"We have a special guest who's joining us here in the broadcast booth," said Mariners' television announcer Rick Rizzs.
"Comedian David Spade."
Spade, best known for being Chris Farley's sidekick in Tommy Boy and Black Sheep, wasted no time in turning the M's broadcast into a complete joke.
He cheered fly balls that barely reached the outfield - much like the annoying fan you that always seems to sit behind you at the ballpark. He went nuts when a ball was hit into the stands, exclaiming, "There's a concussion!" And to make matters even worse, he was the biggest Blue Jays fan in the building.
Toronto tied it at 2-2, then moved ahead by two on Vernon Wells blast to left field. Spade applauded, stating on the broadcast, "I got his autograph before the game and the value of that is going to go up now."
It was so bad that Rizzs and Ron Fairly had to, in their nicest way, thank Spade for his appearance and basically kick him off the broadcast two outs into the inning.
That was the beginning of the curse.
Since Spade's brief appearance, the M's have lost four games in a row. They dropped Wednesday's game to little-known 26-year-old Josh Showers. Thursday, it was Mt. Vernon native Mark Hendrickson who mowed the M's down. Friday the M's lost to Jeff Suppan for the first time ever as Joel Pineiro got shelled early. And on Friday, Seattle battled back to tie the game in the ninth but ultimately lost on a ball tagged by Kevin Millar off the glove of centerfielder Mike Cameron.
Count 'em up. Four losses in a row at a time when Seattle needs every win they can. Entering Sunday's games, Oakland had drawn two games behind Seattle and the American League West race is tighter than ever.
So before you go blame Jeff Cirillo's .206 batting average, the team's tired arms or John Olerud batting only .260 for the Mariners' late-season struggles, think again.
Think David Spade, some poor attempts at humor, and the curse of 2003.