Congratulations, Seattle. The longest active playoff drought in pro sports now belongs to you.
With the Bills having reached the playoffs, the Mariners are the current kings of playoff futility, having not reached the playoffs in 16 seasons.
How much emphasis is being placed on that unfortunate mantle in the Pacific Northwest? Well, the Seattle Times' baseball preview was published Wednesday and the drought is front and center on the cover and elsewhere (See some of the page designs in the tweet below).
Our Seattle Times 2018 Mariners preview is off to the press and will be in Thursday’s paper. Here’s a look at some of it, with illustrations by @JenniferLuxton, photos by @SeaTimesFotoKen, stories by @RyanDivish @EvanWebeck @StoneLarry and @Matt_Calkins @SeaTimesSports pic.twitter.com/jLTffN2XpY
— Rich Boudet (@richboudet) March 28, 2018
With a victory over the Dolphins on Dec. 31, the Bills reached the playoffs for the first time since 1999. The consequence in our part of the country? It gave the Mariners ownership of the longest playoff drought in any of the four major American sports leagues.
That’s not a crown anyone wears proudly. That’s a crown that grows heavier by the day.
“We don’t accept it. It’s obviously not a good thing,” said Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager. “We’re putting more emphasis on it this year because this isn’t acceptable.”
One could feel that emphasis while interacting with Mariners manager Scott Servais during the spring. In most of his meetings with the media in February, he mentioned how his club was “trying to do something we haven’t done in 17 years.” It’s not that he didn’t want to stop the skid at 15 or 16 years, but the spotlight on the M’s failures seems magnified now.
When Buffalo has bragging rights over your town, it’s hard not to start fuming.
The playoff discussion has been an open topic in the Mariners’ clubhouse this spring. Players and coaches are tired of being left out and are acutely aware of the fans’ frustration.
Seventeen years is too long. Players such as Hernandez have been too good. These October-less seasons are getting to be too much.
So the Mariners have to find a way to end this thing. They have to find a way to overcome the odds. They have to find a way to be like … the friggin’ Buffalo Bills.