A Seattle franchise did not lose to the Brooklyn Atlantics in what passed for the original World Series, possibly because in 1857 there barely even was a Seattle.
One might have imagined, though, that during the next century and a half a contingent from the Queen/Jet/Emerald City might have joined the dozens of other clubs that have made it to the Fall Classic. Alas, the Seattle Mariners, birthed in 1977, remain (with Texas and Washington) one of just three big-league teams among the 30 now in existence never to have had a candidate for Mr. October.
What this means, of course, is that those of us from this region must make contingency plans this time of year. With the first World Series pitch (or snowball) to be thrown later today, it gets down to this: Nestle up to the perennially unlovable New York Yankees, with the highest payroll since Enron; or phind phondness phor Philadelphia'ês Phillies.
One way to decide might be to see which ex-M'ês grace the rosters of the American and National League pennant-winners. That'ês pretty easy. The only onetime M with the Yankees is Alex Rodriguez, despised in and around Seattle through two incarnations. He was hated in 2001 when he became 'êPay-Rod,'ê departing for Texas and a $252 contract. He was loathed when he was re-nicknamed "A-Roid" after he revealed last February that, contrary to what he once told Katie Couric on 60 Minutes, he indeed used performance-enhancing drugs, between 2001 and 2003.
As for the Phillies, now that Jamie Moyer won'êt be pitching Seattle partisans have just a pair of former Mariner names to ponder on the Philadelphia roster. Best known is Raul Ibanez, who would contradict Leo Durocher if the Phillies won because it would indicate that nice guys actually can finish first. Ibanez had something approaching a career year in his debut in Philly, making the All-Star Team for the first time.
But the better reason to pull for Philadelphia might be Greg Dobbs. The third-baseman never really got much playing time during his three seasons in Seattle and his performance for the Phillies since arriving in 'ê07 has been unspectacular. In short, then, Dobbs has precisely the anonymity quotient of a guy you want coming to the plate with two out in the top of the ninth at Yankee Stadium sometime in late November after snow along the East Coast has delayed the seventh game of the series. The Phillies are down 3-0 but the bases are loaded for pinch-hitter Dobbs, the last guy left on the bench. On a 3-2 pitch he puts one over the center-field fence and the Phils are up 4-3.
In the bottom of the ninth the Yankees load the bases with two out. Rodriguez comes to the plate. He swings, he misses. He swings again, he misses again. Three times pitches come in near the strike zone; three times the ump calls them balls. Phillies manager Charlie Manuel throws a snit-fit and gets tossed from the game.
On the next pitch Rodriguez sends one 480 feet down the left-field foul line. Yankee fans who have paid thousands of dollars to sit in the 'êcheap seats'ê of the billion-dollar ballpark go wild under 25-degree skies but the third-base umpire rules the ball foul. Yankee field boss Joe Girardi throws a spit-fit and gets tossed. New York fans litter the field with wrappers from their $22 hotdogs and the plastic cups that came with their $37 beers.
Half an hour later order is restored enough for the Philadelphia pitcher to deliver. Rodriguez is looking fastball. Instead the reliever lobs a high-loft eephus pitch. It floats in so slowly that Pay-Rod, er, A-Roid, ahem, Rodriquez whiffs at it not once but thrice.
Game over. Greg Dobbs not only is the World Series hero but Pennsylvania Democrats urge him to challenge Arlen Specter in next year'ês U.S. Senate race.
In the aftermath, all that'ês left is to issue Rodriguez another nickname: K-Rod.
And after all this happens, finally it can be said that the Seattle Mariners (albeit former Seattle Mariners) not only have played in but have both won and lost a World Series.