Congrats Mariners… I guess

What the Mariners drought ending run means to a non-Mariners fan 

ERICK AGUILAR, Evergreen reporter

In the spirit of competition, good for the Mariners. They finally ended their long postseason drought and made the playoffs for the first time in 21 years. 

I must admit. I am not a Mariners fan, I know I know, my apologies. Do I live in Washington? Well sure, but I am from San Diego, born and raised. Therefore, Go Padres!

No, I am not a Mariners fan, but as most of my friends are Washingtonians, they are Mariners fans and they are all absolutely thrilled. I feel their joy, there is nothing better than seeing your hometown team succeed after being loyal for so long. Through all the highs and lows, year after year, no matter what, that is the beautiful inclusivity behind sports fanbases. 

I mean, the Padres certainly have not been known as a dynasty franchise by any means, sure we have certainly been on the “up” for the last few seasons, but the term “friar faithful” certainly carries more weight around the city, now more than ever. 

I am writing this column on Sunday and as of today, the Padres have also clinched a playoff berth as the Milwaukee Brewers lost to the Miami Marlins. 

I will tell you right now, as some one from San Diego, there has never been more support for the Padres than in the last few years. Everyone is going down to Petco Park for games and everyone seems to have brown and yellow snapbacks all of a sudden. We love to see it. 

I see the same level of support here on the WSU campus, tons of Ichiro jerseys around, tons of trident hats. Even here on the Palouse, far from Seattle, the fanbase is alive and well. I commend them for their loyalty as I also find myself in similar shoes.

Growing up, the Padres had few fans and the team was nothing to bend your back over for. It was the type of thing where if the game was on at the bar, sure people would watch, but nobody saw it necessary to try to go out of their way to support the team as they do now. 

Over the last two decades, the San Diego that I grew up in has had only two sports teams: the Chargers and the Padres. Sure the Chargers were a great team to watch in the early 2000s, the teams with Rodney Harrison, Antonio Gates, Junior Seau, Philip Rivers, LaDainian Tomlinson and a few others. Sure those teams were great and they went to the playoffs several times, but they never went further than the AFC Championship and they only reached that point once, in 2007. 

In case you didn’t know, the word “Chargers” now has bittersweet connotations in San Diego, after the team left for Los Angeles in 2017. Most San Diegans are a tad salty and few remained “loyal to the bolt.” So after 2017, that only left the Padres in San Diego. 

Realizing that they needed to embrace what was theirs, support for the Padres increased a notable amount after the Chargers left. I see the same thing with Seattleites and for that matter, all Washingtonians. 

The SuperSonics left and the Seahawks are not what they used to be. And yes, people are excited about the Kraken, but their start hasn’t exactly been eye-catching, so people rally around the Mariners. And boy, it feels good for fans to see the team do well, there is hope. There is hope for the PNW that a sports team might be good once again. 

So now that I see it all laid out in front of me, I am glad the Mariners are finally going to the playoffs. As a sports fan, it is a good story. And now that I live in Washington, I find myself rooting for the local team to succeed more than before. I will never root for the Mariners over my Padres, but I do like to see the team do well. 

I like upsets, I like rooting for the underdog, the little guy, the team with the bad wrap, the team that everyone has counted out. I find that after such a long road, the Mariners fit in that category.

Sports have a unique way of bringing people together and who am I to sit here and discourage that?

I bid good luck to the Mariners in the playoffs, as long as they do not face my Padres.