Are the Mariners playoff contenders?

You come from dust and to dust you shall return. In May the Mariners looked hopeless. They were a team without constant starting pitching, plagued by injury and without a productive offense. It seemed that another season was slipping away before our eyes.

After two gut-wrenching no-hitters in the midst of 2 6-game slides, the Mariners drifted back into irrelevance.

But then something resembling a miracle happened. Players began to return from injury, and the Mariners made pitching changes to the starting rotation and the bullpen. All of a sudden, the Mariners started winning.

By all accounts, this dramatic shift was impossible based on the Mariner’s run differential of -51; they should have finished 76-86. Instead, the team finished 90-72, grabbing 90 wins for the first time since 2003. This record was in the 99th percentile for the Mariners win total predictions for this year.

Most of these wins, were dramatic come from behind stunners when all hope seemed to be lost. A perfect analogy for the season.

Advancing towards the end of the year, the Mariners still seemed out of it, too little too late. But September rolled around and the team went 18-8, surging past Oakland right onto the doorstep of the second Wild Card spot.

Still, everything had to go right, and it almost did, but the Angels played spoiler for Mariners baseball, ending another magical run that refilled the stadium. Why do we root for the Mariners?

We don’t root for the Mariners because they win or deserve our praise. We don’t root for the Mariners because they are bringing up touted prospects such as Jarred Kelenic and Logan Gilbert. We don’t root for the Mariners because they are our hometown team.

We root for the Mariners because they are baseball’s child protagonists. Just like any protagonist, the Mariners have grown and matured, but have not yet reached adulthood and probably never will.

The Mariners would no longer be the Mariners if they grew up and started winning. The Mariners are not trying to be anything. They don’t want to be like the Yankees or the Dodgers, no matter how much we may wish that for them.

The Mariners are taking their own path one riddled with stories that one may see as ridiculous or unnecessary. We root for the Mariners because they will refuse to be normal. In fact, they will be anything but normal. Will the Mariners voluntarily play a normal baseball game? No. Because that is not how the Mariners do business.

Instead, no matter how bad our record turns out to be, the Mariners put on a show that could only be created by a child. It is messy, with dramatic rises and falls. Moments where fans want to quit, but also moments where fans forget why they were angry in the first place because of the sheer joy that they have just experienced.

In fact if the Mariners were not weird, we would not be here. Years ago when the Kingdome was about to be torn down and the Mariners were about to lose their home, they pulled through. No body wanted to pay for a perennial loser to stay in Seattle, except of the Mariners.

‘Refuse to Lose’ the Mariners gritted their teeth and pushed into the post season. Oct. 8, 1995. Mariners legend Edgar Martinez hit the game winning double that saved Mariner baseball. If the Mariners had not won that game, we would not have kept them.

Founded in 1977 the Seattle baseball team needed a name. So, they held a contest and the name was chosen. They never found the winner. He seemed to be off in his own world, just like our new baseball team is now. Blissfully ignorant, untouchable.