Chasing Jamie.

It appears my best-case scenario for the Seattle Mariners is finally coming through. All I really wanted from day one was to have a summer worth rooting for. I needed them to get me from the NBA to the NFL and by jove they've done it with flying colors. Now, the Mariners, shall die.

Sure it's only a seven game losing streak; sure we've gone through this before only to bounce back with a ton of wins. But, you can just feel that there's something different going on here. Hear that squealing sound? That's the last bits of air being pinched out of the balloon, and for the life of me I don't see the September Call-Ups inflating our season one iota.

The bullpen's trashed! That's the nutshell right there. The batters - with the exception of Ichiro and Richie Sexson - have been hitting above and beyond their abilities for so long it's unreal. Our starters - the scourge of this otherwise average team - just can't pull out that complete game when it matters most. Felix - playing with half of his ass in reserve - won't ever return to his early-season dominant form until he can finally alleviate all concern about his injury-prone pitching arm. John McLaren - the toast of Seattle for his bonzer makeshift job in the wake of Grover's resignation - is showing why he's been a career Bench Coach with suspect pitching decisions (like, choosing to pitch to Vlad EVER) and his utterly mind-fucking reluctance to bench Sexson.

I saw this coming. Well, not exactly. I saw the Mariners in the AL West race through August, but I also saw Anaheim being worse then they actually are. Nevertheless, I saw the Mariners being competitive to this point and then faltering miserably down the stretch under the intense pressure of a playoff race hardly anybody's mentally prepared for. In that respect, I consider this season a success; they've given me something to read about on a daily basis when there's little other sports activity. Now, the NFL is getting into full swing, the Huskies are playing nationally televised games, and pretty soon we'll be staring down Sonics preseason with Kevin Durant. Thank you Mariners for bridging the gap.

As for next year? It's hard to be optimistic. Either Horacio Ramirez or Jeff Weaver are going to throw a couple monster games in the final month, thus fooling our idiotic front office into thinking they can parlay that into a full season of monster games. Miguel Batista will probably contend for a Number 1 starting spot, but there's no way he'll replicate what he's managed this year. Washburn will continue to talk a good game and throw a gaggle of 10-hit, 5-inning suckfests. And Felix will be Felix, all potential and no production. Our bullpen will probably be purged in ill-advised trades for more lackluster jerk-asses. And our hitting lineup will look mostly the same except our bench will be even worse because Ben Broussard will be gone (probably); Jose Vidro will be disgruntled because he's gotta platoon somewhere because there's no way Adam Jones isn't a starting outfielder for us; Richie Sexson will put in a ton of extra work in the offseason, he'll proclaim that he's found the solution to this year's problems ... and he'll proceed to give us another Mendoza-like effort; all the while, Ichiro will adopt a severe Sake habit to counter the depression over signing that 6-year deal on a club that's as good as it's going to get right now.

Seven game losing streak when it matters most, one game (and counting) behind the Yankees, and an insurmountable deficit against the Angels. Morons will tell you there's still a chance for the AL West, but I'm here to tell you there's not even a chance for the Wild Card. Don't believe me? Come back Wednesday night when the Mariners are fresh off a debilitating sweep thanks to the Yankees of New York. That smell? That's not the Bronx burning, that's the 2007 Seattle Mariners season going up in a flaming pile of shit