Tonight the Mariners again crushed the Rangers, 10-1. If only the Mariners could play the Rangers all the time, they could really start fixing this run differential. This one was over pretty early on, as the Mariners jumped on Texas starter Jordan Lyles in the first inning, pushing three runs across, and then tacked on another five runs in the third inning, which yes, if you’re good at math, adds up to eight runs before I had a chance to finish my beer (moment of silence for the ability to comically overpay for a giant cup of beer at the stadium. I am saving a lot of money, yes, but I’m not happy about it). I’m out of words to describe how the Mariners squash the Rangers in 2020, so I decided to borrow some from some other languages that we don’t have an exact parallel for in English.
Hygge has had an Instagram moment and isn’t as untranslatable as it used to be, but it basically means a feeling of coziness, deep contentment and safety. Watching Justus Sheffield pitch lately has given me a great feeling of hygge. When he has his fastball command—which he has lately—there’s a thrilling competence to the way he pitches, a quiet confidence in the way Sheff goes about his business. It’s incredibly relaxing to watch. Tonight Sheff didn’t have his best stuff—he said himself in a postgame interview he’d give himself a B, maybe a C+ for his stuff—but he had his command, throwing 55 of his 85 pitches for strikes, and a first pitch strike 19 of 26 times. Justus scattered six hits among his six innings, but a couple of those hits were things like Todd Frazier threading a needle between Kyle Seager and J.P. Crawford, or Nick Solak’s check swing that turned into a base hit despite an xBA of .090. A few of the hits were hard-hit, though, and maybe against a team not as hapless as the Rangers, Sheffield gets into more trouble with his less-than-excellent stuff, but as it was, it was a quiet, competent day at the yard and another nice outing for Justus. As cozy as a cup of cocoa and squishy socks.
You know the feeling of when someone is coming over and you’re excited to see them and you keep peeking out your window to see if they’re here yet? The word for that is iktsuarpok, which also captures what I feel when I impatiently wait for the lineup to turn over so it’s Kyle Lewis’s turn to bat again. Even if the end result is an out, watching Kyle Lewis take at-bats is an entirely pleasant experience. Maybe he’ll foul off some pitches and work a walk. Maybe he’ll tap an off-speed pitch into left field for an oppo single. Maybe he’ll scorch one into deep center. Whatever it is, I’m watching, and the only bad part of watching Kyle Lewis hit is knowing I have to wait eight more batters to see it again. Tonight KLew had three hits, including a double, and two walks. He did not strike out. His OPS is 1.031. Mike Trout’s is .984. Is it time for Kyle Lewis to be up to bat again? I better wait right in front of my TV just in case.
So refreshing to see a young hitter like Kyle Lewis, controlling the K-zone, using the whole field and making contact palm up – palm down.
Let your eyes tell you what to do with the ball, hit it where is pitched.#shiftthis
— Manny Acta (@MannyActa14) August 23, 2020
Jijivisha is sort of a like joie de vivre, another phrase that doesn’t have an exact translation to English, but with more steely determination. Jijivisha is the bright flower that springs up from the concrete, an audacious hope, a joyful exultation, a determination to live, live, live. With Dylan Moore going on the IL today with a sprained wrist/tendon issue (the word for this feeling is the Portuguese saudade, a deep longing for something you have lost), Samuel Onofrio Haggerty is stepping into the Dylan Moore Memorial Jijivisha Wing. In his 17 plate appearances, Sam Haggerty has recorded five hits and stolen two bases when he’s gotten on. I will admit some skepticism seeing Haggerty’s name in the two-hole spot recently vacated by Dylan Moore (saudade intensifies), but Haggerty performed well tonight, collecting two singles, both his sharply. Live, Swaggerty, live.
A Goldilocks word meaning not too little, not too much, just the right amount. Kyle Seager isn’t Swedish to my knowledge, but he looks like he could be…well, not Swedish exactly, they’re really tall, maybe Swedish-adjacent? But there’s something about Kyle Seager that is very Swedish, all clean lines and un-adornment; make it businesslike, but pleasant. The only time Kyle Seager gets flashy is against the Rangers, it seems, but he was a fairly restrained version of himself tonight, with two hits and a sacrifice fly. Not Too Much, Just Enough: the Kyle Seager story.
Uff da (Norweigian/Gift Shoppese)
So uff da isn’t exactly unknown to us here in the Pacific Northwest, but something I feel gets lost about it a lot is that there’s concern built into it as a phrase—it’s not just “oh no!” or “oh shit!” but it’s also, “I’m sorry that happened to you!” Watching Shed Long struggle at the plate has been one big uff da lately, but tonight both Shed and the Shed Supporters got a much-needed win, and on his birthday, even!
Much better than a can of beans, this word translates to something like “as-if”, like when fantasy is so realistic that it temporarily becomes realistic. I’m not sure who was in charge of scripting the Evan White story for tonight—Evan White himself, I guess, but that answer isn’t any fun, or magic—but it was so perfect it almost felt like a dream. A week after the infamous Heyman Tweet, fans and foes alike calling for White to be sent to the alternate site, seeing him struggle so damn hard in a very un-Evan-White-like way, only to heat back up and go on a redemption tour, only to get dinged by a foul ball and have to be helped off the field in the middle of said redemption tour—and then he comes back tonight and does this:
White’s six RBI tie a rookie record for the Mariners set by none other than Willie F. Bloomquist himself, and to me, that is beautiful. And maybe after the pixie dust wears off or the clock strikes midnight or the hapless Rangers leave town, White goes back to struggling—growth isn’t linear, is the lesson of 2020 Mariners baseball but maybe also the lesson of 2020 itself—but nothing can take tonight away from him. No not even you, Jon.
I have been working on replanting my garden lately, something that has been long-neglected and therefore it’s a bigger job than it needs to be, clearing things out, reclaiming space from the weeds, healing the weeping cherry tree some undefined nefarious pest has been snacking on, fixing the sandy, poor soil…it sometimes feels like painting the Golden Gate Bridge, getting to one end only to have to turn around and start all over. And yet when I survey the garden at the end of a day of work, it fills me with a sense of pride, despite the work yet to be done. The Serbian word merak means something like that; small pleasures adding up to a great happiness or feeling of oneness with the universe. Every day in the bigs for Austin Nola must feel a little like that, scratching together a meaningful MLB career, scraping it up out of the dust and weeds of almost a decade spent toiling in the minors. Today is another day when Austin Nola can look at his name in the box score and see three hits, no strikeouts; nothing worldbeating, and three left on base, more work left to do, but another few feet of his space reclaimed, another few hits tallied after his name, more proof that he is a big-leaguer and not a footnote to his more famous brother. You can’t see me right now, Austin Nola, but I’m sitting in my now-blooming garden with the little white twinkly whites strung up around softening even the rough parts and raising a toast to you. To marek.