Fridays at Safeco

I have decided to reinstate this feature. The weather is gray and depressing and it looks like it will be raining all weekend, so a little baseball cheer is needed. Plus, until Spring Training gets truly underway, it might be the only way I can maintain this space. To the photos!

halfroofThis one was actually taken yesterday afternoon on my way to the car after work. It’s not often that you see the roof split up into its multiple pieces. Yesterday was such a day. I also saw someone walking along the rails a bit before he disappeared down the ramp to the Terrace Club. I can only assume they’re getting things ready for the start of the season; because you know it will probably be raining on Opening Day.

choirA children’s choir gets ready to sing the National Anthem prior to a game last year. I don’t remember which game it was, but I vaguely remember that it was not a game in my plan (because I sat in left field last year), and that I was there for that specific game (might have been fireworks or a certain giveaway). I also remember this particular Anthem being very cute. One of the many variations that we get at the park yearly.

sign backFinally, a windy but warm day in the upper deck. Probably earlier in the year, judging by the snow on the Olympics in the background. Maybe May or early June. This photo gets taken a lot by fans and the organization alike, but it’s an amazing view, isn’t it?  It’s best when the sun is going down in the west, super low in a pink and orange sky.

We have another week yet before pitchers and catchers report, but baseball really can’t start soon enough. It’s been a rough, dark, wet winter, and from what I understand, today’s black skies and rain are going to extend into the weekend. Like many others I’m sure, I’ve been spending my days dreaming of green grass, warm winds, hot dogs and beer, longing for the months where the days are longer and the game is back. Only 55 mor days!

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Mariners FanFest Saturday

I’m sitting here waiting for the NHL All-Star game to start (something I generally don’t care much about, but that is a story for another time), so let’s talk yesterday’s FanFest. I actually debating going again today, but I should stay home and get some things done around the house, watch some hockey, spend a little time relaxing before my work week kicks in.

I woke up at 7, maybe the earliest I’ve woken up on purpose on a Saturday morning for a while. For the past few years, the Mariners have offered a season ticket holder ‘fest prior to the main event at 11. While some folks go to that and leave before the gates open, I planned on staying the whole day; this is about more than just free breakfast and the ability to get in before the other 10,000+ people did for me. I grabbed a bus, got off at 2nd and Seneca, and had a nice peaceful downtown walk to the stadium, while talking to my mother on the phone for a bit. The city was quiet, and the buzz around the Seattle Boat Show and even Safeco was low and sleepy. I got to walk past the crowd of a few hundred people who had already started gathering in lines to get into the home plate side of the park, and joined what seemed like a terrifically long line to get into the right field entrance. I might have waited about 10 minutes or so, though; it went pretty quick. Daniel (Carroll, who writes here occasionally) and his mother were already inside up in the Terrace Club.

I got my ticket scanned, received a lanyard with an STH pass on it, and took some stairs to get to the Terrace Club, where everything was already underway. I snapped off a blurry photo with my phone while I was waiting in line for some continental breakfast.

IMG_0310 I polished off my croissant, a piece of fruited bread, and a small cup of coffee just to take the edge off, and nabbed two bananas in case the places serving food downstairs took too long to open. I missed both a photo opportunity with Kyle Seager (which was apparently very short-lived), and an autograph from James Paxton and another player whose name I do not know. But that’s alright. I never go for that stuff anyway.

We wanted to take a walk around the main concourse, and my goal was to talk to the SABR guys; Daniel’s was to throw in the bullpen before it got too crowded. We stopped off at various booths along the way. The Ms put up a nice tribute to Dave Henderson over right field. Henderson was before my time, so I don’t have any emotional ties to him, but when he passed away, there was nothing but good and kindness from everyone who knew him. He seemed to be a man worthy of a much larger display than this, but I also liked the singular solemnity of it, too. Rest in peace, Dave.

IMG_7389Further down the line, there was this thing. I don’t know why, but I love stuff made of balloons; I don’t seek it out or anything, I just think it’s an interesting art. There was a giant Moose somewhere either last year or the year before, and there were also several giant baseball bats made this year, mainly standing by the activities geared more towards kids.

IMG_7390Down the road a bit more, there was a table with a ton of game-used or game-issued gear for, quite honestly, pretty cheap. Daniel looked at the batting helmets and discovered he fits nicely into one that Jesus Sucre wore. We also found Tom Wilhelmsen’s batting helmet. That cloudy bit isn’t glare from the lights; it’s dust!

Screen Shot 2016-01-31 at 11.40.52 AM.pngI think it was $60. Kind of a steal, if you think about it. Now that I’m thinking about it, I completely spaced off going back to Mariners Care to pick up a ball or bat. Bugger. Next year, perhaps.

Continuing on, we stopped and spoke to the guys at the SABR table, and I finally found out what $60/year membership gets you; several different books on baseball, a yearly guide, four chapter meetings that are held on Saturdays at one of the Seattle colleges up around Capitol/First Hill, the big yearly meeting that is held every year in various cities, and a myriad other things that I can’t remember at the moment. It actually sounds like a pretty good deal, if you ask me. I signed their list and am expecting to get some details within the next week or so.

Next stop was the King’s Court area to vote on some t-shirts.

IMG_7394Then down to The Pen to check out the Edgar’s Cantina situation and so Daniel could go into the bullpen. Behold! Serious pitchface.

IMG_7395I have a terrible arm and forgot my glove, so I didn’t bother. There is always next year.

The Pen had this activity, an area to walk to center field to hit balls off tees, and then up on the party deck were a Root Sports green screen where you could have yourself ‘shopped into various interview scenarios. I debated it, but didn’t feel like having my picture taken, so I just watched other people get theirs done for a bit. The Hall of Fame was taking the space where the broadcasting deck usually is, and the guys manning it were trying to sell people on group travel for Ken Griffey Jr’s induction later this year. Daniel and his mom had already signed up online, and were talking to one of the gentlemen about it, and another guy walked up to me and handed me a trip package pricing sheet, and clearly if I want to see Ichiro or anyone else get inducted, I should probably start saving now. He started his sales spiel, and I just flat out told him I couldn’t afford it, and he lost interest in me immediately. They were playing Randy Johnson’s speech from last year, though, so I got to see a little bit of that.

We headed over to Edgar’s to get a drink and some tacos, and waiting for my friend Mike – a Mets fan – to arrive so we could all find each other in one place. After tacos were consumed, Daniel and his mother went downstairs to check out the locker room and Mariners Melee for a bit, and Mike and I wandered around the center and right field area to get to Dugout Dialogue and to meet my friend Su. We got to see Boog Powell and Drew Jackson take some questions from the audience. That’s a King Felix scarf that Aaron Goldsmith is wearing, and it is fantastic.

IMG_7398What I really wanted to hear this year was Jerry Dipoto. I’ve seen pictures of him at press conferences but I have not yet heard him speak, and hearing him speak to fans and watching how he deals with questions is important. Jack Zduriencik was good at this, and was very accommodating when it came to fan questions, and while the questions are sort of pre-screened by the people with the microphones working the crowd, a fan with a microphone can still be a dangerous thing.

IMG_7400Dipoto fielded questions as well as you’d expect someone in his job to be able to, but there is something less guarded about him than there was with Zduriencik. One thing that stuck out in particular was his fandom. He noted that,”I’m just like you guys, I’m a fan. When I wake up in the morning, I’m a fan.” I don’t know that Zduriencik ever said that (out loud, anyway), and I’m not sure how many GMs feel that way. Surely there must be a degree of it, because you’d have to love that job. But Dipoto really does seem to love this job, and his opportunity here. He smiled a lot, even after Brad Adam hit him up to buy Adam’s daughter’s Girl Scout Cookies. He has an extremely easy demeanor about him, and it wasn’t all business; there’s a regular guy in there with a sense of humor and a love of the game, and I really hope it works out for everyone. I ran into marketing VP Kevin Martinez later after this interview, and he said Dipoto has been great to work with so far, at several different levels of the organization. It all helped reinforce some positivity. Dipoto also briefly addressed the situation in LA with Mike Scioscia – so briefly that I missed it – but anyone willing to be honest about their hardships with a previous employer without trying to candy coat things is going into this right. There are about two or so minutes of yesterday’s interview located here. I didn’t tape anything, but I should have gotten a Christmas Carol with lyrics arranged to pay tribute to Dipoto’s new start here, and sung by members of the Seattle Mariners Women’s Club. They got a huge ovation, and Dipoto seemed to really appreciate it.

After this interview, we all went our separate ways, and Mike and I took a walk around the bases. I do this every year, and it never gets old. You’d think that the ropes and attendants keeping you from running amok would detract from the experience, but they just don’t.

IMG_7402.JPG

We walked into the visitor’s dugout a bit just so Mike could say he’d done it, and then wandered downstairs to check out some things. Mariners Melee – a quiz style show where you team up with total strangers (or friends, if you like) and answer questions about statistics and other baseball trivia. The team on the right, who called themselves The Legion of Boomstick won, if memory serves.

IMG_7403

We checked out the Eskenazi collection of the history of baseball, and then got in line to go visit the team locker room. An attendant saw my STH lanyard and urged us to go to the front. I protested that Mike didn’t have a lanyard, and she shoo’d us into the other line anyway. Well, OK then, why not?

IMG_7404When we got back up to the main concourse, Charlie Furbush and Steve Clevenger had taken over, but they were nearly done, so I snapped off a shot and we continued so Mike could see the roof control room.

IMG_7405.JPGWe figured that the control room would not be a huge attraction, being it’s a tiny room that only a handful of people can fit in, and while the operator does have some interesting  facts and figures about the roof, it’s not as if you can touch anything or move the roof around. We were wrong! There was a huge line when we got up there. After a very short moment of debate, Mike decided against it, and we stood in the bleachers for a bit, looking at the view.

IMG_7406And what a view it is!

The remaining hour and a half were spent in Edgar’s, meeting up with my friend Tom and  shortly thereafter Su joined us, and I kept an eye on the monitor while Scott Servais was interviewed. We just chatted about baseball and hockey and whatever else, and around 3.30 decided it was time to leave. It’s just about 1PM right now, and I would love to go back down there, but it’s an awful lot of effort just for a hot dog and some atmosphere. Plus, it looks like some rain is rolling in, so I’ll just stay indoors where it’s warm.

My hopes are not exagerated for this year. No amount of discussion or analyis will prove a winning season or determine the future of a baseball team. But I feel like we are in good hands. Dipoto says he feels that one of the most crucial moves he’s made so far is the acquisition of Leonys Martin. Only time will tell if that’s the case, and I disagree with the Wilhelmen and Carter Smith moves, but finding out if they were the right thing to do is what will make this season fun. We have a fresh start, and this FanFest weekend is only the beginning. Stay warm out there today!

 

 

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Seattle Mariners FanFest Tomorrow!

 

I dropped by the stadium yesterday with the intent to buy a holiday sweater for the weekend’s festivities. I try to layer due to the cold, but either I don’t layer quite enough, or I layer too much. I figured a sweater would be a good move, but unfortunately discovered that they are very much cut for men; a tight trunk with very long sleeves. I could have opted for a larger size, but then I would have had too much sleeve, and it would have been baggy and boxy, and there are just some things I can’t get away with. But if you’re a guy and you like sweaters and the Mariners, the team store has just the thing  for you. I escaped with a light hoodie with a layer of fleece piling inside; that under a winter coat should keep me warm outside and keep me from roasting too much indoors.

sweatersI really wanted that gray one. Ah well.

The Mariners are also in the process of upgrading the images on the west side of the building. The designs have been either the same or very similar for about 2-3 years now, so I suppose it is time for a change. The walls look very strange without any player photos on them. It is a rare sight.

no pic wallThe new designs are simpler and cleaner than the previous designs, but the player pictures are smaller, and first and last names are featured, rather than just first. I will be keen to see what they look like when the whole thing is done, which, according to Kevin Martinez on Twitter, should be sometime today. The different team colors currently in use are represented as well. I kind of dig it. The ones up so far appear to all be action shots (Felix is to the right of Seager, but I didn’t get him in this picture), and I think they’re more exciting than in previous years, where there was some portraiture instead. This also matches the general theme of the permanent photos on the north wall by left field, where all of them are action shots and a montage of some of the better times from the past.

pic wallThose coming through the home plate entrance (there were scanners set up over the left field entrance, so I am assuming that maybe that entrance will be operative as well) will be greeted by balloons with a baseball touch:

safeco interiorThe activities and general set up are still pretty much the same as they are every year. Leonys Martin was scheduled to attend but apparently had a family emergency that will keep him away. I’m a little bummed about that, but hope everything is well for him. I think I am mostly looking forward to hearing Jerry Dipoto and Scott Servais speak; I haven’t had the opportunity to do that since they were hired, and am interested to see how they talk to this fanbase and what kind of first impression I might get from them. I am going to try to remember to charge and bring my camera as well, and there will be a full report for anyone who still reads this space and can’t make it.

scheduleBut most of all, I am going to try as much as possible to really enjoy this day, as I do every year. I’ll be attending the season ticket holder Fanfest that takes place on the Terrace Club level before the main gates open as well, so tomorrow will be a full day. Daniel has been kind enough to front me the money for the season (due to JJ’s surgery last year and my trip to Denver this year, my own season tickets were simply not financially feasible), and we’ll be upstairs in section 3-twenty-something for 2016. Now, I just have to suffer the next 6 or so hours of work and this evening before waking up early to go to my “happiest place on earth”.  Hope to see a lot of people I know there; we all keep in touch over Twitter, but there is nothing like being able to be immersed in baseball culture in the park, surrounded by baseball people of all ages, and I can hardly wait.

Also, fair warning, the Seattle Boat Show is happening this weekend too, so be aware of parking and foot traffic in that area.

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To DH Or Not To DH

With Mariners FanFest nigh upon us, it seems like the 2016 baseball season is so close…but it’s also so far away. The weather is still cold, but there are twinges of spring in the air; I noticed that the edge to the chill we have been experiencing over the past few weeks had gone away a bit the other night while on my way back home from a Target run. It was even a little sunny last weekend, though of course it did not last long. Seattle favors the gray and fog during the winter months, and spring has to fight to get here, even past the point of when it should be settled in. Our home openers are often fought under wet or even snowy skies (seriously, remember when it snowed back in like 2009 or something?) with fans bundled up in as many layers as possible, huddled under the rolling roof of Safeco, sometimes ill-protected from the sideways rain coming in over left field (I say, as if I’d had some experience with that or something). But the hours march on, and baseball is coming.

If you’re not an analyst, there isn’t much to talk about in the world of baseball after the winter meetings, and Jerry Dipoto seems to have stayed true to his word that no other moves of significance would be made after December. All 30 teams currently seem to be experiencing a calm before the storm, and news coming out of anyone is minor league and prospect in nature. But baseball fans are going to debate some things every year when they get bored, and if it’s not steroid policies, it’s the Hall of Fame, and if it’s not that, it’s Yankees fans talking about whether or not New York should make a play for Felix Hernandez, and if it’s not that, it’s a team switching from NL to AL, or a change in balk rules (seriously, I still haven’t figured out how to immediately identify a balk), or like this year, a rumored change in the designated hitter rule.

Of course, MLB has come out in the last few days and insisted that they have no intention of revoking or changing one of the last things that differentiates the American league from the National. I am unsure where the original story might have come from that it was even up for debate; I just know that it was talked about online for about a week or so until this announcement came out. One thing is for sure though; a lot of fans feel very solidly on one side or the other. There are arguments on both sides for why or why not the DH should exist, and if you do feel strongly about the subject, you have mentally outlined and probably verbally presented your argument several times over the years to anyone who will listen; and indeed, thought it’s one more aspect of the game that none of us have any control over, it is a fun topic to discuss. I’ll just get it out of the way right now and say that I am pro-DH. That might have more to do with the fact that I am the fan of an AL team than anything else. But while I am pro-DH, unlike many other pro-DH fans, I am not anti- pitchers batting.

Starting pitchers are of course a very important commodity. Given the money that most of these guys make, the DH makes sense; when the pitcher’s not batting, he doesn’t run as much of a risk of being hit by a pitch, getting beaned, or of being retaliated against for a real or imagined indiscretion. He can concentrate on honing his true skill, rather than having to spend time taking batting practice, and that results in higher pitch speeds, less finesse pitching, and higher pay for the players in question. And there is something neatly poetic about having that guy on your team (or maybe I’m just saying that as someone who has that guy on their team). It’s nice to be able to watch two parts to the team; pitchers and position players in the AL seem like two separate mini-teams where each part has a job to do, and they are both separate parts of the machine.

But I also like watching pitchers bat. A lot of fans think that pitchers batting is silly, some for their own reasons, some for a lot of the reasons I listed above. There isn’t that feeling of two parts of a National League team, but there is something different; the whole machine. Everyone works towards the same end in a lot of the same way. Pitchers in the NL, generally speaking, aren’t topping out at throwing speeds in the upper 90s, but they’re also not forced to bunt when they get to the plate, or try and take a walk if they can’t swing. The NL’s way of playing the game like it was originally played makes interleague play more fun to watch. It keeps a little history in a game that has lost a lot of it, and creates a reason for there to be two different leagues; having two different leagues both with or without a DH seems kind of bizarre to me, personally. I’m sure a lot of that is that I’m used to the way things are, but it does feel pointless to have two leagues if there aren’t any differences between them at all. Our guys have to figure out a strategy that is going to get men on base in National parks, and the NL pitchers get a break from having to come to the plate. The AL also has to suss out their best bet for DH. Sometimes they’re good at it, sometimes they’re not *cough*KendrysMorales*cough* but it’s part of overall strategy evolving out of having two different sets of rules.

There is part of me that wishes that there was no interleague play; it makes the World Series less of a question mark, because nearly everyone has seen each other during the season at some point; and now that the Astros have moved to the AL, that is even more true. We face more NL teams now than ever since 2013, and interleague play goes on all year, as opposed to the little pocket in the middle of the season surrounding the All Star Game. I guess it’s nice that there’s a higher chance I’m going to be able to see either the Phillies or the Diamondbacks more frequently, but it was comfortable prior to this switch because opposing teams in the AL were just easier to keep track of. I was used to it. We saw them a ton during the regular season, we sort of knew our enemy, and frankly, it was easier to write about; this isn’t my job (painfully obviously), and keeping track of 375 guys was already hard enough, without throwing another 375 into the mix. But it does keep things interesting, I guess; and since trades between leagues are so frequent, it’s nice to have even a small look at who might be yours in the future. And interleague play makes things like Felix Hernandez’s grand slam happen. Anyone who witnessed that won’t ever forget it; and it’s events like that that make baseball worth watching.

This argument is always going to be more emotional than practical, I think; this post is not nearly as logical as I wanted it to be when I started writing, because I see the arguments on both sides and have my own set of emotions about the subject. While there are certainly practical reasons for making the rules the same across both leagues, I personally would prefer to just keep things the way they are. I’m glad that MLB is going to do that, and will enjoy it for however long it lasts.

See you at Fan Fest!

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Australian Baseball?! Yeah, Buddy!

I have (very) recently been delving lightly into the world of Australian baseball.

The Australian Baseball League has been around in one form or another since the early 1990s, but its current incarnation started in 2010. It is a professional baseball organization, with professional players, a four-month season, real baseball stadiums, and set teams. MLB minor leaguers also join in the fun, so Aussie baseball counts as a winter league with multiple skill levels and six teams; The Brisbane Bandits, Sydney Blue Sox, Canberra Cavalry, Melbourne Aces, Adelaide Bite, and these teams’ west coast rival, the Perth Heat. Perth, by the way, is very similar to the city of Seattle in atmosphere and layout of the general area, and I think if I wind up taking this on, they might be “my” team. Expansion is being discussed to reach the Gold Coast, the Central Coast, and perhaps New Zealand (I gladly welcome the combination of baseball and the Haka), with some possibility of traveling to Japan, but nothing has been ironed out yet. The league is indeed partnered with MLB, New Era, and a lot of the other usual suspects you’d expect to find in baseball.

I’d been following the teams on Twitter for at least a year or two now, and seeing baseball plays being talked about in the middle of winter has always been fun. The games have been broadcast, but generally only in Australia, or on UStream, which I have not been able to use well with any regularity; the feed can get really janky and it often goes out on me for whatever reason. But this season, the games have been broadcasting on a streaming YouTube channel, and not only can I watch YouTube, but we have a smart TV, so conceivably, I could watch these games on a larger screen. The YouTube channel is called ABL.TV, and is located here. They archive their games as well, so if there are no live games on (and there won’t be during the day here), you can always watch an old one in its entirety. The fun for us here in the US comes later in the evening or rather early in the morning, so it’s not terribly optimal unless you’re up very early on accident, or home during a weekend. The next game that will be aired is a 6PM PST game that features the Bandits at the Aces. The channel cues up the games and there is a countdown timer on the site to let you know how long you have, in the event that you don’t feel like calculating the time difference every time you’d like to watch a game.

As for what I’ve been able to watch so far (the last few innings of a game early yesterday because I got up before the alarm, and a few innings last night before I fell asleep after a dinner out), these games are very much like attending a minor league game; think Tacoma Rainiers but with better weather. Cricket and tennis are sort of more Australia’s gig, but they have the same kinds of fields and stadiums you’d find here, and the crowd seems just as enthusiastic as they are here. The Heat have a Mr Mets-style mascot who yesterday morning led a group of children in a run across the field during an inning break. You won’t find flashy LED screens or loud ads at an ABL game; just the PA announcer, music between innings, sound effects at the appropriate times, and the crack of the bat and cheers of the crowd. There are a handful of commercials that play during play action lulls; notably a baseball supply store and a local car dealership (I had a moment when that particular ad featured a driver getting into the opposite side of the car), but nothing obnoxious like what we have here, during either a broadcast or live game.

The 2015-16 ABL season ends soon here in February, so there is not too much time left to watch games until this October, and evening plans for me mean that I may be able to start that game at 6PM, but may not be able to finish it. But this is a great way to releive some of the boredom I’ve felt during the winter. I have tried for the past few years to interest myself in hockey or football, but it’s just not the same. It’s like having your heart set on buying a 2014 Scion, and someone saying “Well, this 1989 Toyota pickup is available…” Football and hockey are fun to watch once in a while, but neither of them is the game I love.

If possible, I may be using this space to write about the ABL during the offseason; during the months of winter, when there isn’t much to write about for a non-analysis person (and Lookout Landing and USS Mariner and others have so much of that covered already anyway, I don’t need to add my voice to the pile), it is difficult to maintain a space that already needs help enough as it is. The sights and sounds of Australian baseball  are very welcome, when I am surrounded by football, rain, and what feels like never-ending cold. If you miss baseball during the winter, it’s out there, you just have to know where to look for it. I’m glad I finally found it and decided to follow through.

 

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Waiting For The Hall of Fame Announcements

On lunch again and trying to watch streaming coverage of the Baseball Hall of Fame announcement from the MLB Network. As I start this at 12.09PM, I don’t know that I will be able to finish the broadcast (I understand it lasts until possibly 4PM PST), but I’ll certainly try, though listening to broadcasters stall for time while waiting for a large event is one of my least favorite activities. So far, Ken Griffey Jr has 100% of the 205 ballots MLBN is reporting have been turned in so far. I would think that there would be a harder deadline for something like this, but it appears to be run like a tour booking; there’s surely a deadline, but who pays attention? You’d think there would be a harder limit for when ballots should be turned in.

I am glad that Griffey will be getting in, though it is, of course, not much of a shock at all. Unfortunately, my history with Griffey (what there is of it) is a very different story than most other Mariners fans.  I was simple too late on the scene to have really enjoyed much of his career, and the end of it wasn’t the pretties. Because of the Mariners’ relative novelty in the history of the game, at this point in time, I view the actual Hall and Museum themselves as a whole to be far more important than the individuals that make them up. I did get to see the Dave Niehaus plaque in the broadcasting wing while I was there, of course, and all of the items that Mariners players have donated to the Museum as important points in their careers, and that was great; but I don’t know that I will feel like another trip to Cooperstown is warranted for me personally until either Ichiro or Felix goes in, and given Ichiro’s persistence and Felix’s age, I might be in my 50s when that happens. I might be in my 50s when Edgar Martinez goes in, but I hope not. This said, I am so very happy for so many people I know who have waited for this for so long, and I will be crying with al of you on Opening Day because you know the Mariners are going to make a deal out of this, and I will love them for it. Whatever ceremony goes on around today’s events on April 8th will be the closest I will get to them, so I am looking forward to it.

I am curious to see who else makes it, as I didn’t have the presence of mind to catch a screen grab of the players with the highest percentages on the list of ballots gathered so far. So I guess I will sit here and listen to the talking heads until the ballots are all in, the stream gets blocked by our lame firewalls, or I have to leave work, whichever happens first.

In other news, we are having our bus passes taken away at the end of the month for reasons I won’t go into here because I don’t want to start swearing about the company I work for (and I would), so my route to and from work has taken on a new life, parking in SoDo and walking a mile or so to work, along 1st past Safeco Field. It is doing absolutely nothing to curb my enthusiasm for the 2016 season, and summer. The nights are long and dark here, and I am ready for the warmth of summer, the smell of green grass, the crack of the bat and the sound of baseballs hitting gloves in the bullpen. So ready.

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Happy New Year, From Section 331!

I don’t have any sort of countdown or top -whatever lists to share; I generally don’t think of the end of the year in those terms. Time just keeps going on, tomorrow’s just another day, and hopefully everyone I know will come out on the other side of tonight’s parties in one piece and not feeling too terrible after all that champagne. Plus, there are other bloggers who are already taking care of that for us all. I believe Lookout Landing has been dispensing maybe more than its fair share of memorable Mariners .gifs over the past 24 hours…

But if I were to measure time year-to-year – and I’ll admit, I fall into that as much as anyone sometimes – I would have to say that generally speaking, 2015 was pretty awful for me. I won’t bore you with the gruesome details, suffice to say that money, health, optimism, and happiness were all in short supply. I wanted 2015 to be at least a little better than 2014 personally (because it was pretty great on a baseball level for me); but it didn’t work out that way. It was a bunch of ‘meh’ punctuated by a few really great things: baseball games with friends, a 10-year anniversary party, some tattoo work…I’m sure there were a few other things in there, but 365 days is a lot, and it’s not coming to me easily. When you care about things going on around you as much as I do, the weight of the world can be unbearable (I’m not violating my no-politics rule, but come ON, this year was awful for all of that). I suffered from a lack of time and energy to write here, eventually found myself caring but not enough to start it up on a regular basis again (really, what is there to say about a team like the 2015 Mariners, other than that I will keep watching them in 2016?) I won’t be sad to see it gone.

In 2016, I hope to get some of my energy and time back. I have started planning my trip to Coors Field (plane tickets purchased already!), and am looking forward to everything that comes after the end of January. Fan Fest,  Pitchers and catchers reporting, spring training, OPENING DAY!  These are how the Mariners fan measures time, and this is how I’m thinking of the next few months ahead. I don’t have season tickets per se, but Daniel does, and I will be going in on some of those this year, since cat surgery a month ago stole my ability to put a downpayment on my own two seats. Vet bills are going to make it difficult for a while, but I am trying to go into this year more optimistic that things will be better. I have no way of projecting whether they will be or not; like a 32nd round draft pick, life has a way of not turning out like you hope it will, even when you’re trying your best. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that 2016 does well in the first round.

And to everyone who is reading this, I wish the best for you an your 2016. Enjoy yourselves tonight, and please make sure you make it out of this year alive. Outside of that, actually, if you want to do me a solid, please follow MarinerBasho on Twitter. Daniel Carroll and I write Mariners haiku there. It’s not a terribly busy page, but we wouldn’t mind some more followers. We promise to be as witty as possible, in whatever capacity, without struggling to figure out what rhymes with “Dipoto”.  Now I have to go take care of some crudite’ and maybe a hot buttered rum. Cheers!

 

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