Up a game in the 2016 championship the Mariners were one win away from their first championship. For the 2016 Mariners it was a long time coming as that was their fourth straight appearance in the Palisades WBL Finals. Then insanity struck. To be fair their three prior losses in the Finals were just the wrong place at the wrong time but 2016 was right their for the taking.
in 2013 they didn't have a chance. No one was beating Tim Trenary. After demolishing the Brewers in game one of the 2014 Finals the Mariners took their foot off the gas and let the Brewers hang around long enough for Joey Maniscalco to do what he always does, go yard in the biggest moment. In 2015 the best Mariners team to that point faced a team of destiny in the Dodgers but in 2016 they had no one to blame but themselves. With a game in hand they decided to start John Istorico instead of trotting Brian DiNapoli back out to the carpet. Istorico was wild and walked 11. The Expos scored early and the series went to a third and deciding game. In game three DiNapoli took the carpet but Kenny Rodgers who had already hit six HRs in that post season did it again and the Expos raised the cup.
I am sure if the Mariners could do it over again they would have started DiNapoli in game two. Well, in 2018 they may just get that chance. Early this afternoon the Pirates (formally known as the Astros) traded the rights to DiNapoli for the Mariners' first round pick, which happens to be the second overall. DiNapoli was traded last year in what will always be remembered as the final nail in the coffin of Matt Riegler's tenure of the Astros.
On New Year's Eve at two minutes to midnight Riegler accepted what can easily be ranked as the worst trade in League history. He sent Jordan Robles to the Mariners for Brian DiNapoli. On the surface it sounds like a great deal. In actuality it even eclipsed the shit show that was the Astros draft earlier that year. Brian DiNapoli wasn't going to play for a losing team. He wasn't even going to play for a winning team as he wanted to take the year off. Even though Riegler had better offers, even though everyone knew DiNapoli was sitting out, the Astros still went ahead with the trade. A few weeks later Riegler was out of the League.
This now may be the best Mariners team of the bunch. After an extended absence Matt Fliesser was back to all star form after a handful of games in 2017. John Istorico is easily the best player in the league no one talks about. Steve Gitlitz is an exceptional fielder and will hit home runs of name brand pitchers. 2016 Rookie of the Year Brian DiNapoli is one of the best players that this author has ever seen play. If Scott Fliesser can ever get back on the carpet the 2010 Reds 13 game winning streak may be in jeopardy, the single season record of 19-3 held by the ‘09 Blue Jays & ‘13 Giants could be surpassed and the championship series may finally go the Mariners way.