This Is Not An Endorsement Of Arson
March 26, 2020 1:54 PM   Subscribe

To help you get through these trying times, Jon Bois and Alex Rubenstein of Dorktown and Fighting in the Age of Loneliness bring to you a six part documentary of MLB's Pacific Northwest outpost - the Seattle Mariners.

The series will be released weekly, with Part 1 being released today (which should have been the Mariners' Opening Day.)
posted by NoxAeternum (40 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
This response to their original pitch (SLT) amuses me and honestly I can't explain why.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 2:02 PM on March 26, 2020 [1 favorite]

Drat! Glad to see this posted though, looking forward to it as I do all thing Boisian and some things Marineriran.
posted by mwhybark at 2:22 PM on March 26, 2020

OK, but just hypothetically, if we were looking for an endorsement of arson -- limited, obvsly, and targeted -- where might we look?
posted by allthinky at 2:33 PM on March 26, 2020 [2 favorites]

Step aside, Ken Burns.
posted by tonycpsu at 2:34 PM on March 26, 2020

Great ballpark. Horrible uniforms and logo. I always thought they should go with a viking longboat kind of thing.

This team goes long, long periods with virtually no reason to watch them. By which I mean, the minute they end up in contention I will become a huge fan.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 2:43 PM on March 26, 2020 [2 favorites]

My elderly neighbor Dick Mitchell, Navy vet, IBEW electrician, and former Grand Exalted Ruler of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, was in his prime during the late sixties civic shenanigans that led to the instantiation of the Seattle Pilots. He passed away a few years ago, and I miss him, as he would say, like the dickens. My adult interest in baseball began with the Tohoku quake of early March 2011 and my interest in the Mariners began when former Tohuku Rakuten Eagles pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma sort of elbowed, respectfully, his way onto the Mariners squad about a year later.

Dick passed away, um, maybe three years ago? In the interim, I have attended two perfect games at Safeco and watched the Mariners just brush the underbelly of the post-season more than once.

Turns out, the Houston Astros were cooking the game, news Dick never saw.

We literally lived next door to each other, and when a game became exciting, we would text each other, and I would put whatever household or work tasks I was up to on hold and run next door, and we would watch whatever happened together.

I finally wrangled he and his family to the park for a game, one that he knew would be his last, a few years ago. I regret not more carefully paying attention to his stories about helping the Pilots come into existence.

The thing that I find most striking about the stories that he told me is that a working-class son of a single mother could rise to civic prominence in part on the strength of a union card and his membership in a benevolent society. Don’t get me wrong, Dick was sharp as a tack until the day he died. He was also one of the sweetest, kindest people I have ever known. I miss him. He would have loved this series, even if I would have had to explain to him who Jon Bois is and why he is a genius.
posted by mwhybark at 2:46 PM on March 26, 2020 [20 favorites]

Like, I literally think the Mariners are less popular than the SuperSonics who left in 2008 and the yet to be named NHL team.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 2:47 PM on March 26, 2020 [1 favorite]

I was at Safeco for win 116 (I think, it was a mid-teens win) and have never gotten over how crushing our exit from the postseason was and our exit from any sort of contention just a short while later. I've been looking forward to this series since I saw the trailer. Will be watching later tonight with the pupper.
posted by maxwelton at 2:51 PM on March 26, 2020 [1 favorite]

... and a fun note re the Kingdome: it was imploded on my birthday, which is today, and I was there to see it. The choking, unpleasant concrete dust foreshadowed 9/11. I had thrown a party on Capitol Hill that began at midnight and featured my own handmade bagels. We got sloshed, bageled out, and walked the two miles south. And then back, quite a bit more uncomfortable.
posted by mwhybark at 3:02 PM on March 26, 2020 [4 favorites]

The Mariners and Blue Jays joined baseball at the same time so I always had a general well-wishing for them insomuch as I think about baseball at all. It helped that I don't think we were ever good at the same time so the Mariners doing well wouldn't hurt the Jays' chances of making the post-season.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 3:26 PM on March 26, 2020

At the end of the video, they reference “A Fire That Changed our Sports”, a collaborative work attributed partly to David Eskenazi. Eskenazi is the single most knowledgeable and accessible source on PNW sports history, and a delightful interlocutor.
posted by mwhybark at 3:31 PM on March 26, 2020

Portmanteau, year over year, the most consistent sellout games at Safeco are Jays’ games. I nearly always have a delightful conversation with a random Canadian fan during one of these games.
posted by mwhybark at 3:33 PM on March 26, 2020

I could believe that. As the only Canadian baseball team their games get broadcast nationwide so there are Blue Jays fans everywhere but they never get the chance to see them live unless they're able to catch them at an away game. It's the same for the Raptors and kind of the same for the Leafs too.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 4:00 PM on March 26, 2020

Being only 300 miles away, the Mariners are the closest MLB team to me.

Which of course means that no TV stations carry their games and the newspaper basically ignores their existence.
Occasionally if the sunspots are in the right place, we can catch a staticy AM broadcast though their announcing team is ... not good.

Basically, the only team we can half-heartedly ignore sucks anyway.

All of which is apropos of nothing, other than to say, I miss baseball.
posted by madajb at 4:04 PM on March 26, 2020

This is delightful!
posted by vespabelle at 6:03 PM on March 26, 2020

Look, the Mariners are never going to be a great team to be a fan of. They don't have the wins or the money of a big name team, they don't have the front office smarts of a moneyball underdog, and, importantly, they don't have the long history and culture of other long-sufferers like the Cubs.

But in the 1990s, in a backwater town in the still backwater Puget Sound, helping my dad in the yard while he listened to Dave Niehus announce the M's, they felt like the biggest stars in the world.

I still listen while I work.
posted by skookumsaurus rex at 6:43 PM on March 26, 2020 [4 favorites]

During the time I've lived here in Washington (although no where near Seattle, truly), I've tried following the Mariners because I do love baseball and our television has a localized feed that includes many of their games on some RootSports channel or something. But they are built to be heart-breakers.

Every season starts off strong. They win a bunch of games. They might even be out in front for quite a while. And then, usually right before or after the All-Star break, it falls apart. They're losing more than they're winning. They're losing a lot more than they're winning. They lose in ridiculously spectacular fashion at times. It's utterly demoralizing.

Maybe they will do a late season rally and end up in the playoffs, somehow. Out in the first round.

They do have a lovely ball park, though. I stood right around 2nd bass while watching Pearl Jam play a concert there one evening a couple of years ago. It was the same night that guy took the commercial jet for a joy ride around Seattle and he flew over the stadium during the show, which was noted by many concertgoers. "What's that jet doing here?"

Someday, maybe, the Mariners will not break my heart, but for now, I follow them each season until they fall apart and then don't bother tuning back in.
posted by hippybear at 7:07 PM on March 26, 2020 [2 favorites]

Thanks for the story mwhybark, that was beautiful.

Been an M's fan as long as they've been about. My stepdad was a baseball fan who grew up with the Cardinals and was excited to have a local team to take me to. We were at the game when Gaylord Perry got tossed for doctoring the ball.

I'm conflicted about this series because I love Jon Bois, but he doesn't pull any punches. This will be fun, painful fun, but fun nonetheless.
posted by calamari kid at 7:59 PM on March 26, 2020 [2 favorites]

I don't know if it's still on Netflix or not, but there is a history of the Portland Mavericks called The Battered Bastards of Baseball that is totally worth checking out. Pacific Northwest sports are unlike anything else.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 8:15 PM on March 26, 2020 [1 favorite]

I dislike sports in general, but love listening to Jon Bois talk about sports, and try to watch everything that gets posted here.
posted by Gorgik at 8:28 PM on March 26, 2020 [1 favorite]

Wait, is this a prank, or an inside joke or something?

I grew up in Seattle, and I know for sure we didn't have a baseball team when I lived there. I didn't see my first live baseball game until I moved to Los Angeles for college in the mid-'90s. (go Dodgers, or something...)

Who the hell would name a baseball team after a tomato sauce, anyway? Is their mascot a Snuffleupagus made of noodles? ...a Michelin Man built from stacked, fried calamari rings?

C'mon! At least try harder...
posted by Anoplura at 1:26 AM on March 27, 2020

I am not really a baseball fan, but as always, anything that Bois is involved in is fascinating and enjoyable.
posted by nubs at 8:26 AM on March 27, 2020

Okay I am extremely on board with this after episode one
posted by DoctorFedora at 5:54 AM on March 31, 2020

Part 2 is up, featuring the Mariners' first breakout star.
posted by NoxAeternum at 12:22 PM on April 2, 2020 [5 favorites]

Buhner's triple blurp is worth the price of admission.
posted by carsonb at 5:07 PM on April 2, 2020 [2 favorites]

Episode 2 was Junior, Episode 3 has got to be Edgar. Be still my heart.
posted by maxwelton at 12:00 PM on April 3, 2020

nah, Ichiro
posted by mwhybark at 11:29 AM on April 4, 2020

Oh. I see, they ended it earlier than I expected. So yes!
posted by mwhybark at 12:00 PM on April 4, 2020

I am informed that Root Sports NW (M’s wholly owned local cable channel) is running the 1995 DS tonight, and also that the ‘95 DS and CS are on YT. I haven’t had the stones to venture it yet.
posted by mwhybark at 9:11 PM on April 5, 2020

Part 3 is now up, in which a divisional battle becomes a battle between Good (the M's) and Evil (the Evil Empire).
posted by NoxAeternum at 1:06 PM on April 9, 2020 [4 favorites]

Well, that sure captured what it was like to be an M’s fan in the eighties and nineties.

I grew up in Seattle, and was never a huge sports fan, but my dad liked baseball and so did a lot of my friends, so I ended up with a small collection of trading cards and other paraphanelia, and made it to a number of games at the Kingdome. In fact, those are still the only pro sports games I’ve ever seen live. It was great to see Joey Cora in the latest video. He was my personal favorite Mariner. He was a little guy, but implausibly fast and acrobatic in a way that was always fun to watch.

That whole 1995 season was unbelievable. I was in high school; the Mariners had been around my whole life and had been a joke my whole life. Then, suddenly, they were super heroes. And the stadium and ownership drama happening at the same time? It was absolutely nuts.

I didn’t follow baseball as closely after the 1990s, so I’m looking forward to finding out what I missed when the next episodes come out.
posted by mbrubeck at 4:58 PM on April 9, 2020 [1 favorite]

I don't know how it keeps getting better, but it keeps getting better. Part 3 almost made me cry. And I genuinely don't care about baseball, I've definitely never in my life cared even a little bit about the Mariners, and none of those players meant anything to me during the time they were playing. Hell, I'm pretty sure today was the first time I'd ever heard of Edgar Martinez.

Jon Bois might be the most talented person in sports media right now. It's bizarre to me that in the midst of this pandemic ESPN isn't already paying him 7 figures to shore up their flagging schedule with content like this.
posted by saladin at 6:58 AM on April 10, 2020 [4 favorites]

Part 4
posted by mbrubeck at 7:28 PM on April 21, 2020 [3 favorites]

I guess the copyright clearance delay had to be over that closing footage. I’d never seen it and hadn’t ever heard of the event. Wonderful.
posted by mwhybark at 9:29 PM on April 21, 2020 [1 favorite]

That video at the end is just... why is everything about this baseball team like something out of a movie? I knew where it was going as soon as I saw the brand name on the wrist band, but… like… HOW??
posted by DoctorFedora at 5:06 AM on April 23, 2020 [2 favorites]

I popped back into the thread to say my 2 sons (one of them is this one) are halfway through #4 and this is just delightful. I think his style of story telling could benefit from a few more illustrative video clips or interviews, but my god he has a gift for sports story telling.

I’m thinking you could tell a story like this about most professional sports teams (pro sports, particularly baseball, is full of wacky events you could string along into a thread like this), but it’s a thrilling to have your hometown team receive this treatment.

I think I have an emotional attachment to Edgar Martinez and Griffey now!
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 6:10 PM on April 23, 2020 [3 favorites]

Where did they find that last bit of footage? Amazing.

Also, I loved the hell out of this line:
"Mark McGwire, on the other hand, had transitioned from a normal-looking guy into a cartoonish, Soviet artillery prototype that took three days to reposition and 25 men to operate."
Just takin' his vitamins, nothing to see here!
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 9:41 PM on April 23, 2020 [4 favorites]

Slarty, other locals: there has been a general surfeit of ‘95 postseason reruns both on Root NW and national outlets lately. I think most of it is also on YT. Figure out if you can rewatch it.

My interest in the Mariners begins in the twilight of Ichiro, and I do regret not being interested in the era just highlighted. People of my (of our) age that grew up here and were interested in 1995 absolutely reverently refer to The Double as the greatest sporting event of their lives, over the Superbowl win.
posted by mwhybark at 10:05 PM on April 23, 2020

Also, Slarty, I’d totes forgot you were at that game. I’ll have some more amusing stories about that season when Bois gets to it.

The Aquasox are promoing freebies for a virtual 5k. $10 and $30 with different awards. Seems like a gimme, and that Everett stadium is an amazing place to catch a game in late summer. Although the apparently cognitively-impaired Snohomish County Sheriff gives pause.
posted by mwhybark at 10:19 PM on April 23, 2020

I think his style of story telling could benefit from a few more illustrative video clips

This is a theme in the SB Nation video series. I imagine the copyright hell you have to go through to get those clips is prohibitive. A lot of the game footage that does show up tends to be choppy clips and heavily edited/pixelated. It's especially bad in the "Rewinder" series where the whole point is to look back at specific moments in sports. So, for instance, even if an entire video is about a long football play that takes 25 seconds to unfold you only see bits and pieces of it at a time or recreations through graphical representation.
posted by carsonb at 10:50 AM on April 24, 2020

« Older Your Money: A Hub for Help During the Coronavirus...   |   The Internet Archive's National Emergency Library Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments