legislatures, and rampant gerrymandering, R elected officials would be more rare.

        • Mark Stratton

          There is nothing contradictory about the statements you cited. You could substitute any name for Biden, R or D. People who work for a candidate should not be allowed to influence voters as they stand in line, and election workers can and do supply water

          Losing the All-Star game is significant to the city of Atlanta, and we wouldn’t be having this debate if not for the cowardice of MLB. The governor claims to have consulted with major employers in the state(which he’s stated publicly with no denials from employers), including Delta and Coke, and they had no issue with the law. He had a meeting scheduled with MLB which Manfred blew off because Stacy Abrams convinced him to pull the game. Which she now obviously regrets. MLB’s compliance due to threats from Abrams pressured Delta and Coke to follow suit.

          Adjustments were necessary, as I said, because Georgia experienced troubles matching signatures and getting votes counted in a timely manner, due to hasty changes made to accommodate pandemic voting. That is a non-partisan fact.

          Your argument about voter ID is based solely on Washington law and your own personal experience. Not really relevant. You never address the fact that having and showing an ID is necessary to be able to do any number of things in normal daily life, regardless of race. Georgia law is different than Washington, that doesn’t make it racist or suppressive.

          The state legislature is in charge of state election laws, which is common. Yes it’s a new power the legislature granted itself, but I hope you’re not inferring that Democrats haven’t done the same in other states. The party in charge makes the rules.

          Your arguments suppose that Republicans are all slimey and Democrats never do anythings to enforce their majority. That is incredibly hypocritical or naive, not sure which. Maybe both