SEATTLE — Perhaps no one is experiencing more joy in watching the 2022 Seattle Mariners than CEO John Stanton.
"I'm awesome," he told KING 5's Jake Whittenberg. "I mean, how can life possibly be any better after Friday night?"
Cal Raleigh hit a walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth inning Friday night to send the team to the playoffs for the first time in 21 years.
Stanton purchased a minority stake in the franchise in 2000. The team made the postseason the following year.
But then came the drought.
"It really wasn't until after 2017, when I took on this new role, that I really started thinking about the length of the drought and how hard it was on this community," Stanton said.
Stanton, a life-long resident of the Seattle area, made his wealth in wireless technology. Forbes estimates he's worth $1.1 billion. But you wouldn't know it when you see him at the games.
He's almost always behind home plate, keeping score on a handwritten scorecard as if he's attending a little league game for his children.
"For me, (baseball) is a connection with my father," Stanton said. "He was a World War II vet. I remember playing in the backyard with him. And I remember playing catch with my sons."
The love of the game has always been a part of who he is. And now that his team is embarking on a historic run into the postseason, he's one of the happiest baseball fans you'll find in Seattle.
Stanton said the current team is successful because of its culture. And it's poised for a deep playoff run.
"Sometimes I refer to it as having a mayor and a sheriff," Stanton said. "You have someone who's welcoming everyone in and someone else who's saying, 'You've got to do your part.'"
It's hard to wipe the smile off Stanton's face right now. It's as if he's back at home, playing catch with dad.
"I'm living my dream," Stanton said. "Isn't this what it's all about?"
The Mariners' 2022 postseason will begin Friday afternoon against the Toronto Blue Jays at 1:07 p.m. The wild card round is a best-of-3 series.