MLB

Believe – Mariners living in 'Ted Lasso world' as they seek end to playoff drought

By Sports Desk September 28, 2021

The Seattle Mariners have adopted Ted Lasso's mantra as they chase down a playoff place: "Believe".

Unlikely football manager Lasso uses that one-word message in the popular television show, and it is one that rings true with the Mariners as they seek to end a 20-year postseason wait.

Seattle must still reel in two teams in the AL East to take a place in the Wild Card Game, but their belief is not wavering.

A 13-4 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Monday opened up a two-game gap to their AL West rivals, with Mitch Haniger hitting a pair of three-run homers.

"We've got five games left, folks," manager Scott Servais said. "Here we sit. It's been some kind of season we've had, and we've still got a lot to play for."

Haniger missed all of last season but now has 37 home runs this year, ranking ninth in MLB.

Only Willie Mays (41 in 1954) and Ted Williams (38 in 1946) have ever scored more home runs in a season after not appearing in any professional league the previous year.

A's pitcher Cole Irvin gave up five runs for his fifth loss in five starts in 2021 against the Mariners. The 1988 Los Angeles Dodgers, against Tom Glavine, were the last team to face a lefty starter at least five times in a season and win on every occasion.

Irvin is not alone in having a tough time against this team, though. Seattle have not been shut out in 92 games, the longest streak in the major league this season.

Two years on from propping up the division, the Mariners are a serious prospect again. They are 8-2 across their past 10 games, the form team in the American League, and, of course, they believe.

"Believe," read a simple banner that hung in T-Mobile Park during this latest victory.

"That was pretty cool," Servais said. "You know every team's got their thing. It's the world we live in. And right now, it's the Ted Lasso world.

"Our guys are having fun, and we should all enjoy it, because we've had some kind of season."

Haniger added: "That's what is fuelling and firing us. As a team, we want to win every single game the rest of the season.

"Just come in every day, prepare to win and that's the goal. It's just control what we can control when we go out there."

Seattle host Oakland again on Tuesday.

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