B1 Intermediate US 410 Folder Collection
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- On October 6th, 2001, the Seattle Mariners
won their one hundredth and sixteenth game
of the season.
They tied the MLB record
set by the 1906 Chicago Cubs
and broke the AL record of 114
set by the '98 Yankees,
a team widely considered one of the greatest
in MLB history.
And they achieved this mark in the wake
of losing three franchise icons.
At the 1998 trade deadline,
in the midst of a down year,
Seattle traded Cy Young award winner
Randy Johnson to the Astros.
In return the Mariners received
three important pieces to that 2001 team.
Shortstop Carlos Guillen as well as pitchers,
John Halama and Freddy Garcia.
The latter of which would make
the 2001 All-Star team.
After the 1999 season,
Pat Gillick was hired as GM
and given the duty of handling the future
of Ken Griffey Jr. and Alex Rodriguez,
both of whom were on expiring contracts
entering 2000.
Griffey was flipped to his hometown
Cincinnati Reds before the start of the season.
The returning package
included centerfielder, Mike Cameron,
who would go on to be an All-Star
and Gold Glove winner in 2001.
A-Rod played the year out,
a season in which he helped his team
battle the Yankees in the ALCS.
But they fell short and he walked in free agency.
But as one star walked out, another walked in.
Japanese phenom, Ichiro Suzuki
was headed for the states.
In Ichiro's 2001 rookie season,
he became the first player
in Major League Baseball history
to win MVP, Rookie of the Year, Silver Slugger,
a Gold Glove, and start in the All-Star game.
An All-Star game hosted by the city of Seattle.
And he appeared alongside seven other Mariners.
This historic team opened the post-season
against the Indians and were tested immediately,
dropping two of the first three games in the ALDS
But Freddy Garcia bounced back
from a game one loss
and aided by a three run seventh inning,
forced a game five,
a game in which Mark McLemore
hit a two run single in the second inning
to gain a lead
the Mariners would never relinquish.
- [Commentator] He's not hit lefties
well all year.
(cheering on television)
- [Commentator 2] How about that? Left field.
Pardova trapped it. Two runs in.
- Jamie Moyer, a stones throw away
from his 39th birthday,
kept the Indians' bats at bay
and Kazuhiro Sasaki closed the do or die win.
- [Commentator 2] And your winner...Seattle.
- [Mike] Seattle advanced to the ALCS
for the second consecutive year.
Once again, they faced the Yankees.
But this year the team was different.
And without spoiling anything,
I think everything's gonna work out.
Up against a Yankee's team
carrying the hope of a city
still reeling in the aftermath
of the September 11th attacks,
the Mariners lost their first two games at home.
Manager Lou Piniella guaranteed his Mariners
would win two of the next three games in New York
to bring the series back home,
but no one on this one hundred sixteen win team
ever played another post season game
in Seattle again.
In game four the Mariners entered
the bottom of the ninth tied at one.
Sasaki, the leagues runner up in saves
behind Yankees frame thrower Mariano Rivera
was on the mound.
But with one out and one on,
Alfonso Soriano came to the plate.
[Commentator] Swung on, hit high in the air
into deep right centerfield.
Back goes Ichiro, on the track,
at the wall, she's gone.
Alfonso Soriano wins the game
with a two run home run.
- [Mike] Game five wasn't even close
as the deflated Mariners
tumbled into the off season.
Heading into the 2002 season,
the Mariners lost a handful of players.
Most notably, the starting pitcher,
Aaron Sele, third baseman David Bell,
and Mariners legend, Jay Buhner,
who called it a career
after their postseason exit.
Sele, who signed with the Angels
was coming off a stellar year
and would be a difficult piece to replace.
They set their sight on
Giants pitcher, Jason Schmidt,
who is also coming off a solid '01 season.
But when Seattle refused to offer
anything more than a three year deal,
he resigned with the Giants.
The Mariners settled for
throwing a cheap deal at James Baldwin,
a massive downgrade on the mound.
Their focus on the bottom line
and hesitance to offer anyone
a contract longer than three years
became a theme of the season.
As for David Bell, an off season trade
sent him to San Francisco.
A move that was made once Seattle pried
former All-Star third baseman Jeff Cirillo
from Colorado.
But the move for Cirillo wasn't solely
to upgrade the hot corner.
It was in response to a contract impasse
with second baseman Bret Boone
who had finished the 2001 season,
third in MVP voting.
Seattle had offered Boone
a three year, twenty-two million dollar deal
which Boone deemed insufficient.
At the time the Mariners were owned
by Nintendo of America and Howard Lincoln
represented them as CEO of the team.
He was a business man and ran the team as such.
In reference to Boone's offer, he said,
And despite revenue numbers hitting
a hundred and seventy million dollars,
Lincoln used A-rod as an example
of where his priorities lie. Stating,
As a fan, that's not what you wanna hear.
But Boone eventually resigned
for an extra two million dollars
after failing to find the long term deal
he sought elsewhere.
Time for a championship.
With Boone on board, Seattle retained their core,
including all eight All-Stars
from the '01 campaign.
According to their reigning AL manager
of the year, Lou Piniella, they suddenly improved
When asked about following up
their one hundred and sixteen win season,
pitcher Paul Abbott said,
"We'll take ninety-five wins
and a world championship."
And they looked primed to do just that.
They put together a ten game win streak in April
and in May, Mike Cameron made baseball history
by hitting four home runs in one game.
The Mariners were firing on all cylinders.
- [Commentator 2] And that pitch is hit
to deep center field. Back goes Lofton.
To the track, to the wall, Cameron has done it.
- [Mike] But as the season went on,
it started to become clear that the Mariners
needed help to make a late season push.
Especially with newcomer Cirillo
not living up to expectations
and Baldwin being no replacement for Sele at all.
But with the budget in mind,
no major deals were made at the deadline.
Lincoln was quoted saying,
Let's put that on a tee shirt.
Edgar Martinez voiced his frustrations
with the lack of moves by ownership
especially while rivals such as Oakland
were making deals to set them up for a run
at the postseason.
But in the words of Howard Lincoln,
"I'm in the baseball business,
not the feel good business."
Around the deadline,
Lou Piniella stopped complaining,
reportedly due to a gag order.
Despite line-up concerns
the Mariners remained tied or in the lead
of their division from mid April
all the way till August 23rd.
It was then that Seattle,
tied for first with Oakland
entered a matchup with Cleveland.
A hundred and twenty consecutive games
on top of their division came to an end
in the bottom of the ninth.
With James Baldwin on the mound,
pitching out of the bullpen,
Josh Bard hit a walk-off home run.
- [Commentator 2] Deep to right, back goes Suzuki
at the track, at the wall, good-bye.
Josh Bard with a walk-off home run.
- [Mike] It was Bard's MLB debut.
One the Mariner's wouldn't forget
because they never got back on top.
Seattle was eliminated from postseason contention
a month later on September 26th,
following an Angels win over the Rangers
that clinched the wild card for Anaheim.
Along with a lack of meaningful deadline moves
and disappointing contributions
from off season acquisitions,
there was a decline in production
from some key members of the 2001 team.
Edgar Martinez was thirty-nine and after playing
a hundred and thirty-two games in '01,
he was limited to only ninety-seven in 2002
due to injuries.
In the late season slump,
saw his average plummet.
Paul Abbott, who went seventeen and four in 2001,
was demoted to the bullpen in April
and placed on the DL in May.
He finished 2002 with one win in five starts
and an eye-poppingly large ERA.
He was released at the end of the season.
Freddy Garcia who led the AL
in ERA the year before
added more than a full run to his ERA in 2002.
He still however made the All-Star team
for the second consecutive year.
Because the story of the 2002 Mariners
is not simply a failure to act
or a failure to produce,
it's also a heavily happened stance.
While battling for control
of the division in August,
their AL West foes in Oakland
were busy reeling off MLB's first
twenty game win streak since 1935.
On route to a one hundred and three win season.
Another division rival, the Angels
won sixteen of seventeen games
between late August and mid September
finishing ninety-nine and sixty-three,
good enough to win half the divisions
in the majors.
And blowing out the bridge
to the postseason behind them,
as they earned the wildcard spot,
leaving Seattle at the river's edge
with no life preserver.
In the off season, manager Lou Piniella
requested out of the final year of his contract
and hitched a ride to Tampa Bay.
Hired in his place,
was former Diamondbacks bench coach
and first time manager, Bob Melvin.
Again, the Mariners retained their core
and again they were formidable.
2003 was their year. I can feel it.
Seattle had led their division
for over one hundred consecutive games
when on August 22nd they entered
a four game series against Boston.
The Red Sox at the time were
a game behind Oakland for the wildcard.
As the Yankees proved to be a road block
in the AL East.
And Oakland was knocking on Seattle's door
at the top of the AL West.
Safe to say this series was an important one.
Seattle lost all four games
and ended up in a three way tie
with Boston and Oakland.
But per tie breakers this put Oakland in control
of the AL West,Boston in control of the wild card
and Seattle in the bleachers.
From that point forward,
Seattle was unable to make the late season push
their rivals were making.
They once again finished
ninety-three and sixty-nine
and once again failed to make the postseason.
It was another lost season
but one mount without it's successes.
Seattle finished with the second best team ERA
in the AL behind only Oakland.
They did so while becoming the first team
in over thirty years to have only
five starting pitchers all season.
A portrait of arm health.
Even with the forty year old Jamie Moyer
who set a franchise win record that season.
Ichiro's two hundred and twelve hits
made him the third player in history
to get at least two hundred hits
in each of his first three seasons
and he was once again an All-Star.
But as a team they fell to tenth
in the American League in slugging percentage.
And bats not in possession of number fifty-one
went cold,
shattering hopes of champagne celebrations
in Seattle.
As an aging roster continued it's slow chug
forward in time, the off season proved costly.
I'm starting to lose hope.
Two-time All-Star and former closer,
Kazuhiro Sasaki decided to terminate his contract
and remain in Japan with his family.
Along with Jeff Nelson who was traded
before the season's end.
Two more arms were out the door.
Gold Glove center fielder Mike Cameron
signed with the Mets as a free agent,
and Carlos Guillen was traded to Detroit
where he'd make his first All-Star game
and finish in the top twenty-five in MVP voting.
Seattle opened the 2004 season
on a five game losing streak which set the tone
for a season steeped in disappointment.
Jamie Moyer, who was now forty-one
finally started to show age.
He had a string of ten straight losses
on route to his first losing season since 1994.
The ace of that one hundred and sixteen win team,
Freddy Garcia had his first losing season in 2003
and was traded in the middle of the '04 season.
At the time he was sporting
a four and seven record.
Three-time Gold Glove winner
and pivotal bat in 2001, John Olerud,
was designated for assignment in July
while the team looked for a trade partner.
When none materialized, he was was released
and signed with the Yankees.
The Mariners coming off back-to-back
ninety-three and sixty-nine seasons,
finished sixty-three and ninety-nine.
In the words of second baseman, Bret Boone,
it was the mirror opposite of 2001.
They finished last in the AL West
without ever spending a day
even tied for the top spot.
Mariner all time great, Edgar Martinez
who spent every one of his eighteen seasons
in Seattle,
retired at the end of the year
at the age of forty-one.
The only bright spot in '04 was the one constant
Seattle could always depend on.
On October 1st, Ichiro broke
George Sisler's eighty four year old hit record
with his two hundred fifty eighth hit of the season.
He would finish with two hundred and sixty-two.
As the walls crumbled around them,
the Mariners looked to their future.
But not at the expense of the aging core players
that have given the city everything they could.
Management may not have spent money
when they should have but they understood
the impact the team had on the community
even when the end result on the field
was a disappointment.
The 2001 Mariners will forever have a place
in baseball award.
And the memory of that team will live on even if
no trophy or ring exist to commemorate it.
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How the 2001 Mariners went from 116 wins to a historic drought in an instant

410 Folder Collection
Li Rose published on June 11, 2019
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