The two strongest 3 seeds in the tournament continued their momentum on Friday, while the favorites sailed to victory in all other match-ups. Let’s take a look at the four match-ups we’ll see in this next round, and let’s also try not to get sucked into the sadness vortex quite yet.
Adam Jones trade vs. Chone Figgins
The Trident Region has been the most chaotic throughout the tournament, and leaves us with the lowest seeded contest left in the tournament. This is sure to be an interesting battle between one of the worst trades in team history and the worst free agent signing in team history. There is plenty of contempt to go around, and experts are having a hard time predicting how it will be distributed.
Four playoff appearances vs. A-Rod ghosting
The heavyweights came through in the Kingdome Region. For a brief moment it seemed as though Bobby Ayala might have what it takes to make a Cinderella run. But to no one’s surprise, Bobby imploded immediately when faced with a formidable opponent. The team’s mini-sized playoff resume may finally be facing a worthy challenger, unless A-Rod leaves for greener pastures once again.
No World Series appearances vs 2001 ALCS
The Compass Rose Region features what may be the strongest 1 seed in the entire field, but this could be a really interesting duel. While the broader tragedy of suiting up zero times in a World Series game could easily be the winner here, 2001 was the best shot that may ever exist for the Mariners. They bulldozed through the neighborhood. They walked up to the World Series’ front porch. They put their foot on the first step, slipped, hit their teeth on the top step and promptly rolled back down to the pathway below. Ah, well. I’m sure they can find that house again.
The longest active playoff drought vs Game 161
This match-up should be a good one for similar reasons as the previous one. One may not exist without the other. A systemic, long-term problem faces a powerful microcosm of the same. Felix sits at the top of the dugout, hanging limp on the railing. Is he staring with blurry eyes at the aftermath of Game 161, or is it all of Mariner history at which he gazes, longing desperately to wake up from the nightmare he knows is real?
Anyway, go Mariners! Voting on the final eight begins Monday morning at 9 Pacific.