So what are the Seattle Mariners trying to do?  My God, this is a franchise that has not made the playoffs since the 2001, a record of futility that is unmatched in any of the top four professional sports — baseball, football, basketball and soccer – and here they 16-11 and are in second place in the American League West, trailing just the defending World Series champion Houston Astros.

C’mon, wake up Mariners and start to do what you have done best in your 41-year history, and fail.

My relationship with the Mariners goes back to 1976 when I attended the expansion draft at the Lester K Smith building on Fourth Avenue North in Seattle, with Lou Gorman presiding over the selections.

From that grainy beginning, the Mariners went on an undistinguished run of mediocrity. And I was there, sitting in the pressbox in the Kingdome as the team swung away and missed for 14 straight losing seasons, going through nine managers — Darrell Johnson, Maury Wills, Rene Lachemann, Del Crandall, Chuck Cottier, Marty Martinez, Dick Williams, Jim Snyder and Jim Lefebvre.

It was so stunning and so awful that the large pressbox in many of those years was quiet as a mouse. Usually there were about six or seven reporters there, a few hangers-on and that was about it. It was like a mausoleum in there.

We reporters were so bored we got to playing pick six and then later pick 10. You put up a dollar and had six (or10) picks during a game. You choose a batter and tried to predict what he would do – walk, strikeout, hit by pitch, bunt, a hit or a home run – and the person who was most accurate collected the pot, usually six or seven dollars. The final game of the season we each put up $10.

In the early seasons, the club placed a keg of beer in the pressbox and you could dull your senses with that. One reporter (not me) used to make frequent trips to the keg.

Then in 1991, the Mariners hit the jackpot under Lefebvre and had its first winning season (83-79 and fifth in the AL West).

Lefebvre was promptly fired.

It wasn’t until Lou Piniella was hired in 1993 that things turned around. The keg was gone and the club started to show some spark, and in 1995 the Mariners roared from 13.5 games back in August to produce the miracle season and win the AL West in a one-game playoff with the Angels and make the playoffs for the first time in club history.

The club would make the playoffs in 1997 and again in 2000 and 2001 when it won a major league record-tying 116 games. The Mariners have not been to the post-season since, and after the 2002 season, Piniella, the most successful manager ever, asked out of his contract so he could manage Tampa Bay, which is where he has his home.

So what is going on now? We can’t handle success, can we? The Mariners just took two of three from Cleveland, one of the favorites to win the World Series this year. And they did it by clubbing the Indians in the last two games, including 10-4 today (Sunday, April 29). What is this all about?

It is my contention that Dee Gordon is responsible for all this madness. Gordon is one happy soul. He plays the game like it should be played – like a child out in the sandlot just laughing it up while running the bases, hitting the ball and running it down.

There should be more Dee Gordon’s in the game. It’s fun to watch somebody having fun. I think we take our games too seriously most of the time. Just go out and have fun.

Anyway, his fun-loving nature may be having a good and positive influence on his teammates. I hope so. And that always helps. I always thought Jay Buhner did the game for the Mariners of 1995. Jay was a goofball sometimes, but he also played the game the way it was meant to be played, with gusto and fun. He was the clubhouse leader who liked to have fun but when it came to stepping between the lines he was all in.

You look at the Mariners’ normal lineup that is healthy for a change. It starts with Gordon leading off and is followed by guys who can rake – Jean Segura, Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz, Kyle Seager, Mitch Haniger (the early MVP of the league), Nick Zunino, Ben Gamel and Ryan Healy. Haniger has 10 home runs and 27 RBI, both lead the club, and is hitting .309 through Sunday.

The back of the bullpen has been exceptional with James Pazos and Edwin Diaz with 11 for 11 in saves and the starting pitching while not exceptional has been good enough to help an offense that is maybe the best the club has seen since 1995 when it had Ken Griffey Jr., Buhner, Edgar Martinez, who should go into the Hall of Fame in January, Mike Blowers (now a club broadcaster), Joey Cora, Tino Martinez, Alex Rodriguez, Vince Coleman, Dan Wilson and Luis Sojo.

The conventional wisdom says that the Astros will be hard to catch in the AL West and the Angels have muscled up with Shohei Ohtani to go with Mike Trout, so the Mariners early promise may not be enough over a full season. But it’s fun to dream and if the club can stay relatively healthy, maybe, just maybe, this will be the year the long playoff drought will end.

Starting Tuesday, the Mariners start a six-game homestand with Oakland for three and then the Angels for three. So we’ll see if the good promise holds up.

Be well pal.

Be careful out there.

Have a great day.

You are loved.