This man is England's biggest Mariners fan
Like many Mariners fans, Bernard Smith became a fan during the club's miracle run of 1995 when superstars such Ken Griffey Jr., Randy Johnson, and Edgar Martinez led the team back from a 13-game division deficit in early August to make the playoffs.
But until last season, Smith had never seen a game in Seattle. And until this year, Smith had not seen a Mariners' win or home run.
Now, the resident of Leeds, England, can check all three off his list.
"I saw two games last year, and we never got a home run. I never saw a win," Smith said. "But this year was the highlight obviously, having come again, and the first two games against the Rangers we lost, no home run, and the third game, I saw my first home run, my first win … that was the highlight of anybody's baseball following career."
Smith is England's biggest Mariners fan, following the team for the past 18 years through the Internet and sporting the team's gear wherever he goes.
"I think everybody says to me when they know it's the Mariners, and they know where we are, 'You fall off the end of the earth when you get to Puget Sound there,' but it's just fate."
Smith first caught Mariners fever when he was touring the eastern seaboard of the United States in fall of 1995.
"I just happened to be there when [the Mariners] were two-games-to-love down, and they came back with the great, great Randy Johnson, and just straight away when they did that, it showed what you can do from adversity, and I've followed the Mariners ever since," Smith said.
Despite living in a country that is steeped in the traditions of soccer and cricket, despite the distance, and despite the time zone difference, Smith is loyal to the Mariners.
"I fell in love with the city and these people as well," Smith said. "That's brought me back, as well as the Mariners … It's a long, daunting journey when you get up and you have to leave home and you have to jump on a plane for ten-and-a-half hours and 5,000 miles, but the end product is well worth all the troubles and travails that you go through."
-- Ryan Hueter / MLB.com