Oct 1, 2023; Seattle, Washington, USA; A Seattle Mariners fan cheers while holding a sign following a 1-0 victory against the Texas Rangers at T-Mobile Park. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

As the 2023 MLB Playoffs begin on Tuesday, the Seattle Mariners find themselves sitting at home.

Despite amassing a respectable 88-74 record, The M’s fell short in their push to make the postseason for a second consecutive year, losing out to the Tampa Bay Rays, Texas Rangers, and Toronto Blue Jays in the American League Wild Card race.

While the Mariners finished the 2023 campaign just two games back of the Houston Astros in the A.L. West, not everybody in Seattle is chalking up a third straight 88-plus win season as a moral victory. That was apparent during one particular call on Monday’s episode of Brock and Salk on Seattle Sports 710, as “Mark from Maple Valley” took aim at both the team and its fanbase.

“Hey this isn’t going to be popular, but I’m going to speak the truth. The problem with the Mariners is the fans and here’s why,” Mark said. “[Team owner] John Stanton dangles fireworks and bobbleheads in front of their faces and runs the team like it’s the Oakland Athletics instead of one of the most profitable teams in Major League Baseball and tells you to your face they’re going to challenge for a World Series and throws out a lineup that has [Jose] Caballero, Sam Haggerty, Dylan Moore and Mike Ford at the bottom of the order — a bunch of scrap heap guys — and tells you that we’re challenging for a World Series.

“And yet we come out in droves, because we get to go with our families on a sunny and watch fireworks and bobbleheads and draw over three million people a year and this guy’s sitting there with a cigar thinking we’re the biggest idiots in the world. If we were in Philly or New York, this wouldn’t even be acceptable. But we do it every year. And we go, ‘Oh, we’ve gotta love these guys because they almost made it to the playoffs.’ Are you out of your mind? It’s unacceptable. And yet three million people come each summer here. It’s a joke. And until someone holds this guy accountable and tells [President of Baseball Operations] Jerry Dipoto to take his analytics nerd and get the hell out of Seattle and get a guy who can hit 40 bombs that plays first base or right field or left field, maybe we’ll make the G** **** playoffs. Thank you.”

It’s unclear how less fan support would be beneficial to the Mariners, although Mark’s main point seems to be that the team’s ownership isn’t incentivized to win since it knows it will have strong attendance regardless. To his point, Seattle’s attendance for the 2023 campaign ranks a respectable 10th, while the Mariners’ payroll projects as the 18th highest in baseball, per Fangraphs.

But as the Baltimore Orioles and Tampa Bay Rays — whose payrolls rank 27th and 29th, respectively — have shown, payroll isn’t always a predictor of success. With a preseason over/under win total of 87.5 games, Seattle ultimately played up to its preseason projection but just happened to miss the playoffs. Not that that’s going to make Mariners fans — and in particular, Mark — feel any better about the season.

[Mariner Muse]

About Ben Axelrod

Ben Axelrod is a veteran of the sports media landscape, having most recently worked for NBC's Cleveland affiliate, WKYC. Prior to his time in Cleveland, he covered Ohio State football and the Big Ten for outlets including Cox Media Group, Bleacher Report, Scout and Rivals.