What the Mariners and the Mirror’s new sports reporter have in common

Introducing the Mirror’s new sports reporter, Benjamin Ray.

As the Mariners open up the division series with the Astros, I am starting my career in journalism as the new sports reporter for my hometown newspaper.

On Tuesday, I watched the Mariners get out to an early 4-0 lead, very similar to the first game in Toronto three days prior. Getting out in front early is a great life lesson as well. As someone who played sports growing up, in high school and in college, that feels like my 4-0 lead now that I am a reporter.

My journey to journalism hasn’t been the typical route. As a Decatur High School graduate, I had an opportunity to play baseball at the collegiate level and attended Grays Harbor College. Once my two years were up, I had no plans to play for a four-year school, but through an old teammate, I received a scholarship from the University of Jamestown in North Dakota. I majored in sports communication, and commented and wrote a lot in my college career.

But just because I had the four-run lead doesn’t mean I can get complacent.

The Astros struck back for two runs in the 4th inning on a Yordon Alverez double. Mariner pitcher Logan Gilbert wasn’t necessarily struggling, but he was trying to do too much. It was his first postseason start, and in big games and big situations, sometimes that gets to your head. Instead of relying on experience and coaching, Gilbert was trying to do everything himself. Ater a quick mound meeting by the pitching coach to bring Gilbert back down, he struck out Astros right fielder Kyle Tucker on four pitches.

Players who have that mentality of being able to reset I like to call “grinders.” My goal as a reporter and writer is to highlight those grinders, the players who work hard and deserve to be recognized. There are many players who put in a ton of hours behind the scenes. But since their games aren’t at 7 p.m on a Friday night, many people don’t watch them compete or know how dedicated they are to their sport.

I want to hear those stories and I want to share those athletes with the community.

And just like that, a JP Crawford homer and Julio Rodriguez triple put the M’s in front 6-2. Watching the Mariners play well against not only the Astros, but overall in the playoffs brings joy to so many fans. We have waited so long for this moment, and the fact that the team we all support and have such a passion for is playing so well gives fans hope, the old saying “True to the Blue” doesn’t quite capture our love for the team and city enough. After waiting my entire lifetime, and probably what felt like a lifetime for many fans, it seems like everyone in the entire Seattle area is just enjoying the ride.

As a former player and even those who never played the game, this just seems like the team that’s a blast to be around.

But some things do not go how we want. Too many of us it felt like our hearts were ripped out of our chest after the Mariners lost game one. With Houston scoring five runs in the final two innings, and the big one, a three-run homer from Yordan Alvarez. That is all I will say on the matter.

I look forward to serving my community and helping to showcase what great athletes, coaches and teams we have in our area.