March 26th, 2000
The Kingdome Dies
Home for many years to the Seattle Mariners and Seahawks, the Kingdome was replaced with single-use stadiums for each team and passed away from implosion on this date. I would discuss the best game to ever take place there, but I already have, Game 5 of the 1995 ALDS, described here. Since I don't do football--and the Seahawks have always been pretty lousy anyway--I'll describe the events that put the Mariners into that ALDS, a series that most would never have expected them to be in.
On August 13th, 1995 the Mariners lost 6-3 to the Royals to drop their record to 50-49. They were in third place in the AL West, eleven and a half games behind the division leading California Angels and a game and a half behind the second place Texas Rangers. From that point on, the Mariners and Angels would post records that were almost perfect opposites, the M’s going 29-17 (.630) while the Halos went just 16-29 (.355). By September 1st, the M's had shaved five games off the Angels' lead and left Texas a game behind them. Their comeback efforts seem to stall however as on September 7th, with just twenty-two games left, the Mariners found themselves six games out of first place. However, the Mariners went on an incredible 17-5 run to end the season, including a seven game winning steak from September 18th through the 26th. Meanwhile, the Angels went just 10-12 over the same period, propelling the Mariners into first place.
To the Angels credit however, they refused to fold and went 5-1 over the season's last six games compared to the Mariners' 3-3, and ended the year tied with identical 78-66 records, setting up a final game for the division, to be played at the Kingdome on October 2nd, 1995. The game was tense through the first six innings as the M's held a 1-0 lead behind Randy Johnson. However, the Mariner offense exploded in the 7th and 8th, scoring a combined eight runs off the Angels' bullpen (the only Halos reliever to remain unscathed was John Habyan) and Randy Johnson turned in one-run, twelve strikeout complete game sending the Mariners east to face the Yankees.