At the foot of ancient Greece, gods and goddesses save. Ares throws a spear at Athena. The spear passes cleanly through a daring mortal before jumping harmlessly out of Aegis, Athena’s famous shield. They both hear thunder and look up in panic. A lightning strikes the ground between them and sings both eyebrows clean. The spectacle of battle is beyond what any mortal can bear to look without dying of shock.
Not far away, a minor battle is being waged. A match where poles also save, but not with legendary shields of lightning bolts. No, these warriors use lace-up tips, wooden screens and worn sandals. They try not to let the frightening sounds of a major war lead to distract them from their own personal struggle: not to be the worst in Greece.
As the primordial deities of Major League Baseball fight for a fierce war, while Fernando Tatís Jr. leader by Trevor Bauer and Shane Bieber trying to knock out Yoán Moncada, they are fighting surrounded by several minor fights that take place every day. Few are as smaller as those who fought between tigers and sailors.
As frustrating as seafarers̵
Despite this, seafarers have not been able to enjoy their superiority over the poor tigers. Coming in tonight, the team was 0-4 against Detroit this year. And as desperate as the sailors have been to be with Zeus, Ares and Athena in immortal battle, it’s a little hard to access the winning club when you’re beaten by Hector, the legendary wimp of Troy.
It was in the context of repeated humiliation at the hands of the Tigers that the sailors entered this game on a mission to win or at least not to lose. Casey Mize, who fought for the Tigers tonight, clearly sensed this. Mize wasted no time in plundering both Mitch Haniger and Ty France, giving the former a brief frightening injury after a slip on his wrist.
Fortunately, Mize’s violent incompetence did not last as he settled into just one groove to keep seafarers pointless for five straight innings.
On the other side of the diamond, Chris Flexen had a very Chris Flexen performance. He was not terrible, but was not so good either. A walk and a single set the stage for the Tigers to place a run with a sacrificial fly in the third inning, and a dinger and a double-coated two more in the fifth.
Finally, however, Kyle Seager broke through against Mize in the sixth. He worked seven places against Mize before the young Tigers finally slipped up, leaving a fastball straight into the middle of Seager. Seager wiped out the ball and equalized at three.
The teams bullpens, both of which are Capital-T-Terrible, traded three pointless innings to send the game to extra innings. Bullpen’s dominance raised some important questions about the quality of the participating lineups. However, the game seemed to end up being regulated before Jake Fraley made the most impressive unathletic home run robbery since Guillermo Heredia from 2017.
With a runner on first, Isaac Paredes sent a well-hit flying ball over Fraley’s head in the left field. Fraley backpedaled all the way to the wall, bending his legs and betraying his criminal neglect of the leg day by jumping a full three inches off the ground. It was the perfect number of inches. The ball threw itself into the net of Fraley’s glove and he threw the ball back to the infield to double Eric Haase out of the first from almost 300 yards away.
With the teams now playing Manfred Ball, a recently dominant JP Crawford put up a one-singles race before a Mitch Haniger doubles finish finished tenth. Real Pitcher JT Chargois induced a ground ball and a strike to create the quick and easy tenth inning victory. Unfortunately, he nailed a pitch that snuck past Tom Murphy to the backstop. Manfred Runner scored from third and sent the game to the eleventh inning.
Luckily, the Tigers had used up all of their non-Daniel Norris pitchers during the first ten innings. This gave the Tigers no choice but to use Daniel Norris. Norris looks more like an actual Greek god than maybe any other player who appeared in this game, but can also be more impotent than all of them.
Inning started innocently enough, with Kyle Seager flying out and advancing Manfred Runner. Norris deliberately went Ty France to create a potential inning-ending double play, bringing athletic Jake Fraley to the plate, a player who most closely resembles a Greek god.
Fraley delivered and ripped a single into the center, which Akil Baddoo almost caught on his shoe strings. Fortunately, he did not, and Manfred Runner pulled home. Only up one race would seafarers probably want at least one more. It required an unlikely hero to break up the river gates with two outs.
This was a hell of a situation for Dillon Thomas to record his first Major League hit. Thomas easily wins the title of the player who is third most likely to be a Greek deity, but it was his bolt from the blue that ultimately won the game. The single ran in two more runs to give the Mariners a three-run cushion that sealed the game.
Equally important, it gave us all this image of a 28-year-old who had spent ten years working in professional baseball screen to only finally have the debut of his dreams.
Tom Murphy plotted two more runs with a double to make it a five-run game, which was more than enough for seafarers to survive a dinger abandoned by Keynan Middleton at the bottom of the eleventh. Bloody, exhausted and admittedly disoriented, seafarers emerged victorious from the rubble of a now ruined suburb of ancient Greece.
I like to imagine a day when seafarers throw thunderbolts at other challengers. A day when Jarred Kelenic listens to Shane Bieber when Taylor Trammell has an October battle against James Karinchak. I believe that day will come and soon. Until then, we at least get games like this so often.