You would think they could use a good strike about now.
They have no home. They have no dome. They've spent more time on the road than Charles Kurault. They lead the league only in most dirty clothes crammed into the same suitcases.Yes, it has been two and a half weeks since the Seattle Mariners left home, when it started raining ceiling tiles. And if no strike comes along to save them, they are going to take baseball's longest road trip of the 20th century.
So you would think they are one team that is rooting for a strike. But if you think that, you're wrong.
"Let me put it this way," Seattle's Jay Buhner told Week in Review. "I've got a chance to lose a million bucks if we strike. So you tell ME if it's good or bad. Somehow, I think I could suck it up for a couple more months for a million bucks."
Here's a look at the Mariners' insane sojourn:
-Just the facts: Mariners public relations whiz Dave Aust has ciphered that if there's no strike, these merry travelers will spend 32 days on the road, play 30 games in 10 cities and travel 14,228 fun-filled miles.
And that's assuming the Kingdome is fixed in time for their Aug. 22 homestand.
So this trip would be at least four days and four games longer than the 28-day, 26-game treks of the Expos in 1991 and the Astros in 1992 - making it the longest since the 1899 Cleveland Spiders fled town on the way to a 20-134 season and spent 52 straight days on the road.
-The suitcases: How do you pack for a trip that might last a month - or the rest of your life, whichever comes first? With the old jump-on-the-suitcase technique.
"When we left," Buhner said, "we had no idea how long we'd be gone. So basically, you just jam your suitcase as much as you can. Which came to about 10 days' worth. But then you buy a few things you didn't leave with, and it gets tough."
So what did Buhner buy that he didn't leave with? Two suitcases. What else?
-The Boskie detour: Remember Shawn Boskie? The Phillies traded him to the Mariners just in time for him to join Day One of this trip. It's now Day 18, and he already has seen more of America than he ever hoped to see. Almost.
"The way it stands now, I may never see the Kingdome," Boskie told Week in Review. "I got traded in July, and I may not ever see it. Pretty impressive, huh?"
-How's the family? Somewhere in a cobwebbed corner of their brains, the Mariners are pretty sure they left families back in Seattle. Or wherever.
In Boskie's case, he left his wife in Philadelphia, and she's still living there. Asked if he had much recollection of his wife, Boskie replied: "Oh yeah. I've got pictures in my wallet."
-Reservations, please: Here's Mariners traveling secretary Craig Detwiler on the fun he's been having: "I'd rather have my appendix taken out again."