Pushing a Giant Baseball Up a Hill and Watching It Roll Back Down Since 2008
Wednesday’s Fall to the Tigers (Very Photo Heavy)
A 14-inning game that kept me out until midnight the other night and the horrendous events in Boston over the past week have kept me on a worse sleep schedule than normal, and limited my writing time considerably. But I did not want that game to go unposted, and I certainly took enough photos to share for my friend Jennifer, who is a very newly-minted Tigers (read; Prince Fielder) fan. I try and limit photos to quality over quantity. I don’t always succeed, but I try. Wednesday I took 125 photos, only about 6-7 of which were truly unfit for public consumption; most of them were indeed of Fielder, though, so you won’t be seeing them here. This is a Mariners blog, dammit, and I still have my dignity!
So Wednesday was the first of what I hope might be a few games where the gates are opened earlier for season ticket holders. I originally had Thursday’s afternoon game in my pack, but Jennifer couldn’t get out of work during the day, so I had to switch them out. Fortunately, I chose Wednesday which was a great time in spite of the loss we took.
The deal was, the gates opened at 4.10PM for anyone with a season ticket or ticket for the game and valid 2013 ID card (which is what I had). I walked over from work in overcast but warmish weather, lined up with everyone else, and went inside. By “everyone else” I mean maybe a hundred people when all was said and done. Maybe 200 towards 5.10, when the gates open for the general public. I passed the time taking photos, talking to ushers, and just generally taking in the atmosphere. It was really nice to just sit in the park with no massive crowds, getting to sit in the lower bowl and just relax for a while with a beer and my camera. So here are a bunch of photos from the Ms batting practice:
The Tigers started filing out onto the field, and I began my quest to take as many photos of Fielder as possible. Jen was not going to make it any earlier than 6PM, so she was unable to see BP. They gradually came spilling out of the dugout, much to the joy of some very excitable fans both young and old. I held my picture taking ground, but not for long.
Doug Fister was met by Jen Mueller for a pre-game interview which I would imagine was broadcast on ROOT Sports. I didn’t stick around here long, though, as Fielder emerged from the dugout and trotted to the batting cage area before he ran out to left field, then came over to the left field wall and started signing autographs. I had the immediate, insane thought that maybe I could get my ticket stub signed for Jennifer, but I learned very quickly that I am no match for children and fanatical adults. Plus, I didn’t have a pen, which sort of makes me a jerk in the autograph world. A Tigers fan politely offered to let me borrow his, but rifled through his backpack and could not find one. I appreciated the effort, but autograph seeking is still just not my deal. Fielder politely excused himself from the throngs, and ran over to take his place near first base, shagging some grounders.
I took all the Fielder photos I could tolerate taking (there is an album on FaceBook for her and video of Fielder taking BP here), and decided that another beer and waiting for Jen by the right field entrance was probably in order. I stood near the entrance sipping my beer and feeling kind of awkward, when suddenly I discovered art! I had no idea that these were even a thing. I rarely go through the right field entrance, nor am I usually in that area on the main concourse, even less paying a whole lot of attention to the things on the walls (I am heavily invested in not running into other people as I’m walking), so this was a pleasant surprise:
You may laugh at me for not knowing these were here, but I have a valid reason, and I honestly don’t mind; I hope I never know everything there is to know about Safeco Field. I hope I can keep noticing and finding things out, regardless of how many other people know they’re there. I know that there is another one with all-Mariners plates, but I neglected to get a photo of that one. Next time; now I have a reason to go to that side of the field.
Jennifer finally arrived, and we went to the Hit It Here to get some dinner. Dinner was delicious and the staff was especially fun to banter with that night. Don’t know if it was my and Jennifer’s dueling Putz and Fielder jerseys, but the whole cafe seemed to be in a good mood. After dinner, we walked to the seats I swapped out for, which were in my same current section, just a few rows down. And there we stayed for several scoreless innings, until the possibility of being closer to the first base area was just too much for Jennifer to take, and we relinquished our seats to find better climes. Before we left, though, I clicked off a picture of Raul Ibanez, hopping into place:
I figured we’d head down around the 7th inning stretch, because it would be an opportunity for her to see Fielder at bat one more time in the 9th. One. More. Time. Except that, as we all know by now, it was a few more than that.
The King and his Court were still going strong by the time we got downstairs…
I was expecting a nice normal game with a nice normal Felix win or Tigers win. I don’t even really remember a lot of what happened in the actual game after Tom Wilhelmsen was taken out. I know Blake Beavan saved us from Carter Capps, our bullpen was pretty much depleted the night before an afternoon game, and I got to do the second-ever 14th inning stretch before the Ms fell with the slight ceremony of a Justin Smoak single that was not enough to help us win and frankly set my teeth on edge hoping it would not result in another tie in the bottom of the 14th. I love baseball, but a four and a half hour game on a work night is a bit out of my wheelhouse. This guy, however, staunchly approved of all of it:
Still, I had a GREAT time. We were joking and laughing with the people around us (the usher for the section we wound up in graciously allowed us to go down to about the 8th row or thereabouts after the 9th inning was over), and I almost wound up with a foul ball to the noggin (it fell so close behind me on the aisle that I felt it woosh past the top of my head and heard the crack! on the cement). You’d think I’d remember the glove that has been sitting in the trunk of my car for the past two or three years, but I never do…Jennifer is an excellent game partner, because I can impart the knowledge I have of the game to her, and she is constantly curious. Her sports mainstay is college football (specifically her alma mater the Miami Hurricanes), but she wound up at a Tigers game with a friend while visiting Michigan last year and fell in love with Fielder, so now we get to work on her baseball knowledge. I have yet to be able to make it to many Hurricanes viewings, since I work Saturdays, but we’re going to try and figure that out this next fall maybe. Football will never ever be baseball, but it’s something to do in the offseason so why not.
I guess I can now turn my attention to the mess the Mariners are creating in Arlington. Putting Joe Saunders and these Mariners against Yu Darvish in the Rangers’ park is kind of like setting food out for a cat that is not fond of it; you know the cat will eat it, you just don’t know how much. The Rangers have taken 7 bites out of the Mariners so far as of the top of the 7th. We, on the other hand, don’t appear to be very hungry.