September 19th, 2001: Mariners Last Postseason Clinch

2001 Mariners Postseason

The last time the Seattle Mariners clinched a postseason spot was 20 years ago today, September 19th, 2001. Before September 11th, 2001, the Mariners were extremely close to winning the division. However, that did not seem important in the week to come in which the baseball season was paused. In the second game back, the Mariners clinched the spot that was rightfully theirs. In a somewhat subdued celebration, the Mariners still celebrated their success with their fans. 

The Mariners would go on to a historic 116 game win season. The 2001 Mariners postseason was rather forgettable, but their season was unforgettable. No one would have been able to predict that 20 years would go past without another trip to the postseason. Seattle currently owns the longest playoff drought in the four major sports leagues in North America. However, here we are. 

Highlights of September 19th, 2001

The Mariners beat the Los Angeles Angels to win the division title in a talented American League West. At home, in front of a sellout crowd, a 5-0 win sealed the deal. Even though baseball sat in the background for days, it was now brought to the forefront at that moment—the third AL West title in four seasons. A clinch in what everyone knew was a special season. An American flag was brought over and was held high as the Mariners celebrated by Mark McLemore and Mike Cameron. A special moment in more ways than one. 

What Has Changed Since the 2001 Mariners Postseason

A lot has changed since the last playoff clinch. For starters, the whole playoff format. When the Mariners clinched that day in September, they also won the AL West division title. Winning the division was just about the only way to secure a spot in October. However, the team with the next best record of the three divisions in that league would win the wild card and play the best record. Now, it is a showdown; one game takes all that allows two teams to advance. That, of course, is what the Mariners are hoping for this year in 2021. 

What the Mariners Need to Do to Get Back There

Even though it can be rather disappointing to think that it has been 20 years, this season, more than ever before, has seen the organization trending in the right direction. 

Ultimately, no one wants not to win. Not only has it noticeably worn down the front office in recent years, but it creates frustration for fans too. As well, the players feel the pressure. Jarred Kelenic said last week how the team could potentially end the drought. It can be hard to turn the page to a fresh one when the previous 20 years of no playoff ball have plagued the organization. Kelenic speaks a lot of truth heading into these final weeks of the 2021 season. If the Mariners want to get back to playing postseason baseball, a new page must be made. Whether it is on a game-to-game basis this season or to turn the page on the last 20 years.

The Mariners need to play their best ball in this last stretch. They are as talented a team as any of the Mariners have had since 2001. The 2021 season has been their best shot in a long time. If the 2001 season has taught the organization, its players, and its fans anything, it is that you don’t know when you will get there next. 

 

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