Mariners’ Paul Sewald: T-Mobile Park had different feeling before clincher
Oct 3, 2022, 5:21 PM | Updated: Oct 4, 2022, 11:36 am
(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
The Mariners’ drought-ending, postseason-clinching win on Friday night was a moment anyone who was at T-Mobile Park will always remember.
That is certainly the case for veteran Mariners reliever Paul Sewald, the team’s leader in saves with 20 this season.
“It’s a moment in a season I will never forget,” Sewald told Seattle Sports’ Wyman and Bob on Monday. “I haven’t been a part of the 21-year drought, but I felt it as much as anybody last year and I’m excited that we ended it this year.”
But there’s something else from that day that stands out to him.
“The second I got to the field, this whole place just felt differently,” Sewald told Seattle Sports’ Wyman and Bob on Monday. “There was like an eerie sense of silence before everybody got there, (and) you could feel it the second you walked out for the anthem.”
That perhaps made the events of the ninth inning, and the celebration that went on for hours after at the ballpark, all that much more special.
“I feel like we all had the same disbelief, that of course that’s the way it happened,” Sewald said about catcher Cal Raleigh’s pinch-hit, walk-off homer that clinched the franchise’s first playoff berth since 2001. “That’s the way the Mariners do it, right? Of course we’re going to do it on a walk-off. Who better than Cal Raleigh this year to do it? Just a storybook ending that, you know, not even Hollywood could write.”
The fans sticking around in their seats, celebrating and waiting for the team to come back out on the field after popping champagne in the clubhouse, was another Hollywood-esque moment of the night.
“They were there hours after that last hit, and so it was it was pretty fun to share with the fans,” he said.
The team’s relationship with the fans is something taken to heart by Sewald, who resurrected his career after four seasons with the Mets with a breakout 2021 after joining Seattle on a minor league deal. Especially when considering how long the M’s fans have waited for a return to the postseason.
“I just can’t be more thankful for the Mariners fans and the people of Seattle welcoming me with open arms and just being ultra supportive of everybody in this organization at all times,” he said. “You know, two decades of pain is a long time to go without any sort of hope and any sort promise, and that didn’t stop everybody from packing T-Mobile Park what seemed like every weekend all season long. Even in the darkest days of late May and early June when our playoff odds were practically nothing, the fans were still out there, still supportive.
“They’ve been reaching out on social media for months saying how great everything has been and how excited they are for this team, and the flood of appreciation from fans the last couple days has been pretty special.”
The Mariners still have to wrap up the regular season this week, and there is a chance they could sneak into the top wild card spot from the American League before opening the playoffs on Friday. Once they get there, whether it’s as the top wild card or another of the three total spots, Sewald expects the team’s trademark chemistry to shine through.
“That’s what makes us such a great unit, that’s why there’s a different hero every night, because everyone knows that they have a role on this team and that’s what got us to this point of going to the playoffs,” he said. “And if we’re going to do any damage in the playoffs, it’s gonna be the same thing. It’s gonna be a different guy every night. Everybody knows that.”
You can listen to the full conversation with Sewald in the podcast at this link or in the player below.