Drellich: Red Sox sparking memories of record-breaking Mariners


BOSTON -- A 116-game winner is thinking the same thing you are.

“I was watching [the Red Sox play in] Toronto last night,” Mike Cameron said on Wednesday, a day after the Sox blew a lead in the ninth only to win in the 10th. "I’m like, 'Oh [expletive]. They’re back in the game, are you serious?'”

Indeed. The Sox don't really lose much these days.

“It’s somebody different every night,” said Cameron, the former Sox outfielder who played for the 116-win Mariners in 2001. “Things are happening. Two outs, ground ball at third base, tough hop, guy beats it out . . . Here we go.”

Cameron was a part of the ’01 Seattle club that posted the most regular-season wins in the live-ball era, a title the Sox have a chance to at least pursue. Today, Cameron's an aspiring media member with 17 years in the big leagues to back him up. (His son Daz is also on the cusp of starting his own major league career with the Tigers.) 

Cameron’s been called on before to talk about that famed Mariners team, most recently when the Dodgers were steamrolling everyone last year. As this Sox team kept trucking, he knew the inquiries would restart.


Good news: He thinks this year’s Sox team could reach the vaunted 116 figure. What Cameron questions is whether they’ll get the chance.

“It’s just a matter if they decide to play as much going into the stretch,” Cameron said. “That’s probably the biggest thing . . .  It seems like everybody they plug in every day, they’re getting the job done. They’re dominant.

“They have youth in the lineup and they have power pitching. We didn’t really have power pitching in our squad. That bodes well in October. So you know, it’s definitely something special.”

Cameron’s M’s didn’t make the World Series, running into a Yankees team in the American League Championship Series that was playing with the spirit of New York and much of the country behind it after 9/11.

The regular-season does come with some glory, though, when it's an all-time great performance.

It’s OK, right now, for a Red Sox fan to sit back and sip some good whiskey. In the age of mindfulness and living in the moment, it’s more than appropriate to marvel at what’s been going on at Brookline, Jersey and Van Ness. 

The Red Sox, winners of six in a row and 25 of 30, will get to 100 wins in their sleep, a first for them since 1946. Consider: There have been more perfect games in major league history than teams to win 80 or more of their first 114 games (dating to 1900). 

Cameron, who played for the Sox in 2010 and '11, was in his age-28 season in 2001. He was able to soak in a good amount of the journey, of the realization of the history he helped create, as it unfolded.

“For me, I think I thought about it a lot, because we won a lot of games in the seventh, eighth, ninth inning,” Cameron said. “So along with the jubilation of winning a game is like [a sense], ‘This is amazing, this is unbelievable.’ We are really tough to beat everyday.

“I always thought about it because I’m like, ‘This is unbelievable. This is like playing 12U where you’re dominating everybody.”

Ideally, Sox players have the same recognition of their feats.

But remember, there is some luck involved.


“Oh, no doubt about it all,” Cameron said. “Because after a while, when you play well for so long, it's just, in the baseball world and the baseball Gods and the baseball mentality of a player, you believe you’re going to be lucky. You just believe that. You start to really speak the language of luck and confidence at the same time.”

Among the things that stand out for Cameron about '01. He remembers Lou Piniella, who had some Billy Martin in him, scolding the clubhouse in spring training: There’s no light switch to flip. The M’s never found the off position.

But he also remembers being in New York, having a great day at the plate and chatting with Derek Jeter at second base.

“Jeter was like, ‘You guys are playing good man. We’ll see you in October,' ” Cameron said, “‘ 'We’ll see you in October.’ And it just made me think like, ‘Damn -- it still goes through New York,' you know?”

Sox fans do. And the Yanks and Sox could be on a first-round collision course. If the Sox win the division with the best record in the majors, a likelihood, and the Yanks subsequently survive a one-game Wild Card playoff, they’d face off in the Division Series.

We’ll see. For now, this is a ride that should be savored.


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