I remember stumbling upon Jon Bois’ work back in the early 2010's with his "Pretty Good" series on YouTube and being in such awe of his fascinating story telling ability through the use of Google earth, charts, graphs, jpeg images, and other nonsensical miscellaneous items that he got his hands on.
Yet, with how insignificant each part seemed to be on its lonesome, together they contributed to this mystical awe-inspiring charm that is unmatched in the realm of YouTube content. See, Jon Bois as a sportswriter, as a storyteller, and ultimately as a documentarian has been unparalleled this past decade. However, it is within The History of the Seattle Mariners where Bois creates his titular moment to transcend beyond the nominal title of a “content creator” to a trailblazing artist.
The History of the Seattle Mariners is a collection of tales about a baseball team that I personally dislike, due to my die-hard loyalty to the Angels. However biases aside, I found myself genuinely falling in love and getting emotional over a Major League Baseball team that has no accomplishments to show for, other than drafting and developing a handful of god-like talented players that are beloved by millions of baseball fans across the world. And yet that’s all that seems to matter at the end of it all. The gargantuan “Death Star” squad, as Bois bluntly puts it, from the late 90’s and the Ichrio led 116-46 2001 squad both couldn’t achieve the lauded Commissioner's Trophy, let alone even make it to the Fall Classic. But, it’s made clear that even if they won the title, just once, it wouldn’t have added anything substantial to the already absolutely fascinating nature of the Mariners.
The idea here is that Jon Bois and Alex Rubenstein, co-writer and co-narrator, are presenting us with a story of a team that would normally be categorized as a tragedy. A team that came so close to immortality, a team that garnered immense talent, a team that at the peak of their powers couldn’t achieve the ultimate goal. Yet all of that didn’t matter. What truly mattered was achieving the understanding that as a fan, as a human we celebrate the great things we have and had in the moment. What you see is what you get. And in this case, the Seattle Mariners and their fans got a triumph in pure unbridled love for the sport.
“Before he vanished forever, nearby resident Roger Szmodis, who suggested the name of this team, also supplied an explanation for why he liked the name: ‘I’ve selected Mariners because of the natural association between the sea and Seattle and her people, who have been challenged and rewarded by it.’” - Jon Bois.
Films I watched this week, 2/21 - 2/28:
Persona - Ingmar Bergman 5/5
Dekalog VII - Krzysztof Kieślowski 4/5
The History of the Seattle Mariners - Jon Bois 5/5
PlayTime - Jacques Tati 4/5
Funny Games - Michael Haneke 4.5/5