Sometimes things work out.
After a joyous and emotional Number Retirement ceremony for Ken Griffey, Jr., in which the Mariners organization pulled out all the stops, the actual Mariners who play baseball currently had settled into playing catch up on a deficit of runs put into effect by the baseball player version of Dr. Manhattan, who had smashed yet another first inning 3 run homer. But these current Mariners also hit dingers, and battled back within striking distance of the lead when Shawn O'Malley stepped to the plate with 2 men on. O'Malley, who played for 9 years in the minor leagues before ever swinging the bat in the majors, has had himself more playing time this season than most Mariners fans would have ever wanted for a team that's supposed to be a playoff contender. I've been rather vocal with my disdain for Servais slotting O'Malley in the lead off spot numerous times. Shawn O'Malley from the dumpy burg of Kennewick, Washington, should not even be here, at this moment in time, stepping up to the plate on the night where the team he grew up rooting for had retired his childhood idol's number. A lot of things happened or did not happen according to plan for this scenario to play out. And you know what? That is baseball. Your best laid plans almost never work out and you end up with a lifetime AAAA player hitting a go-ahead 3 run ding donger in front of a massive sold out hometown crowd.
(MLB.com makes embedding video on certain sites impossible for some god forsaken reason, but seriously you need to watch the version above for Aaron Goldsmith's absolutely bonkers call of that home run. Goldsmith has quickly become an absolute treasure of an announcer and I hope he stays in Seattle for life)
So yeah, Baseball! You never can tell!
Shawn O'Malley! He who once got hit in the head at 2nd base on a pick off throw and walked it off like the true grit lord he is.
Shawn O'Malley! He who once missed a flyball by juuuuust that much and ended up in a photo that I've used ever since as a loving reminder of failure in baseball.
Shawn O'Malley! Who gets his ear flicked by his multi-millionaire teammate during his post game interviews!
Shawn O'Malley! For whom someone cobbled together four, count 'em FOUR minutes of 2015 highlights!
Yes, that Shawn O'Malley saved Saturday, and perhaps the whole weekend, for Mariners fans everywhere. I had already mentally prepared myself for the emotional letdown that was surely coming. When I heard the crack of the bat, I stood up from my left field bleacher seat, gauged the reaction of the right fielder, and proceeded to lose my mind. A little something broke loose in me. I could feel it. It was a small chunk of my Mariners pessimism. My voice felt hoarse afterwards. I hugged my wife. I waved my hat around like a crazy person. A completely spontaneous chant of "SHAWN-O-MAL-LEY, CLAP CLAP, CLAP CLAP CLAP" started rising up from the Safeco crowd. Yes, a chant for the world's least appreciated 25th man roster member, an eternal bench warmer and minor league grinder, came on STRONG and then started up again after O'Malley made a great play on a grounder that got by Seager deep in no man's land between 2nd and 3rd in the top of the 8th.
"SHAWN-O-MAL-LEY, CLAP CLAP, CLAP CLAP CLAP"
Baseball is the greatest American sport because of moments like this. It is the most unpredictable and surprising sport because of moments like this. You can watch the game day in and day out for your entire life and yet still, every few weeks something will happen that will make you say, "Huh, never seen that before." Griffey told the current roster during his speech on Saturday, "Keep fighting, because we're all rooting for you." I think Shawn O'Malley took those words to heart.