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Mariners fans still 'believe' after heartbreaking end to the team's season

The Seattle Mariners' run for the playoffs ended Sunday as the Red Sox and Yankees both secured wild-card spots.

SEATTLE — It was a heartbreaking end to the season for Mariners fans, especially those who have been waiting years to see them back in the playoffs. 

The last few weeks have been filled with newfound excitement and a push to "believe" as yellow and blue signs popped up all around Seattle.

It's easy to believe when you're on top, or almost there. Everyone loves a good comeback, but the real fans are those who've hung around for the lean years, the losing years - fans like Joe Sundal.

“It's been hard to be a Mariners fan but it's worth every penny,” Sundal said. 

Sundal bought tickets for Sunday’s game way before the “believe” bandwagon had rolled into town.  

“We bought these tickets in July. We didn't know today was going to be today,” Sundal said.

It seems old school and new fans came united around the rallying cry for hope as “believe” signs popped up just about everywhere. 

“The believe thing is real. It's a throwback of 'refuse to lose,'” Sundal explained. “It's something that's uniting this town."

In a city that usually hands the fall fanfare over to the Seahawks, the M's kept the attention at T-Mobile Park this year.

“Coming to a game, everything is electric ... it's just fun,” Alyson Sundal said.

For so many it is about a lot more than baseball, local business owners started to “believe” as they saw a surge in customers.  

“The crowds are finally back. The last three days have been awesome,” hot dog vendor Randy Stevenson explained.

As businesses see their turnaround, things are improving for Joe Sundal and his daughter Alyson.

“We’ve had really crappy years,” Alyson Sundal explained.  “I just got my job back after 19 months of unemployment and sports is something that makes everybody happy.”

Joe lost his father during the pandemic and was finally able to say goodbye this week. 

So, even with the Mariners season ending Sunday with a 7-3 loss to the Los Angeles Angels, it might be fitting to swap out “believe” with “hope,” and a brighter future for the fans who saw a little bit of themselves in the team that never gave up.

“It’s like being a Seattleite, you live through all the rain because you believe the sun will come,” Sundal said.

Plus, there’s always next season.

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