There had never been a day like this before at T-Mobile Park.
Not only were the Seattle Mariners playing a game Sunday they had to win to keep their postseason hopes alive, but three other teams — Boston, Toronto and the New York Yankees — who would also determine their fate were playing at the same time.
In 2014, the Mariners needed to win their season finale and have Oakland lose to tie for a wild-card spot. Oakland got a big lead early en route to an easy win.
But that day was nothing like this Sunday, with three other teams to keep an eye on and with so many possible scenarios. For the greatest of multitaskers, the Seahawks kicked off against the 49ers about an hour later.
It was going to be a lot.
Here is how it unfolded.
10 a.m.: Manager Scott Servais meets with the media via Zoom and says he slept great. “I really did,” he says. “I think exhaustion helps with that.” Servais says he wants his players to go back to their Little League days when “they couldn’t wait to get to the park” and to just have fun.
Servais concludes with this: “Sunday afternoon and the Seahawks are playing and so are the Mariners. It’s going to be fun.”
11:56: The Mariners starting lineup is announced, and the fans stand, cheering wildly and waving “Believe” signs.
12:03 p.m.: Crue Seager, third baseman Kyle Seager’s 7-year-old, throws the ceremonial first pitch to his father, getting what has to be one of the biggest cheers ever for a first pitch.
12:10: Tyler Anderson throws the first pitch of the game, a strike that Shohei Ohtani swings at and misses. Chants of “Let’s go Mariners” erupt. Boston, Toronto and the Yankees have started, too. Buckle up.
12:11: Ohtani belts Anderson’s third pitch into the right-field seats for a leadoff home run. The cheers momentarily stop.
12:18: Former Mariner Jack Mayfield drives in a run with an infield single. Angels lead 2-0. Toronto hits a leadoff homer to take a 1-0 lead. This is not what fans had envisioned.
12:30: Ty France and Mitch Haniger draw one-out walks, bringing up Kyle Seager. Fans start chanting “Kyle Seager.” But alas, Seager flies out to right field. Abraham Toro grounds out to second. Still 2-0 going to the second. Toronto leads 3-0 in the first. Boston and Yankees are in scoreless ties.
12:39: David Fletcher hits a run-scoring double to left field. Angels go up 3-0. No one seems to notice that Washington takes a 1-0 lead over Boston because of the Mariners’ issues.
12:46: Jared Walsh hits a sacrifice fly, giving the Angels a 4-0 lead. Servais pulls Anderson, brings in Yohan Ramirez.
12:56: Luis Torrens hits a leadoff double to left field. Jarred Kelenic follows with a single to right field. This place is loud. Very loud.
1:07: J.P. Crawford hits a two-out single to drive in Kelenic. Mariners fans are dancing. Angels starter Reid Detmers exits. Enter Oliver Ortega.
1:11: Boston starter Chris Sale walks in a run, giving Washington a 2-0 lead. Ortega gets out Ty France. Angels lead 4-2 going to the third.
1:12: Seahawks fall behind 7-0. Not sure anyone here knows or cares.
1:24: Luis Rengifo flies out to the warning track to leave an Angels runner at second. Bad news for M’s fans: Toronto leads 9-1. Good news: Boston still trailing, 2-1.
1:40: Ohtani strikes out. The stadium is going nuts.
1:44: Walsh clubs a two-run homer to right field. Fan throws the ball back on the field, drawing big cheers. But the damage is done. Angels lead 6-2 in the fourth.
2:07: Washington takes a 5-1 lead over Boston, just as Ty France flies out to right with runners on second and third to end the fourth inning. Mariners might get the help they needed, but will it matter?
2:15: Fans start the wave, but it dies quickly. Thankfully.
2:22: David Fletcher’s triple gives Angels a 7-2 lead in the fifth. Fans are still engaged but not much to cheer.
2:34: Starting to hear boos as Andres Munoz walks Walsh to lead off the sixth inning.
2:49: Mariners get out of a jam, helped by a great defensive play. Fans dancing again.
2:54: Red Sox tie Washington at 5-5 with three runs in the seventh.
3:03: Mariners load the bases with one out. Everyone is on their feet with J.P. Crawford coming. Chants of “J.P.” begin. Crawford brings in a run with a fielder’s choice grounder, but they needed more than a run. Angels up 7-3 going to the seventh.
3:11: Yankees win 1-0 with a run in the bottom of the ninth, so only hope left is Boston loses (tied 5-5 in the eighth) and a big Mariners comeback.
3:17: Ohtani strikes out again, and it’s seventh-inning stretch time. Enthusiasm still remarkably high with the home team down by four runs.
3:26: Mariners go down in order in the seventh. Hundreds of fans leaving.
3:35: Rafael Devers hits a two-run homer to give Boston a 7-5 lead while Mariners fans are singing and dancing to Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ “Can’t Hold Us.”
3:49: With the Angels batting in the ninth, the crowd is chanting “Kyle Seager.” He acknowledges the crowd, gets a huge ovations and the chants resume. Pretty cool moment.
3:52: Boston finishes off 7-5 win over Washington, ending Seattle’s hopes. Servais responds immediately by taking Seager out of the game with one out in the top of ninth. He hugs his teammates while the crowd chants his name, then the crowd gives him the loudest cheer of the night. The third-base bag is removed from the field and given to Seager, who waves the bag. It is a touching and emotional moment.
4:07: Mitch Haniger strikes out, ending Seattle’s season. Crowd gives the Mariners a standing ovation and begins chanting “Let’s go Mariners.” Seager comes out on the field and waves to the fans. Players begin tossing shirts to the fans.
The Mariners lost, but it seems no one wants to leave, celebrating a season that was better than just about anyone expected.
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