SEATTLE – You don’t work 17 years for an organization without some special feelings, especially when one of those was the most successful regular season by a team in major league history.
Former Mariners pitching coach Bryan Price, in his first year as the Cincinnati Reds’ pitching coach, had a lot of memories come flooding back this weekend during the Reds’ interleague series at Safeco Field. Unquestionably, the best was the 2001 season when the Mariners tied the major league regular-season record with 116 victories.
“You hope you never forget it,” Price said.
To put that year in perspective, Price compares the feeling in 2001 with the positive vibes he has with a Reds team that has been one of the surprises in the National League. They came into the weekend leading the Central but had lost 10 of 17 games.
“All teams go through that,” Price said. “Yet that 2001 team here never had that stretch, never had that period where you look back and say, ‘Oh boy, we played 20 games and we’re 7-13. We didn’t lose a series until August that year and we put up ridiculous numbers that go with a 116-game winning season.”
The only downer was that the Mariners went flat at absolutely the worst time – in the postseason. The Indians took them to a deciding fifth game before the Mariners won the first round of the playoffs, then they lost to the Yankees in five games of the best-of-7 A.L. Championship Series.
“Everybody was disappointed that we didn’t take it all the way to the World Series,” Price said. “It kind of felt like it was unfinished. However, you don’t want to overlook the greatness of that season.”