SECTION 331

Just a goth and her baseball team. And sometimes Daniel Carroll.


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Some Words About The Mariners Past Two Days

***So this didn’t go where I thought it was going to go, and now it’s too late. I’m posting it anyway.

I didn’t watch the game yesterday. We had a few friends over for a casual dinner and hang out time, and I was actually at Friday’s game, so it seemed like I could skip a day. We watched some stuff on HBO, and in between one movie to the next, the TV landed back on the game, which I had checked when the score was 1-0. It was the 9th inning at that point, and my friend Jennifer suggested I might want to watch it because “something important” might happen. But I am already very much aware of what happens when a Mariners game is in extras, and opted for a Louis CK comedy special instead. Turns out that was a better idea than the 6-3 loss I would have witnessed.

A short while later, I checked my email and found that I had been right. And then discovered over Facebook that Fernando Rodney had been DFA’d.

It is hard for me to see a guy who did so well by us last year fall into utter and complete ruin. Rodney seemed like he was genuinely happy to be here, too, and seemed to get along with everyone. He was part of last year’s seemingly escalating success, and in spite of the whole Fernando Rodney Experience situation, when he nailed it, he nailed it pretty good. I was speaking with a friend yesterday regarding whether or not Rodney was “dominant”, and he did not consider him to be so. But really, sometimes with sports, I don’t care how the job is done, just that it actually gets done. And for that, in spite of the Fernandocoaster, 48 saves is not a bad number at all. So it feels like kind of a bummer, but frankly, we need a better guy out there. We need a lot of things, but the one thing we truly need is a pitcher who can come into a tight game or a game at risk and just throw strikes. I know better than to try and project anything as far as what might await Rodney in the future, so I will just hope that maybe another team kicks the tires on the pitcher and it works out for him. I don’t wish him any ill will, it’s just that his time in Seattle has to be over.

I think the thing I find most alarming about the designation of our former closer is that Lloyd McClendon is rumored to have requested it over a month ago. I know the Mariners front office and ownership gets a lot of criticism, and I have long thought that maybe it was just disgruntled fans looking for a reason for the team’s continued failure; but now? Now I think I finally believe some of the things people have been saying about the people who run and own this team. The former main owner of the team, Hiroshi Yamauchi (RIP) had never attended a Mariners game, and Mariners CEO Howard Lincoln was apparently completely OK with that. “A man of his age and stature” shouldn’t have to explain why he doesn’t go to see a game played by a team he owns. Seriously?! Corporate shill much, buddy? The problem with the Mariners, of course, is that they are a team owned by people who don’t really seem to care all that much about the game of baseball. The front office can sit around and have cocktails in their suite and pat themselves on the back all they like about landing Robinson Cano, nailing Felix and Kyle Seager down, and nabbing Nelson Cruz for a few more years. But not making the moves necessary when the guy who is closer to the game than any of them is requesting a DFA of a pitcher who is failing so miserably is absolutely inexcusable. I guess as long as the money keeps coming in, right, guys? Ugh.

I was talking to Tom about this while we were grabbing some ciders at FX McRory’s prior to Friday night’s homestand against the White Sox. He was pointing out that things – of course – would be better if the team was a winning team, that the Mariners would be able to get more money out of a team that was going well. But the ugly secret nobody seems to mention all that often is that even if the team is terrible, the Mariners raise their ticket prices anyway. So it doesn’t really matter to them if the team is awful, because left field bleacher seats aren’t selling for $14 anymore; sometimes they sell for $22 or $24. Sometimes. And don’t even get me started in on “premium” pricing; that is a whole other rant I have rattling around in my head. Premium for whom? Not those of us who don’t make a lot of money, that is for damn sure; I am thankful I don’t have kids, or I’d never attend a game, either. When I first started sitting in left field a few years ago, my two spots on the bleachers were just a bit over $500. Now? Easily over $700. And what has this team done since my first season ticket holder year of 2008? Outside of 2009, and 2014 – both winning seasons – this team has been a dismal excuse for a major league ball club. Yet I and people like me are being penalized financially for sticking it out through two years of 101 losses, and this terrible year as well. It shouldn’t cost over $150 to take a family of four out somewhere (given the fact that most families sit in the 300 section, you’re already looking at seats around $30 a pop). Baseball is a game that is meant to be enjoyed, and I’m not sure how one can enjoy it when you have to empty out your wallet just to walk in the door. The Mariners are already running ads about getting season tickets for next year. I dread to know what my 20-game plan is going to run me, and how many payments I’m going to have to make, and seriously debating not maintaining my STH status if it’s more expensive. I didn’t do it last year, and the decision made to do it this year was made because of last year’s good season; but wanting to hand the Ms my credit card after this year is going to take some serious thought on my part.

As for the disaster of Friday’s game, I don’t know what to say. I had a bunch of friends at the ballpark that night, and sort of chalked it up to just a social night at the game. And after Chicago had a solid grasp on a lead in the 6th inning, I figured it was pretty much downhill from there. Felix didn’t have it, Danny Farquhar and Fernando Rodney really didn’t have it, and I just ate my fish and chips and waited for our turn to sit on the field for the fireworks display.

I don’t know what to do with this team anymore. I’m no longer naive enough to think they can pull it around in August, and sometimes I feel like being more than a casual fan has sort of ruined my chances of ever enjoying the Mariners again; knowledge is power, and power is exhausting. But I will continue to stick it out until early October, and I will follow my other teams then and if that fails, there is always bandwagon space on the Lesser of Two Evils train as my teams get weeded out and I have to choose teams I don’t really care about all that much…I don’t know. The Astros seem kind of plucky this year, don’t they?

Sorry, it’s a downer post. I had some opinions on things. Here’s a picture of Felix to make up for it.

Screen Shot 2015-08-23 at 10.50.30 AM

 

 


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Mariners Lose In Most Mariner-y Way Possible

With the recently-installed firewalls at work, I have no idea how this is going to go, but let’s give it a shot anyway, shall we? I can’t access my email from work (super helpful, guys), so I am having to use sites that I can get to, and the Mariners official website is one of those. Here is an article written there about the horror of last night, if you didn’t, couldn’t, or can’t stand to watch anymore. It reads like praise of the Rangers, and should probably be on the Rangers actual site, but I can hardly say I blame Greg Johns and TR Sullivan; the Mariners have got to be difficult to write about these days, even if you’re getting paid for it.

The Mariners put up Taijuan Walker against the Rangers newly-acquired Cole Hamels (which hurts that part of me that is a Phillies fan, even though I know Hamels had his grievances with the team and vice versa), and while the Ms performance prior to the 9th inning could have been better, it also wasn’t the slaughter that occurred over the weekend in Boston. I was convinced that the game would go into extras again, until Tom Wilhelmsen was switched out after the 8th in favor of Fernando Rodney. While Rodney did an excellent job of getting Prince Fielder to strike out swinging, the damage had already been done at that point, because the bases were loaded and Adrian Beltre was at the plate. Rodney handed him a walk, and that was all she wrote; the most Mariner way to lose a game I have maybe ever seen. Even more than blowing it in extras with a catcher on the hill (Jamie Burke, I remember you!)

I haven’t been able to keep up on blog reading lately, and what little news I get comes via Twitter links or discussions with other fans, but man has our bullpen just come down to earth. On fire. With everyone screaming out the windows. Over a cliff, into a ravine. Like a really deep ravine. It used to be that my confidence in the bullpen to get things done if a starter bit the dust was really high; we had nothing to fear, because the pen would take care of the game for the starter. But we can’t say that anymore. This isn’t me being late on the uptake, I’ve known for a while now; but I have never said it out loud in print in any sort of depth. And I’m not even sure this counts as depth, because there are only so many ways to say you’re disappointed in something.

In a lot of ways, this year has been more disappointing than 2008 and 2010 combined. Whereas those teams had maybe one to three players in the entire lineup that seemed to be expected to hold the team up and win somehow, this year we have multiple players who could have made a difference and just haven’t. And a season like this overshadows the truly awesome things that happen during it, like Hisashi Iwakuma’s no-hitter last week that I was supposed to be at (but wasn’t because I misread the schedule and couldn’t get out of work on time), or some of the dramatic extra inning wins that have occurred during the year so far.

We all make jokes that the easiest way to not be disappointed in the Mariners is to simply not expect anything from them; and I don’t think I did. I never think about playoffs at the beginning of the year, because the very concept seems so unreal (not just for the Mariners), and 162 games is an awful lot of baseball. I ignore the predictions of the national media, because most of the time they have very little idea of whence they speak anyway, and their job is to give a bunch of lip service to whatever team they’re told to give it to; plus, national sports reporters are not on the front lines. They don’t see what we see every day during the summer. And they didn’t see it last year, either. But with the lineups shaping up through spring training, guys breaking out and warming up, I would have been cool with a big season for everyone and hoped for – at the least – a division victory. Not too much hope, but hope nonetheless. I’m not angry at the team – that would be silly – but I’m bummed out about it because I really like these guys. Even Fernando Rodney; it killed me last night to see the disappointment on his face after that walk, and I have to think it makes for really uncomfortable post-game goings-on. The game was on the line, extras could have been forced, and he blew it hard.

Granted, it’s not completely Fernando’s fault; Lloyd McClendon is still running him out there in these tied end-of-game situations. Sometimes it works, but more often than not it feels like it doesn’t. Maybe we didn’t have a better right hander that was ready (I’ll be honest, I was exhausted and ready to sleep due to having to be up the night before to get Tom from the airport). All I know is that it kills me to see a guy beat the franchise saves record held by Kazuhiro Sasaki last year, and go to an absolute puddle of nothing this season; 16 saves over 50 innings pitched and 43 save opportunities. So sad.

I don’t know what else to say, really. I have heard of changes coming, with rumors floating around that this may be Jack Zduriencik’s last year with the club due to the team’s performance. You can’t kill the team, so someone’s head has to roll. All I know is that I hate seeing 25 guys that I like get the short end of the stick, and it is saddening that I don’t really enjoy watching the game on TV lately. I still love the park – and I am sure that is what the organization banks on (literally) – but watching the games on TV has gotten very depressing. I hate having the “there’s always next year” thoughts in June. Then again, there’s always next year.


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Mariners vs. Orioles: Crab Sandwich Battle

It seems only fitting that I should run this post up while Baltimore is in town. I had planned to do it earlier this year, but political events caused me to decide it was better to do it during a series where the Orioles were actually in town. So since today is the last game of the series, let’s do it.

First of all, I have indeed gone to the past two games. Had hoped to get to today’s, but I misread the schedule and didn’t realize until last week that the game was a day game today, and by then it was a bit too late to ask for the time off. So I went last night and the night before, and while the O’s never did send Darren O’Day in to pitch, both teams had a win and a loss, so I was glad to be there; if my favorite team cannot win, my second favorite team might as well. I have pictures to share from the past two nights (and last Friday’s adventure to Everett for the Aquasox Star Wars night), but sleep is at a premium for me lately, so it will have to wait. I was fortunate enough to be at last night’s win, the first time in the history of baseball that all 15 teams won at home on the same day.  You’d think that might have happened before, but I guess not; and the Mariners nearly messed that up, in the most Mariner-y way possible; but we were able to save the night and help make history.

But today is a day to talk about food. Specifically, this food:

Capture

On the left: Baltimore’s crab sandwich. When I went to Camden Yards last year, I asked around about what to see, do, eat and drink at OPACY. I was told by multiple people that I should definitely investigate anything crabby, and indeed crab was just about everywhere I went in Maryland. At $15, the crab sandwich at Orioles Park is maybe a bit more than I’d pay for such a thing, but I was on vacation, so what the heck. And they don’t mess around. The crab salad was light and fluffy, and had touches of celery and onion, sort of like a nice tuna salad. Romaine leaves are tucked into a lighter-than-air roll, and it is topped with a good shake of Old Bay seasoning. In the heat of April 2014, it was very refreshing and fresh, and I enjoyed it. My complaints would be a lack of salt, and the fact that the roll was indeed lighter than air. I think their salad could benefit from maybe a bit of celery salt – not much, just enough to add a bit of punch to the crab flavor – and maybe a more substantial roll. Their sandwich is just longer than my hand, and I housed it in about five minutes. The roll wouldn’t have to be much less airy – maybe something like Macrina Bakery might make – but with the generous amount of crab salad, I had hoped for something a little heftier.

On the right: Mariners Crab Shack sandwich. Or at least, half of one. The crab salad in our local offering is just crab and (I’m assuming) mayo with a smidge of seasoning. Fresh tomatoes are added, the bread is slathered in garlic butter on both sides, and it is grilled which gives it a nice crunch and a bit more of the flavor I was looking for in Baltimore. At $16, I had to try it once, but this is something I might be able to do maybe twice a year, given that places like Edgar’s serve three street tacos for $9, which is a little more my speed price-wise. BUT, this sandwich is well worth trying at least once, and I hope that the sales this year from that, the crab fries (also $16), the Old Bay fries ($5), and the selection of Pike Brewery beers are enough to make this a returner next season. I would like to see some onion/celery mixture added to our sandwich, something to give it an extra crunch. The size is good, too; it’s the size of something you’d get at a regular sandwich shop, and a substantial meal.

Which is better? I was originally going to go with ours, and I think I am biased because I can go and get it any time. I think Baltimore could benefit from thicker bread, we could benefit from a more varied crab salad; and I realize now that completely honestly, I wish there was a way to put both sandwiches together, as both have their merits. But I expected to like Baltimore’s better, and I didn’t. So, like the past two nights, I declare East/West Crab Sandwich Battle a tie! It all depends on what you’re looking for in a crab sandwich, but if you have the chance, I recommend giving both a shot. You won’t regret!


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Mariner?! They’re Killing Her!

I think it’s finally happened. I’m finally done with baseball before the end of the baseball season. I’m still going to be at the games I have scheduled – there is an Orioles series coming up, after all (I will be at all three games!), and a few other event games at Safeco that I want to attend (fireworks, Oktoberfest), and the absolutely necessary last game that I always go to every year (and always will unless some great catastrophe happens) – but watching this team be who they are and made up of guys I really genuinely do love dig their way to the basement is finally, after years and years of promise, taking its toll. I will go to the games I have scheduled because they already have my money, and because I do still truly enjoy going to the park, bad team or no bad team (remember how perky I was in 2010?) But I’m not really happy with the way things have panned out this year.

We are, after the All Star break, 11 games back, 7 games out of the Wild Card, and at .452. The best team in the league right now is the Kansas City Royals (ugh, these guys again?!) at .598. We are 6-9 after the ASG. Our offense has gotten better due to Edgar Martinez having come aboard as our hitting coach (I was very excited about this, and clearly have every right to be, as Edgar has been working some magic on one Mike Zunino, who is currently on an 11-game hitting streak, if I remember correctly), but our pitching has totally collapsed up to the point where we just handed over JA Happ to Pittsburgh because of two terrible starts, forked over Mark Lowe to the damn Jays, and sent Dustin Ackley to the New York Yankees, where he will finally be able to get a haircut and a shave. And for what?

Prospects.

Allow me to digress…in the club scene I am part of, there is a song called Dead Stars. When it came out in 2000, it became very popular. You couldn’t go clubbing without it being played, it was everywhere. In and of itself, it’s a good song; but after you hear it night after night, when you leave the state to go on tour and there it is again, when you can’t go onto a dancefloor and just dance to new stuff without hearing it, it gets really annoying and tedious. Plus, though it is a really catchy song, it’s repetitive as all hell (because that is the nature of dance songs).

Prospects are the new Dead Stars.

When Jack Zduriencik came on board in 2009, he promised a team made of pitching and defense. He promised better prospects. He promised a better future, and certainly in baseball, the word “prospects” is nearly synonymous with “future”. The problem with the future, for the Mariners, is that the future never comes. And what has my ire up so early today (yes, it’s nearly noon, but that is early for me on a Saturday) is this article with the headline “Jack Zduriencik says Mariners moves before trade deadline ‘more about the future’” This is a song we’ve heard before. I’ve been to this dance club a billion times. They’re taking away my favorite DJs (Jason Vargas, Adrian Beltre, Doug Fister, Brendan Ryan, Ichiro Suzuki), but they’re still playing the same tired club hit. And I still dress up and go out on a Friday night for this, expecting not to hear it.

So Zduriencik did what he said he would when he got here; he promised a team built on pitching and defense, and we got that. He promised to bolster our farms, and he’s done that, too. But the Mariners front office completely ignored that baseball is a three-slice pie, and unless you have the offense you need, you’re not going anywhere. Now we have a better offense slice, but the pitching slice has rotted in the sun this year, the offense slice hasn’t been great for years, and nobody wants to eat the pie anymore. We could have done better with our offense/defense ratios earlier on, but we didn’t; and I’m not telling Mariners fans anything new. Players we traded to other teams for prospects have gone on to remain solid players and to sometimes even flourish in their new homes. Prospects come on board, don’t do well in the minors, and then get sent somewhere else. Sometimes we dodge those bullets, sometimes they Dustin Ackley their way onto Safeco Field grass. More often than not, they just hang out in Tacoma, seeing major league playing time in September, or when someone gets injured, and there they stay, making the Rainiers a pretty good AAAA team, or a really good AAA team.

I still watch because it is baseball, but this is the earliest since 2008 that it has turned into a low priority for me. We still have two months left, and maybe something great will happen in that time, but the Mariners seem to be eternally looking forward to tomorrow, next month, next year, five years from now, without ever concentrating on the here and now. With every loss, fan confidence goes down and that is three hours of Netflix I could be watching, or a walk outside I could be taking, or something more productive than sitting in my hot living room, watching my team fall 8-2 to Arizona. And don’t even get me started on driving home after dinner yesterday, hearing ads for season ticket holders to jump on the chance for 2016. Are you guys for real?

I spoke with Mariners marketing VP Kevin Martinez once a while back, and apologized to him for being so negative over Twitter during a game that went particulary sideways for the boys. I hate negativity in general, and especially over something like sports. It’s a game, right? I should just suck it up and go hang out with friends or something. But Martinez said he understands we are mad because we care. And he’s right. I do care. I love baseball. I love the Mariners. I just want them to do well. It’s not a matter of personal pride or anything; I’m not some knuckle-dragger that’s going to punch someone because they don’t like my team. It’s because the game is part of this country’s history and it’s time I put my life into, and it’s become part of who I am as a person. It’s fun to watch baseball, and having fun is part of what makes us human. I enjoy it. I care. I just want the Mariners to do better.

 

 


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Refuse To Abuse 5K, The End…?

It appears to be a few degrees hotter in NYC today than in Seattle, and the Mariners and Yankees are tied as of the start of this writing. We are still having issues with situational hitting, even with the new acquisition of Edgar Martinez as a hitting coach, and after the All Star break, which is apparently some magical window in time where bad teams get better and vice versa. We have a split series with NYC at the moment, but it’s the 7th inning, Felix is out of the game after some 97 pitches or so, and Mike Zunino is at the plate with a 1-1 game, and Dustin Ackley on second. Things are not looking good.

So update on the post the other day for the Refuse To Abuse 5K that I and some other friends (three of which are fellow Mariners fans)…

My friends Cynthia and Fes ran/walked the thing, and came in well ahead of the rest of us, but myself, Su, Christie, Sheryl and her husband Stan did the course at a brisk walking pace in around 54 minutes. All told, we raised $1,740.00 for the cause. I came in third place for individual fundraising, which I had been notified might happen, but was not expecting. Friends, family, and Mariners fans came to the rescue though. My prize was a ribbon, a signed Lloyd McClendon jersey, and a signed and framed picture of Lloyd. I am definitely getting a frame for the jersey as soon as I can, and all of this stuff will be put up in the house somewhere.

Screen Shot 2015-07-19 at 12.20.19 PMThis was everyone on the team. Stan was standing in the sun, with a lot of other people who felt it was too cold in the shade at 8AM. I was wearing my Section 331 jersey, and Tom took the picture, telling us we should look like we were refusing to abuse. Ironically, we look like we’re going to punch a cartoon. So much for fierceness.

Screen Shot 2015-07-19 at 12.27.32 PMWaiting to start. Starts are staggered, so while the race began formally at 9, we didn’t even get past the start line until aroud 9.10 or 9.15.

Screen Shot 2015-07-19 at 12.24.29 PMThe route to do this was crazy, but involved both the stadium and the parking garage, so this is a little over the halfway mark to being done. They take you around all the levels in the stadium, under the stadium, around the back between that building and the train tracks. My only goal was water at this point. I’ve said it numerous times, but I have no idea how players play in jerseys. I won’t even wear one for fun to games when the weather is too hot. Shortly after this photo was taken, after we’d gone east through the suite level, and then up to the 300’s, we were walking down the north end ramp and I had stopped to take what turned out to be a not-great picture of a part of the stadium. A couple was jogging past us, and a man asked me if I was “the blogger Section 331”. I said yes, and he high-fived me and kept going. And that was really the kind of atmosphere there; not for me, but for everyone. People were kind to each other, friendly, energetic, happy to be there. I had gotten up so early after such little sleep that it was nice to be in a place where everyone was so upbeat. So thanks, random high-fiving guy!

Screen Shot 2015-07-19 at 12.29.36 PMWe got to come out of the center field tunnel, and do a little over half of the warning track. While I am sure that a lot of people simply did the race, our group was taking pictures of everything all the way around.

Screen Shot 2015-07-19 at 12.31.09 PMMe, after finally finishing over by the left field wall. Hot, dehydrated, a bit pink, and happy to be done. After this we got to walk  through the Mariners side of the bullpen to pick up participation medals (they have little bats and a baseball on them), and get some water, bananas, health bars, and a few other goodies near the center field entrance. Awards were also announced, near the area the Root Sports desk is located.

Screen Shot 2015-07-19 at 12.33.48 PMMy ribbon! The bag I’m holding has the McClendon stuff in it.

Screen Shot 2015-07-19 at 12.35.20 PMA terrible photo, but I don’t care. After this, we then had to walk (nooooooo!) back around the stadium to the parking garage. I am a bit sore; we didn’t run, but we weren’t just sauntering along, either. And while I’m working on it, I’m still not really in the best of shape. But it was fun, and I will be doing it again next year, and anyone who wants to join us is welcome to do so. It’s a cause that is worth getting up early for on a Saturday morning, and being able to walk around the park is just the icing on the cake.

I want to thank everyone who donated their money, effort, time, whatever, to help us out. I’ll be trying to get the band back together next year and do it again.

As I’m finishing this up, Fernando Rodney has taken the hill for the Ms in the bottom of the 8th inning, and left the bullpen pouring Dixie cups of water on his head. He is also sporting a fancy new rusty red highlight in his goatee; and he just gave up a home run to Mark Teixeira basically right in Tex’s swinging sweet spot, so we have that going for us.

The Mariners don’t come home until next weekend, which means I can watch most of the series against Detroit due to the time difference. Su and I will be attending this next Friday’s game against the Blue Jays, which means more drunk people than you can shake a stick at, but there will be fireworks, so we have that going for us. Today’s heat is also an anomaly at 91; the remainder of the week looks to be in the upper 70s, and I can totally deal with that. Here’s hoping the four-game series in Detroit goes better than this terrible murder in NYC.


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Team Section331.Com And the Refuse to Abuse 5K

I avoid socio-political issues here because that is not what this blog is about, but I wanted to make an exception today because this is a race that the Mariners have been hosting for a while now, and this is my first year participating. I plan to make it an annual event, at least for myself, if not for the folks who will be running and walking with me tomorrow.

Domestic violence is a subject close to me; I have housed a friend who was dealing with such a situation until she could get back on her feet, and I have known other victims both male and female. It affects everyone, people from all financial, social, and economic backgrounds, all races, colors and creeds. My friends had help; they got out of their situation and were able to get back to their lives out of danger; but a lot of people don’t have that, and the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence aims to help those in need.

The Mariners have provided a venue for the race, and frankly I cannot think of a better place to walk around for charity than Safeco Field. So tomorrow, I will wake up at an ungodly hour on a Saturday morning, and go down there to participate in this event. If anyone who reads this would consider a donation – no matter how small – I will be honored. Below is the link to follow to donate, and you can do so anonymously if you wish. And I will likely not be wearing that fleece cat suit, as I understand the temperatures will be a bit out of control.

 

To learn more about WSCADV: http://wscadv.org


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Mariners Dramatically Take Game From Tigers In 11

So after a while of not being able to watch games (even my attempt at taking one in at an Ocean Shores pub last Friday was thwarted by obnoxious bar patrons and a very small TV in the corner where I could barely see the score) I was finally able to actually go to a game last night, with my friend Jennifer. Jennifer is an alumni of a Michigan college (forgive me, I cannot remember which one), and became a Tigers fan a few years back, when she was visiting a friend who took her to Comerica Park and she first saw Prince Fielder; so now she and I go to Tigers games (and Rangers games, so she can follow “Princey” around) every year. I went to the season ticket holder early entry yesterday, and she followed shortly thereafter. We used our coupons for discounted beer and a pretzel, and then hung out in The Pen chatting and debating what we both wanted for dinner. I checked into the ballpark on the MLB Ballpark App on my phone, and decided that we should upgrade our seats, so we were able to have dinner in and watch the game from the Terrace Club for a few extra bucks. I don’t know if the same perks exist for non-STH fans, but it’s worth the free download, for sure.

We grabbed some dinner (the barbecued beef carved sandwich up there is pretty good, and they have serve-yourself pickle spears, which I could make a whole meal of anyway), and then got situated in our seats, completely unprepared for 11 innings of what turned out to be half pitcher’s duel, and half home run derby.

Austin Jackson turned into the hero of the night, hitting a grand slam, the first of his career. I almost couldn’t believe it, but by the time the ball was hanging over the middle of the outfield, it was pretty much a no-doubter; and even then I still couldn’t believe it. A grand slam is a rare sight to behold. A Mariners grand slam is even rarer. That was the only hit Jackson got over the course of the evening in four at-bats; but if you have to only get one hit, that is a hell of a hit to get. Franklin Gutierrez followed it up, answering the Tigers back to back homers in the first inning, with a dinger of his own, which apparently (I read on Twitter) sent the dugout into paroxysms of joy. I wish I could find the .gif of Logan Morrison twirling his finger in the air, mouth open in a giant smile; it was good to see Gutz hit something like that, after so long. His last homer before he descended into sickness was in September of 2013. He might not be able to bring himself back to Death to Flying Things level, but it was wonderful to see him bringing a little power to the table, regardless. Robinson Cano also wound up with a solo HR in the 5th inning, the last truly significant bit of hitting we would see until the bottom of the 11th, where the score would lie tied at 6-6 until he singled into a walkoff. The dugout was empty and running into the right midfield to pile on Cano before Austin Jackson was even halfway to home plate, and those of us still left (not the Tigers fans) cheered in appreciation.

I had told Jennifer that we should wait until the Mariners hit in the 11th before slowly exiting the building. It was approaching 11PM, and both of us were yawning over each other to the point where my eyes had started to water. I had been up for 18 hours at that point and wasn’t entirely convinced we were going to win. I also feel a little guilty making non-fans stay up past their bedtime due to my own obsession, so I was going to kind of strike a compromise by staying but then not really staying. So we sat there and watched as Tigers pitcher Ian Kroll dealt to Austin Jackson and Franklin Gutierrez, then gave up that single to Cano. Jennifer wasn’t entirely pleased with the outcome, but I think was happy for me, nonetheless. We bailed back to her car as quickly as possible through what was left of the crowd, and I fell asleep nearly the second my head hit my pillow at home.

I am currently besieged by allergies from the thick layer of smoke from wildfires east and north of us, but it is also blocking out a lot of the sun, so it helped make last night’s game cooler than the 94F that it was originally projected to be. Jennifer was marveling at the green-ness of the grass at Safeco; it might actually be the greenest grass in town right now! This Saturday, Tom and I are going to check out season ticket holder appreciation day. I don’t know that I’ve ever been, so it will be fun. Hopefully the weather will be nice then, too.

Oh, and I wound up on the jumbotron with Jennifer, as I was absent-mindedly rocking out to some pop song and checking Twitter between innings. We went to get ice cream, and as we were walking back to our seats, some random guy walked past us and said “hey, you were on TV!” Just when I feel like I blend into the crowd, it turns out I’m awkwardly recognized by strangers. Sweet. Also, here is a photo I took of myself and Jennifer, with Travis the TravelTiger. Travis is not a Tigers fan, no matter how much Jennifer insists…

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