- @DKulich44 We're not there yet, but we can see it from here... 5 hours ago
- @CrippleCreekBBQ But hey, we have this shiny new toy! One! That'll be great, right? :| 5 hours ago
- @DKulich44 As have a lot of others. Shit's all fun and games until it's not fun and games anymore. 5 hours ago
- @DKulich44 :( 5 hours ago
- @DKulich44 The only thing that shocks me about that is that it didn't happen sooner. When Fusco left I figured something was up... 5 hours ago
Pushing a Giant Baseball Up a Hill and Watching It Roll Back Down Since 2008
June 11, 2013Posted by on
From ye olde email inbox, just now. Sorry for the lazy formatting:
The Everett AquaSox announced their roster for the 2013 season on Tuesday, June 11th. Nine players are returning from the 2012 AquaSox, including three pitchers, two catchers, an infielder, and three outfielders. Jamodrick McGruder, a ninth-round selection from Texas Tech University by the Mariners in the 2012 draft, headlines the group of returning AquaSox. McGruder played in 65 games last season, batting .237 with 39 walks and 20 RBI. McGruder demonstrated his speed on the basepaths, swiping a Northwest League-leading 30 stolen bases, and showed strong plate discipline, striking out just 37 times all season. Also returning to Everett this season is left handed pitcher Steven Ewing, a 20th-round pick by Seattle in the 2012 draft out of the University of Miami. Ewing made 14 appearances in 2012 and went 4-2 with a 4.53 ERA in 59.2 innings. He struck out 42 batters while walking 33. Other 2012 AquaSox returning to Everett include outfielders Alfredo Morales, James Zamarripa, and Michael Faulkner, catchers Carlton Tanabe and Christian Carmichael, and right handed pitchers Mark Bordonaro and Jose Valdivia. The 2013 AquaSox roster is geographically diverse, with players signed internationally from Brazil, the Dominican Republic, the Netherlands, Nicaragua, Taiwan, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Venezuela. The 2013 AquaSox also feature local connections in pitchers Aaron Brooks and Luke Taylor. Brooks, a right handed pitcher taken by the Mariners in the 26th round of the 2012 draft out of Edmonds Community College, is from Mountlake Terrace. Taylor, also a right handed pitcher, was a ninth-round pick by Seattle in the 2010 draft out of Woodinville High School. Both players join Everett from the Peoria Mariners of the Arizona League. Tyler Olson will make his professional debut in Everett this season after being selected in the 7th round (207th overall) by the Mariners. Olson, a left handed pitcher from Gonzaga University, was selected in the 17th round of the 2012 draft by the Oakland Athletics, but returned to Gonzaga for his senior season. In 2013, Olson was named the West Coast Conference Pitcher of the Year after going 9-4 with a 2.38 ERA for the Bulldogs.Everett manager Rob Mummau returns for his second season after leading the AquaSox to a 46-30 record in 2012. Rich Dorman also returns as pitching coach. Rafael Santo Domingo joins the AquaSox as the hitting coach after serving as a coach for the Pulaski Mariners in 2012. Head athletic trainer Spyder Webb returns to the Mariners Northwest League affiliate for the 35th consecutive season. He has been with the AquaSox since 1995. The AquaSox play an exhibition contest against the Everett Merchants on Wednesday, June 12th before opening the 2013 season on the road against the Spokane Indians on Friday, June 14th. The AquaSox play their home opener Monday, June 17th, kicking off an eight game homestand against the Tri-City Dust Devils and the Hillsboro Hops. Tickets are available by phone at 425-258-3673 or online at http://www.aquasox.com.
May 23, 2013Posted by on
Things are just not looking good. I was planning on settling down and writing some game recap posts during our two-game implosion in Los Angeles, but…it was a two-game implosion, what else is there really to say? I suffered through both of them, even though I really didn’t want to, especially as both games had the Angels up by like five runs within the first two innings. I couldn’t feel any worse for Aaron Harang or Brandon Maurer if I tried; they got pelted fair and square, and helped seal our fate at 6.5 games out of first place. I haven’t found a whole lot of love for Harange just yet, but I had hoped for big things from Maurer since he made the team out of spring. His 2-6 record makes me cry giant mental tears. Seems like all I have left to do here is deal with June and see if he turns around after the All-Star Break, because as we all “know”, that is something that is supposed to happen. I’m still pulling for both of them, though, because that is what I do.
It looks like Jesus Montero may very well be sent down to Tacoma in exchange for another guy named Jesus. This is one of those can’t-really-lose moves that could pan out well or could totally tank. It seems like there was a point in time where I had more faith in the Triple A guys, but I think my inability to absorb the same amount of news and information I had time for when I wasn’t working is hampering my ability to really know for sure what this move might mean for the Mariners. Obviously, Mike Zunino isn’t ready, but hopefully he’ll make an appearance up here in September. Jesus Sucre’s .253 average and 42.4% throwing out of basestealers is a positive sign. Maybe not so much the BA, but I’m willing to give a catcher a chance. Kelly Shoppach and his .229 average (pulls hair out) can’t handle this all by himself.
It doesn’t seem to me, however, like Montero should be the sole flower picked out of the garden for the team’s recent failures. Now that AL pitchers can see that pitching inside to Mike Morse is a great idea, Morse’s number might be up for the rest of the year. His strikeout rate already sits at 24.6%, and his OPS so far this year is already below where it was for all of 2012 with the Nationals. He still gets on base a fair amount of the time at .310, but (and this is without having looked at it for a while), I am fairly sure his hitting and walk rates have gone down at least a little bit. In general, without being able to compare numbers from April to now as I write this, it seems his overall performance has declined a smidge since the year started, just watching. I’m not giving up hope, I just wish he’d stop swinging and stuff that is low and inside. Ground outs are no fun, especially for a guy we all know can smack the cover off the ball when given the chance. I’m not saying to bench him or anything; more just thinking “aloud” about what I’ve noticed lately.
So with a 6-game losing streak and heading into a three-game series against the frightening Texas Rangers, what else should we do? Dave has some suggestions here, and there really isn’t much we can do. Tacoma hitters aren’t ready, and technically speaking, he’s right about Harang; we simply don’t have the personnel to really do much that would improve the situation greatly at the moment. I would rather chew my own arm off than watch Hector Noesi, but I may not have a choice, so I guess I’ll make myself comfortable and get started. It’ll be a lot more difficult to take pictures and type, but it’ll be the right thing to do.
Going to enjoy another night off before Joe Saunders goes up (again? It feels like we just saw this guy) against Justin Grimm who, for Mariners purposes, has a name that makes great headlines and Twitter jokes. I have seen at least one person refer to Saunders as “Safeco Joe”, but he’s got a better record and ERA/FIP than Aaron Harang, so I’ll take what I can get, as always. Speaking of FIP, it is interesting to me that while Harang has an ERA of over 8, his FIP sits at 5.54. Harang may not be great, but the guys backing him up are not cutting it either. So like Dave says, Harang may not be the worst idea to keep that the Ms have ever had…not this year, at least.
May 20, 2013Posted by on
Ugh, ugh, ugh. What is there to possibly say about this series in Cleveland? How frustrating. The home runs from Justin Smoak, Endy Chavez, and Brendan Ryan plus Ryan’s increased hitting over the past few games are great, but they are eclipsed by getting swept in a four-game series in a city we just don’t seem to do well in at all. The team as a whole has been hitting decently; during the Cleveland series, 10-7, 9-13, 4-9, and 12-11. All in all, the double digits are definitely encouraging. But the past four days have been sort of a comedy of errors, as the Mariners have found some really interesting ways to lose. When Tom Wilhelmsen came in today with a one-run lead, I thought we had a shot at avoiding the broom, but no. A botched tag at first on Wilhelmsen’s part, and some handy hitting from the Indians both served to be our undoing. We simply don’t seem to know what to do with runners in scoring position; the offense is there, but not when it counts.
My schedule the past few days has made it nigh impossible for me to watch games; in fact, this morning’s was the only one I have been able to watch in the series. The AL Central is still kind of ‘blah’ to me as far as being able to get excited about the games against those teams. I have a healthy respect for the Tigers, but that’s about it. As of today, though, all those teams present a valid threat to us, and Cleveland, with their 26-17 record, is definitely to watch out for, especially on their home grass. Yuck. It’s a hard team that takes out both Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma. What a mess.
But now we head back to the comforts of the West Coast and the fourth place .386 Anaheim Angels before getting a home Felix start next Saturday against the first place Texas Rangers. Hopefully we can stop our skid a little bit and continue the climb back to second place on the backs of more familiar pitching.
May 5, 2013Posted by on
I had debated doing a game recap post today, but am so very glad I decided against it. Today’s game was not pretty. I can totally get behind the taking of the series, and the 15-18, .455 record is pretty spiffy as things are so far, but when Joe Saunders collapses, he really collapses. Love him at home, not so much abroad. This is the third series in a row the Mariners have won, and now they go to Pittsburgh for a two game series and a little interleague play.
As April is now officially over, I think I’m getting a little more comfortable with what the Mariners are doing. Things looked pretty bleak there for a while, but the guys seem to be settling in a little harder and playing better baseball. We have offense now, which is awkward for me to witness; the last time things were going this well was 2009, and that didn’t really pick up until the last month and a half or so. It’s disorienting and yet very exciting to watch one of our guys step to the plate and not be 100% convinced that it will end in strike/fly/ground out or something worse. I’m not convinced that we’re World Series bound, and at 5.5 games out of first place and it still being pretty early in the year, I don’t even know if we have a shot at any sort of title, but right now I am not completely embarrassed about being a Mariners fan. Not that I ever truly was, but it has been a little difficult to defend myself over the past few years. I’d love for Mariners fans to be able to stop living in 1995 or 2001, and fully embrace the team again within this decade. I’m still a wee bit gunshy, but the idea of the Mariners and what they’re doing is becoming more and more appealing with every game, win or lose. There are actually 14 other teams doing worse than we are; that’s got to count for something, right?
I wanted to make sure and watch the Mariners All Access show to see Jen Mueller’s conversation in English with Kendrys Morales. I don’t know much about Morales or his career. He has up until now been a dangerous Angel. I had completely forgotten about his broken leg during a home plate celebration a few years ago. I was kind of bummed out about that when it happened, especially since it was such a weirdly dumb way to wind up on the DL. Watching the clip, there was no way anyone could have stopped it or known what was going to happen when he entered the fray. Poor guy. In any event, he’s ours now, and I will gladly take his .259/.352/.393 line, his .289 BABIP, and his .2 WAR.
There is no real point to any of this. It’s a beautiful day out in Seattle, I’m going to be out in it pretty soon here, I get to go watch a friend play some ball with his league later this evening on the Hill, and I’m happy to be a Mariners fan. Looking forward to catching the game on Tuesday in Pittsburgh. I don’t think i have ever properly seen PNC Park. From what I remember of two visits there, Pittsburgh is a beautiful city, and it looks like PNC is right on the water. Gorgeous. Time to go mow the lawn. Happy first sunny weekend in Seattle, everyone!
May 2, 2013Posted by on
Last night saw the Mariners winning their second series of the year, and playing very well against 2012 second place Baltimore. If Adam Jones had been feeling a little more up to par yesterday, maybe we would not have had victory – or at least not as much of a victory – but he wasn’t, and Aaron Harang pitched well at home (as he is apparently wont to do), and the Mariners bats were wide awake and hungry for hits. We won 8-3 at the game I originally had tickets for; I chose to exchange those tickets for Tuesday’s 7-2 loss for a Brendan Ryan shirt. I’m glad for the shirt, but I would have had far more fun at last night’s game.
Last night was also significant in that Jesus Montero hit his first-ever career triple. This was thanks in part to Adam Jones, who tried to make the catch but failed miserably, crashing into the center field wall in the process. Montero was, I think, a little amazed at himself, and visibly very happy about his accomplishment. I tweeted to vote him ROOT Sports player of the game, because we will probably never see anything like that ever again. I could have also voted Harang POG, because he pitched a nice clean 6 innings with only 4 hits and 2 runs (the only two the Orioles managed to get), but Montero’s massive grin was just too good to pass up. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him move that fast. ‘Twas glorious.
Monday night I was not able to watch the entire game, but I watched just enough to know that the Mariners were probably going to win. Things looked good, but I was tired and had to go to the game on Tuesday, so I opted for sleep. Apparently at some point in the game that I must have missed, third base coach Jeff Datz made a call that was questionable and cost us a run (as is my understanding catching up on Twitter the next day at work). Around the same time I read those tweets, news came in of Datz having a closed door meeting and announcing that he has recently been diagnosed with cancer. This news really puts the error in perspective. I can’t imagine what pressure it must be to be in that position doing something you love and knowing that you are sick and have to leave your job for a period of time, possibly putting the team in a little bit of jeopardy because you know them and the replacement guy won’t as well. Cancer is kind of a big deal to me because I have lost two very good friends to it; so I wish nothing but the best for Datz and his family. Good luck to you, sir, and hopefully we’ll see you back in uniform soon.
I am really looking forward to the next three games, and am very thankful that they are on east coast time. Felix goes up against the Jays and Ricky Romero tomorrow night, then Hisashi Iwakuma and RA Dickey duke it out on Saturday early in the morning. I took Saturday off for an event Friday night, so I will probably have to still set an alarm for this game (but better an alarm that goes off around 9.30 than 5!) Joe Saunders and Brandon Morrow start on Sunday. Per the current standings, both teams are fairly evenly matched. Also per the current standings, the Seattle Mariners are in third place. That’s a new one. I kind of like it. If the Mariners decide to win the AL West this year, my promise of a tattoo still stands. Can they make that happen? Guess we’ll see.
More good Mariners news; the Rainiers are tearing things up down in Tacoma. If you are so inclined, the Rainiers are doing a $25 ticket package for all three games this weekend. This includes fireworks night, and Throwback Night, and a free hat. More details here. I am only mentioning this because it’s an amazing deal to see Mariners Junior, and I’m annoyed that my weekend is already so busy I cannot take advantage of it myself. I’m not a fan of hats, but I do love going to Cheney Stadium. Also they do Craft Beer Thursdays there now? Who knew?
April 30, 2013Posted by on
I have a lot to say and no time to say it, but in case you are not going to Safeco tonight to grab your Brendan Ryan “I talk to buffalos (buffaloes?)” t-shirt with the rest of us and have any inclination to head to Everett Memorial Stadium, this is going on tonight in Aquasox territory:
EVERETT, Wash. - The Everett AquaSox, in partnership with Seattle University, announced today that Seattle U will host the University of Oregon in a regular season baseball game on Tuesday, April 30th at Everett Memorial Stadium. First pitch will be at 6:00pm, with gates opening to the public at 5:00. All seating will be General Admission for this game, and Seattle U students and staff will receive two free tickets with their Seattle U ID cards. General tickets are $7 for adults, $5 for youth under 17, and $5 for groups of 10 or more. Also, military with ID (Active Duty, Retiree, DOD, Reservists and Veterans) will receive free admission. Additional tickets for military friends and family will be $3 at the gate. Click Here to Buy Tickets or call the AquaSox office at 425-258-3673.
In celebration of this exciting event, the AquaSox are also offering local fans the opportunity to buy a special three-game ticket package that includes a ticket to the SU-Oregon game, AquaSox Opening Day on June 17th, and AquaSox alumni night on Saturday, August 31. Packages are only $21 and can be purchased by calling the AquaSox office at 425-258-3673.
For more information about Seattle Unversity Athletics, team schedule and roster, visit www.goseattleu.com.
The AquaSox Home Opener is June 17 at 7:05 versus the Tri-City Dust Devils. The AquaSox also host the 2013 Northwest League All-Star Game, presented by Tulalip Resort Casino, on August 6. Season tickets, group outings and both 13 and 17 game packages are available. Call (425) 258-3673 or visit the AquaSox office at 3802 Broadway in Everett for more information.
I might consider it, but the lure of the t-shirt is too strong! Also, I get to see my Baltimore Orioles after the Mariners pounded on them last night. We should pound on them again, but this is one of those series where I don’t mind who wins; either way, I’m happy to see both teams in Seattle. More later this week, I have to get back to work.
April 24, 2013Posted by on
I told myself I would write more here this year, and I think I have been trying my best to balance what I have time for with how badly I want to put content on this site. And I’ve done a pretty decent job of that, for the most part. Not as great or as much as when I was going to school and unemployed, but a pretty acceptable amount, all things considered. But now I seem to have developed a new problem, and I don’t see that problem going away any time soon. The problem this time is the team itself.
It’s a nice sunny day in Seattle today, and I figured I would supplement the sunshine outside with a little baseball over the static-filled tinny radio broadcast I can get in my building if I sit at my desk and angle the portable runner’s radio just so on a stack of papers. This started out as an excellent idea until I turned it on and heard Matt Pitman and Shannon Drayer discussing the fresh new decision of having Robert Andino and Brendan Ryan sharing shortstop duties.You see, as a punishment for not hitting, the team has decided to put our infield defense in jeopardy, because that makes far more sense than just settling for Ryan in the 9-hole all year long. In the event it is unclear, I am being sarcastic. I don’t know much about Andino, but I would not describe myself as a fan of his so far this year. Andino’s offensive numbers (.161/.188/.226) are only slightly better than Ryan’s (.143/.210/.143), and while my defensive stats still need work, what I have seen with my own eyes does not leave me very impressed by his performances at second. We have had a fairly airtight midfield with Ryan; I do not anticipate that will be the case with Andino…and it will be even worse if they decide to run Raul Ibanez out to left at the same time.
I am starting to remember what was so horrifying about left field back in 2008. This might not even be such an issue for me if Ibanez was making up for his lack of defensive skills with an offensive onslaught the likes of which we haven’t seen in a while; but that’s not happening. In fact, very little of what we saw in Spring Training actually appears to be making an appearance now, when things count.
The Mariners already have my money. I will likely go to quite a few games this year outside of my regular ticket plan, just like I do every year. But I discovered today that there is something I want from the Mariners that I don’t think they can give me this year, and I can explain it thusly…earlier today at work I was listening to a Kevin Smith podcast. Smith, in the event anyone is unaware is a really big hockey fan, and was turned into an even bigger fan after watching a documentary on the Edmonton Oilers. He said he became a fan because watching these kids play this game, he saw a team that was playing as if it was “trying to save the world”.
That’s what I want to see from the Mariners. I want to see them play for Seattle like the end result of their games will prevent some kind of evil super power from taking over and blowing up the city. I want to see these guys hit a baseball like it’s a nuclear bomb and they are trying to send it to space. I don’t think this team is phoning it in; I can’t point to anyone on this current team and truly say or believe that they are being lazy or not trying to win games. I believe they want to win; I just don’t know if they can. We get flashes of offense and little peeks into plate patience (you might want to have a seat before I tell you that Justin Smoak walked today! ), but it doesn’t feel like they’re serious about it, and it really doesn’t seem like the coaches are making any strides to correct the problem. And don’t even get me started on the injuries; we don’t have room for injuries with this roster, and yet what do we have? Obviously that isn’t the players’ fault, but having both Michael Saunders and Franklin Gutierrez out of the lineup and off the field is really noticeable.
I don’t know what else to say, really. It has been a bitter month. We are currently getting beaten by the other worst team in the AL West after Joe Saunders gave a homer to Ronny Cedeno with two men on. I think my focus may have to lean heavily on having as good a time as possible at the games, without making myself worry too much about games I’m not at. I venture that it’s possible that the little league game I will be going to this evening might be more fun than listening to this mess on the radio. I’ll keep writing as much as I can and posting pictures, but there are only so many ways to say “Damn, this sucks“.
Well, back to work. Brandon Laird just hit a dinger, which means the score is now 10-1 Astros. Stellar.
April 20, 2013Posted by on
I don’t know if I will be able to go up to Everett this year to either watch games or cover them, but I would like to. My work schedule makes covering Saturday evening adn Sunday afternoon games far more plausible than it used to. I’m still undecided but would like to go to at least watch a game, if not pressbox it. For now, though, the AquaSox have released their promo schedule below. Root beer float night I may need to make a more earnest attempt to attend, though it will be happening the day after one of our monthly barbecues, and I’m not sure I can leave the house in whatever condition it might be in after that. Anyway, here you go!
Everett, Wash. – The Everett AquaSox announced their 2013 Promotional Schedule on Friday. Fans can look forward to many unique giveaways and promotions, including eight fireworks shows and the 2013 Northwest League All-Star Game, to be hosted in Everett on August 6. Celebrating the AquaSox affiliation with the Seattle Mariners the AquaSox will have several giveaways commemorating former AquaSox players, including a Felix Hernandez AquaSox T-Shirt Giveaway on June 23. There will also be a Mike Zunino poster giveaway on June 28 and a Mike Zunino bobblehead giveaway on July 6. Zunino, the Mariners’ top draft pick in 2012, spent part of the season with the AquaSox last year, hitting .373 with 10 doubles, 10 home runs and 35 RBIs in 29 games.
Special appearances will include a visit from Hall of Famer Fergie Jenkins on August 16. Several annual fan favorite events return in 2013, including Bark in the Park on July 31 where fans are encouraged to bring their dogs to the ballpark, Frogstock on August 17 complete with a post-game fireworks show, and Root Beer Float Day on August 18 where fans can purchase all-you-can-drink root beer floats for just $6 as part of a fundraiser for the AquaSox Community Fund. Weekly specials, including Tasty Thursdays with $2 food specials and Military Sundays with discounted ticket offers for active and retired military as well as the AquaSox Kids Club and Silver Sluggers Club all return in 2013. The upcoming season, beginning on June 17th is the club’s 19th season as a Seattle Mariners affiliate and 30th season in Everett. Single game tickets will be available on-line on May 15 and in person starting at the AquaSox Fan Fest on May 19.
The complete AquaSox Promotional Schedule is available at aquasox.com. AquaSox pre-season festivities begin Sunday, May 19th with the team’s annual Fan Fest, marking the first day of single-game ticket sales for the 2013 season, as well as the first opportunity for fans to purchase 2013 Northwest League All-Star Game tickets. The event will be held at the AquaSox Stadium Store at 3802 Broadway in Everett and Everett Memorial Stadium and will include the opportunity to take batting practice on the field, meet the mascots, audition to sing the National Anthem at a game and more.The AquaSox Home Opener is June 17 at 7:05 versus the Tri-City Dust Devils. The AquaSox also host the 2013 Northwest League All-Star Game, presented by Tulalip Resort Casino, on August 6. Season tickets, group outings and both 13 and 17 game packages are available. Call (425) 258-3673 or visit the AquaSox office at 3802 Broadway in Everett for more information.
April 20, 2013Posted by on
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.
April 12, 2013Posted by on
From my Facebook page last night; most of the people on my FB list are not baseball fans:
I felt that I needed to explain this to people, about how rare it is that this kind of courtesy and respect visibly takes place in the game. There are a lot of behind the scenes and signals given that the fans can’t see, but this was done on Beltre’s part in a very visible and obvious way. If I had been at the game, I might have missed it. I am glad I did not. It made me giddy. I miss them being on the same team. I hope the Rangers are giving Beltre the correct amount of head rubs.
Last night’s game was a disappointment in more ways than I can think of, so I’ll just sum it up by saying that our offense was not around much, and Michael Morse’s finger is now broken at the hands of semi-rookie Tanner Scheppers. Scheppers hit Morse in the 7th inning, throwing up and in, hitting Morse in the hand hard enough that Morse wheeled back and grimaced, causing trainers and staff to run out and check on him. Scheppers then hit him again, this time in the shoulder. It gave Morse a base, but not before Morse glowered at Scheppers long enough that I thought he would charge the mound. Hilariously, Morse blows it off with “It’s a crazy game.” Morse obviously did not see the expression on his own face. Morse will (per the link) be out until probably this Sunday; it’s just his pinkie finger and should not take too long to heal. I would say that this hurts us, but even with Morse (and Michael Saunders, also out) on the team, we haven’t been doing too well the past few days.
I can watch these games because I’m used to it. I watch to see if I witness anything cool or different. I watch to see the players interact with each other and the fans. I watch because it’s baseball, and that means spring and summer, and when you don’t have a ton of money because your cat had to have surgery a month ago and you’re still trying to pay it off, it’s more valuable than ever to have that time with the game. I watch because I’m trying to support my team; they’re just not making it easy on me this week.
The one positive is that Felix notched his 1500th strike out at the tender age of 27. Mom, since I know you’re probably going to read this, that is significant; only three other pitchers in recorded MLB history have done this before the age of 27. The other three also recorded their 100th win, but I can’t fault Felix for not getting his last night, because again, where was our offense? When half your 14-man bench has an OPS under .754, two of the guys who had OPS over that percentage are hurt, and another one of them is your DH, you might have a problem.
Tonight, Hisashi Iwakuma goes up against Yu Darvish, and I would love to go and take pictures of Darvish, but this week is already kicking me in the pants for sleep. I don’t have high hopes, but we hit Darvish once, maybe we can hit him again. I am a little glad I’m not going to be there, though, just in case we don’t.
The definition of insanity, they say, is doing the same thing over and over again with negative results while expecting positive ones. I don’t want to alarm anyone, but there is a small chance we could all be crazy.
April 12, 2013Posted by on
I missed yesterday’s game because I got very little sleep the night before, and fell asleep on the couch right after dinner until about 9pm, and then was too tired to do anything but go to my actual bed. I woke up this morning to the news of yesterday’s charge into failure led by Blake Beavan, and the worst news of all, Michael Saunders’ sprained shoulder. I’d like to say I am shocked or disappointed, but really, this is why we can’t have nice things. I’m missing today’s game (even though a friend kindly offered me a ticket), because my wallet can only handle so much abuse, and my sleep schedule is all whacked out due to going to both Monday and Tuesday’s games.
Speaking of Tuesday’s game…
I went with my friend Eric, and we hung out at Hooverville for a while beforehand because Safeco Field doens’t have hard cider, and that is all Eric drinks (they used to, at the back bar on the west side of the field, but it has since been removed from the menu). Around 5-ish or so we decided to go to the ballpark and found it pleasantly (or unpleasantly) empty. I have a love/hate relationship with the concept of the empty ballpark. I love it because in general I do not like crowds, and it allows me to enjoy a game without having to shove my way through people every time I want a drink or some food; but I hate it because it’s depressing to look in the upper decks and see two people in a whole section, huddling together for warmth in the middle of that section because there are so few people there. From what I understand, the headcount was somewhere around 10,000 people or so.
But we went and the first place I hit up was Edgar’s Cantina, so I could check tacos off my to-do list. I was also interested in just being in a new space. Here is the view from the outer deck:
These are pork. I believe that the meat is the same kind used in the tortas, but am not quite sure. There are three in there, for $9, and they come with the meat, cilantro and onions, and cotija cheese. There is a salsa bar (the red and green bits) with three kinds of salsa. These are pretty good. My main complaint is that they are not spicy enough for me. I realize that not everyone is into spice, but maybe having a bottle of Tapatio wouldn’t kill them any. I give them high marks for general flavor, but not so much for spice. Still, pretty good for ballpark food, just like pretty much everything else in Safeco.
We also went downstairs to look at the new space/lower deck of Edgar’s.
You can see how it’s open air but with protective nets. People are standing around tables, and the bar is still where it used to be, it’s just much shinier and has fewer liquor options; mostly tequila.
Looking into the visitor’s bullpen. The tiny little holes that didn’t really provide much of a view are gone in favor of this. There is still a window and netting, neither one of which make for good photography, but the window is still a pretty cool feature.
My main issue with the downstairs is that it still feels very claustrophobic. I can imagine it’s fine if you get down there early and get a seat/standing space right up front , and it’s definitely a lot easier to take pictures of things from there than it used to be (my hilarious attempts at trying to get shots through the old netting were embarrassing at best), but a small space is a small space. And Mariners fans love their tequila; it was crowded so we didn’t stay long.
Looking out from the Edgar’s deck to the Pen and “Power Alley” area. I didn’t notice it on Opening Day, but they did in fact leave the bullpenbench in the same spot it was in during the open house event. Jesus Montero was signing a ball for a little kid over the fence area in the lower center part of the picture. I haven’t been all the way down there just yet.
The best thing about Edgar’s, other than the newness, the fact that it’s in Safeco Field, and the tacos, is that it allows a view of the visitor’s bullpen that I have never been privy to before. If I’m going to pay the amount of money that would have been necessary to sit over the visitor’s pen in previous years, I’m going to try and get better seats than the ones over by the King’s Court corner for the money. But being able to stand there for free and take pictures is priceless.
And this is pretty much where the pictures end. You all saw or heard about it, you know what happened. Brandon Maurer got pelted and didn’t even make it out of the first inning. Kameron Loe didn’t do him any favors, nor did any of the subsequent relievers, with the exception of Lucas Luetge, who was recently optioned to Tacoma for his troubles because why not send down the guy who saved you from complete embarrassment in front of one of the smallest crowds I’ve ever seen?
The whole game was disappointing. Disappointing and cold. We eventually went to the Hit It Here Cafe to have a little late night food and get out of the weather. Eric weighs a buck-o-five, so getting him into the warmth was the only way I could keep him there for the whole game (he was my ride, I didn’t have much choice). We wound up leaving just before the bottom of the 9th, but I’m kind of glad that I did, because seeing the runs we collected then would have only gotten my hopes up and then dragged them back down.
Now, I watch the Supreme Court with Felix throwing against the Rangers, and hope that we can do something against a team that notoriously slays all of our batters. Go Felix go!
April 9, 2013Posted by on
NOTE: It will likely be Tuesday when anyone is reading this, as it’s about 2AM Tuesday mornng as I’m posting it.
That’s right! Today was the Mariners home opener. You may remember (or have experienced yourself) my awful home opener last year, when the cash registers broke and a lot of us were all left out in the cold for food and drinks, the team lost, and I had to leave early. That sucked. Today? Today was the exact polar opposite of that, and my experience could not have been better if it had tried.
My friend Kevin came over around 1PM today, and after a check and double check of my camera bag, I determined that I had everything I needed; my season tickets that I needed to exchange (Tigers and Pirates afternoon games needed to be switched out for evening games so that friends can go with me), a gift card I was given last year that I planned to use for a new jersey, my camera, car keys, and wallet – so far so good, right? We hopped in the car and made it all the way across the West Seattle bridge to the 1st Ave S exit, when it occurred to me that I had in fact left my camera battery in its charger at home. And that’s why I show up to places early. A loop back around and quick run into the house to retrieve the battery, and we were back on our way.
My idea was to get down to SoDo, get free parking, and spend the rest of the day just kind of hanging out and doing whatever before the game. Unfortunately, between the regular work crowd and the fact that it was the home opener, a lot of other people had the same idea, and all the spots I would use normally were full. After driving up and down the service road that runs parallel with 1st, Kevin suggested a place he had gone before, thus keeping my streak of not paying for parking prior to games solid. No, I’m not giving away my secret!
We did the ticket exchange thing, and there were already fans migrating to Safeco Field and around the area. Moose Man was already there, and I saw the Ichi-Meter lady Amy Franz and her family talking to some cameras just down the sidewalk from the team store. We stopped in the team store and I picked up a new blue jersey that I plan to have lettered eventually. I was going to give the women’s sizes a shot (my Putz jersey is a size 52 so I can wear hoodies and layers under it; I can also wear it like a dress now, so I wanted something that fit), but there are no women’s jerseys in the navy color; only white and “northwest green”, and all of them appeared to have player names on them already. So I settled for a men’s medium.
We figured we’d take a walk down Occidental and see what the food trucks had to offer, and encountered ESPN doing a loud live broadcast outside the left field gates.
There were not a whole lot of food trucks set up at that hour, so we wound up at Elysian for a little bit, then went to Temple Billiards to hang out and meet a few more friends. Around 5.30 or so, it was time to go back to the stadium, so Kevin and Su (who had met us at Temple) and I took off back down the way we had come, where there were more food trucks including my current favorite, Taco GOL. Three pork, chicken or beef tacos for $5, with onion and cilantro, and some verde hot sauce of some sort, pickled jalepenos, lime, and some red spicy sauces as options. I cannot recommend this place enough. If you go to Sounders games, they are often parked outside the main gate. Yellow truck, you can’t miss it.
The three of us wandered into the bullpen entrance, and found ourselves being funneled upstairs with the crowd. Rather than fight it, we just continued on up the stairs, and broke out of the pack to walk around the main concourse over center field. At that point, Kevin and I parted ways with Su, and took the elevator upstairs to the 300 level. A Kidd Valley cheeseburger later, and we were in our seats watching a local band called Pickwick. I believe they had been playing for a while by the time we sat down, but they ended their set with a rendition of John Fogarty’s “Centerfield”. Not really my cup of tea in general, but they looked like they were having fun. They will also be playing the Capitol Hill Block Party this year, so if you want to check them out or are already a fan, that would be a good place to catch them again.
I thought maybe we might go see if we could check out Edgar’s at some point during the evening, but after taking the following picture, decided that I didn’t need more tacos that badly.
The JUMBOtron (because it is seriously massive) was on and glitch-free all night, just like it had been there forever. My camera cannot at all capture the magnificence of this thing, but I tried.
At least you get an idea of how big it it, if not how crisp the actual picture is. Seriously, it’s like staring into the clearest lake you’ve ever seen. But at the bottom of that lake is baseball. Amazing.
Then came the lineup introductions and pre-game fireworks. The Houston Astros were announced first; the rest of the roster including a very amused Erik Bedard, who just grinned and laughed a little as his name elicited both cheers and boos from the crowd on hand; this was followed by the Houston starters for tonight’s game. Then, fireworks and our own roster, which I’ll just post pictures of here rather than go into any description. There is a red carpet, things explode, guys run out, everybody gets on their feet to applaud and cheer…they have done this every year that I have been a fan just about (maybe not in 2008, I cannot remember), and year to year it’s kind of the same. But there was something about this year’s ceremony that I can’t quite put my finger on. Guys were getting cheered mercilessly; even the relief pitchers, even Jason Bay,and former Angel Kendrys Morales. There was an excitement and this swell of noise in the crowd, a different kind of energy than in previous years. Maybe it was just the mood I was in, maybe it was the people around us, I don’t know. Whatever the case, something was different. Something…hopeful? Maybe?
Apologies for not getting closer shots; I was trying to cheer, take pictures, and make sure I wasn’t in anyone’s way all at the same time. Plus, they were moving pretty quickly. Oh, I nearly forgot. Explosions!
The ball on the hill behind Moyer was left there by the family of a member of the organization who passed away recently. I am feeling terribly inadequate that I cannot remember the man’s name, especially given that the stadium had a moment of silence for him, and two other people. I did not see what happened to the ball after Moyer threw out the pitch, but I thought it was a nice gesture.
And who else do you have catch Jamie Moyer’s pitch? Dan Wilson, of course.
The new screen and the reader boards that have been there for a few years now, plus the digital scoreboard over center field were all synched up as the Mariners took the field, and the whole place lit up like a candle to the strains of Macklemore’s “Can’t Hold Us”. If the Mariners goal with this thing was shock and awe, they more than accomplished it.
Joe Saunders took the hill and proceeded to pitch a lovely six innings and change. I had hoped for seven solid, but I’ll take what I can get. His performance was much better tonight than it was down in Oakland last week. He seemed to work more evenly. It could have been a difference between the Astros and the A’s offense, but that being the case, as Matt Pitman said on the post game show as I was driving home, “This is the kind of team you’re supposed to beat.”
Michael Saunders, attempting to steal. I kept waiting for Humber to try and pick him off so I could get him face first in the dirt, and missed every opportunity, trying to get pictures of other things.
This is Ronny Cedeno, hitting the ball that went past Brendan Ryan in the top of the 5th inning. There is nothing really significant about the fact that Ronny Cedeno hit a ball (or is there?), but getting a ball past Brendan Ryan is kind of a rare thing. Kudos to Cedeno.
After two mound conferences and six innings pitched, Phil Humber had to come out of the game. The damage was already pretty much done at that point, but after loading up the bases in the 5th inning for Michael Morse and then finally managing to get Morse to GIDP, Humber’s day was done anyway.
I can tell you, from where I was sitting, there was not a group of people who wanted a baseball player to hit what would have been a grand slam on Morse’s part more in the whole universe. If that had happened, Safeco Field might have actually spontaneously combusted. Alas.
During the 7th inning stretch, some guy who apparently doesn’t like baseball very much decided that it was his turn to…shine? I don’t know what running onto the field accomplishes, other than being charged with a crime and being barred from the field for a lengthy period of time (Kevin and I had a brief discussion over whether or not it was for the entire season, or for life; we’re still not sure). It does let some 42,000 people know that you’re an idiot. You don’t get on TV, and frankly, I don’t know why anyone has any interest in being thrown onto the ground and dogpiled on by a bunch of security guards. Have a little respect for the game; then again, I guess if you had respect for the game, you wouldn’t do something like this to begin with. I didn’t take pictures of this guy’s face, but I did take a picture of the inevitable conclusion of running onto a baseball field during a live game.
Joe Saunders tossed his 6 and 1/3 innings, and was spelled to rousing applause by Carter Capps. I stood up for him, as did a lot of other people. The Joe Saunders we sort of expected was not the Joe Saunders we got, and that is a positive as far as I am concerned. The man pitched 6+ innings of scoreless baseball. Not too shabby. Capps came in and it was then I discovered that Capps does this weird thing in his windup. It took me a while to get the timing on it, so you’re getting both the successful pictures I took because I worked at it an entire half inning.
When he’s in the set, he drops the ball below his butt. Then he brings it up to his glove like just about everyone else does, then swings his arm back down behind him again. I have no idea how he gets it back up in time, but he surely does. There were two guys in back of us keeping score, who were as fascinated with this as I was. Baseball players are funny sometimes. Carter Capps is funny in this way. Carter Capps also throws a 96MPH four-seamer on the regular, so I’m not complaining. Charlie Furbush was brought in to face Rick Ankiel in the top of the 8th, and that was all she wrote. We were done scoring, and it was time for the Bartender to come in and work his magic.
Again, my camera cannot possibly do justice to the light show they’re giving the closer this year. I can’t get pumped up for Jimi Hendrix’s “Voodoo Child” like I could for “Thunderstruck” and, to a lesser extent, “Ladies and Gentlemen” or whatever that awful mess was that Brandon League used to come in to, but if there is a closer on the field, and he’s yours, don’t complain. I attempted to photograph bits of Wilhelmsen’s arrival.
I am hoping that the team can take strides this year to truly earn the awesomeness of the field the organization has created for them to play on. I honestly can’t think of any more improvements that could be made to a structure I consider my home away from home. I love it and I am so excited to be able to spend my summer there.
And with a pop-up sandwiched between two groundouts, Wilhelmsen gets the save, the Mariners get the 3-0 win, there are high-fives all around, and a lot of happy Mariners fans leave the field in droves.
All in all, my day could not have gone more smoothly if it had tried. I always want to do far too much on Opening Day, and I was able to strike a nice balance between what I wanted to do, and what I could do, so I spent zero time stressed out about not being able to get this or that picture, eat this or that food, or whatever else it is that I try and cram into a night at the ballpark. The Mariners themselves put on an offensive show, the fans we were sitting around were super pleasant and polite and chatty, and I don’t know how much more I could have possibly enjoyed myself.
Tomorrow night is my first season ticket game, and I’m taking my Red Sox buddy Eric. I want to check out all the stuff I didn’t get to see today, and will be back in my regular haunt in left field, the comfortable, comfortable bleachers (I’m not being glib, I really like it out there). Erik Bedard will be starting, and I’m going to check out the new spot below Edgar’s and see what kind of pictures I can grab of the action in the visitor’s bullpen.
Baseball is back!
April 4, 2013Posted by on
I was able to watch up until about the 7th inning of the game last night until I was literally unable to keep my eyes open. When I wandered off to bed, the score was 4-1 in favor of the Ms. I see that it ended with a run per inning after that to end the game at 7-1. I was happy about that, as it gives us an automatic series split, which is always nice to start off the year on. I am excited about this season still, but am trying not to flip out too much just yet. One game at a time. Even with the crazy amount of home runs that have already been hit over the past couple of days, I’m merely trying to keep my expectations not necessarily low, but at a relatively even keel. Just going to spend the season watching and listening to as much as I can, hoping for the best and expecting the worst. Come to think of it, that’s pretty much how I deal with life; it appears that baseball and I have come to an agreement.
Tonight’s game started off well enough, with Franklin Gutierrez hitting one over the left field wall on a 4th pitch 4-seamer. He was followed by Michael Morse doing the same thing a short while later, on the same exact pitch (an 86MPH fastball) but over the center field wall.
But our luck did not last long. I don’t know that much about Joe Saunders, but apparently, he has some massive platoon splits, and that really started to show in the bottom of the 3rd (thanks, Brett!). I sincerely hope that this is not indicative of all of his performances against right handed hitters for the rest of the season. I just remember him eating us alive every year when he was in Anaheim. Then again, I could be confusing him with John Lackey…or a younger Joe Saunders. Saunders gave a double to Coco Crisp, then proceeded to walk both Jed Lowrie and Chris Young to walk the bases. The tie was achieved at the hands of Yoenis Cespedes, who sacrificed himself to Franklin Guiterrez so that Crisp might live. Saunders managed to get himself out of the inning with just that one run.
More trouble came in the bottom of the 4th, when two runs cut their way past what seemed to be very deliberately slow pitching by Saunders. Some fielding weirdness between Robert Andino not catching a Nate Freiman pop up and Michael Morse almost running into Andino allowed Freiman on base. Had that not happened, maybe we only would have been down by 1 after the 4th, but who knows. Saunders was even trying to throw in and down on righties, but to no avail. He was pulled after pitching four square innings, and Kameron Loe took over in the 5th.
Loe’s 5th and 6th innings were all very well and good, but in the bottom of the 7th he gave up back to back dingers to both Jed Lowrie and Chris Young. Lowrie’s came on an 83MPH changeup, Young’s on a 78MPH slider. From a distance and with his hat brim down, Loe bears a striking resemblance to Jarrod Washburn. Unfortunately tonight, his pitching performance was not on par with the last time we saw Wash in a Mariners uniform. What we saw tonight is what history has apparently told us, Loe is not good for more than two innings. Eric Wedge tried to squeeze a third out of him and we suffered a little more for it. We would not have won anyway, but if tonight is a true performance from Loe, when he goes downhill, it’s without brakes and very fiercely. Charlie Furbush took over for Loe in the 8th and didn’t cause much damage, although it was obvious that all the arms tonight might have been just a wee bit rusty.
I am hoping that the sentiments expressed by many on Twitter tonight – that the bullpen is now a point of concern – is inaccurate. But I don’t think that it is. Furbush almost tossed away Felix’s win on Monday night, and he wound up with some pretty wild pitches on his hands this evening, one of which hit Josh Reddick.
Other than the loss (and we all have to lose sometime), the Mariners fielding was not too shabby. There was a nice relay from Jason Bay from the left field corner to Brendan Ryan to gun down Nate Frieman at the plate. I feel a little better about our catcher situation this year already. That might be ill-advised, but I don’t care. Our Rob Johnson and Miguel Olivo days are behind us now. I’m good with the Montero/Shoppach team. It’s been a while since I could say that, so yay.
I have officially stayed up far past my bedtime, so here is an abrupt end to this. I might try to give Brandon Maurer’s first major league start a listen tomorrow at work if the AM airwaves cooperate with me, but I am super bummed out that I can’t actually watch it. I do hope he does well. And now, ’tis sleepytime.
April 2, 2013Posted by on
I didn’t sleep well and spent most of the morning with a headache today, but that all seemed to magically go away by around 4PM, when Tom and I packed up and took off for the confines of Safeco Field on a nice, clear Seattle spring afternoon. We really could not have asked for nicer weather tonight. I was wearing a dress and a cotton jacket and never had to zip up or use my fleece!
We parked the car in the Safeco garage for free as advertised, and walked the skybridge to the Terrace Club to stand in line for about 40 minutes. Somewhere during this time, I got a text from Matt Pitman, and was told that I would not be needed to talk during the pre-game show, and that the station had decided to talk to Mariners VP of Marketing, Kevin Martinez. I was actually a little bummed about that, because I was prepared, but also kind of happy about it, so it all works out. Having Kevin on makes more sense anyway, given that he was actually involved in the planning of this thing, and I am merely a lowly fan. Maybe next time. As they say at the Oscars, it’s just an honor to be nominated.
Around 5.30, our bags had been checked and the doors opened, we had our paper tickets exchanged for STH lanyards, and were ushered down the first base line to get our t-shirts near the Hit It Here Cafe. There were tables upon tables of hot dogs, two or three different types of sausages, cookies, crudite’ and dip, peanuts, popcorn, and pizza. And veggie dogs! I haven’t really had cause to bring it up here, but I have been eating a more vegetarian diet, so these were particularly welcome. We had some quick dogs, and then wandered around back toward the third baseline, where we met up with Kevin and he gave us the information necessary to get hooked up to the internet at Safeco.
At first, it seemed like the season ticket holders had the rest of the public outnumbered. It was hard to move through the crowd down the hall, and outside the warning track was a little sparse with people who were doing the general admission thing:
So we got a few beers, and went to sit down. I have not been drinking much lately, but a free Guiness courtesy of the Mariners is too good to pass up. Since I’m writing this as we go tonight, I am not sure at this point in the post whether I will be able to make it to Edgar’s due to the crowds and such, but here are some pictures from section 233, where we wound up sitting:
By around 6.45, nearly game time, the field is starting to fill in with a lot more people:
People are still walking around the warning track when this picture was taken, but the seats were filling in fast. I’m going to beg any reader’s pardon for a loss or confusion of tenses while writing this. Just a warning…
The game started off with a typical 0-0 first inning. Josh Reddick stepped up to the plate without his trademark mouthpiece from last year, but sporting a beard that indicated that perhaps he’d be very good at wrasslin’ a bear. Felix took three up and three down with 7 pitches while sporting a new fashion choice of his own; a new neck tattoo.
People were watching from both dugouts. They were putting people’s tweets up with the hastag #OpenHouse on the screens in the stadium, and one fan noted that the dugout seats were heated. I think I might have known that from a stadium tour or some other event where I picked up the information, but it totally makes sense now why there were so many fans packed into the dugouts during the game – outside the novelty of being able to be there, of course.
The new bullpen area. Honestly, I know the fences have come in, but from where I was sitting for most of the night, you really can’t tell. Things are slightly different in the center and left outfields, but it still looks like the same old Safeco Field. With new bits added, but still the same amount of grass and dirt. I honestly thought it would be noticeably smaller.
People were allowed to walk around the warning track for the entire game. Every few innings rather than commercials, they had Jen Mueller interviewing Edgar Martinez about the new cafe’, or fans taking tee ball swings just over second base to win things. The two men in the first round got three tries (or four, really; possibly five?) to hit a ball on a tee from that point in the field to over the wall in center. Both succeeded.
The sun finally went down, and I was able to get a decent picture of the new screen. The advertisements being on the side are part of the new setup as well, and my only complaint is that I wish they’d been able to get rid of them for this event; but I understand advertiser relationships, and they probably had to be up in place during a public showing of a game. No worries. The board is still pretty massive. Later in the night, they did play a split screen of the action in the 9th inning and the crowd here at home, using the entire screen.
Since the HD is so very H, any picture taken of this thing on any unprofessional camera is probably not going to come out great. But if you can picture the entirety of the center field bleachers under this, then you have an idea of exactly how large a screen we are dealing with here. It’s great. I do hope in the future they might consider removing the ads to have the entire thing active, because it sort of seems like a waste of digital space if the ads are a permanent fixture. But I suppose that remains to be seen.
In the bottom of the 6th, Tom and I went down to the main concourse and met up with some friends sitting in section 133. We sat there and chatted for a bit, but they had to leave for home, so after a nice 7th inning stretch and the first-of-the-year playing of Louie Louie, we left that section in favor of taking a stroll around that lower level and taking some more pictures. So we were sitting about here:
The party deck is far more massive than it used to be. I believe the lower half there is what they are now referring to as The Power Alley, for groups and company parties. You can’t really see it well in this photo with everyone there, but there are chairs and tables and a long bar/table that runs along the front like before. More seating, more space, a really good overall improvement.
In addition to True to the Blue t-shirts, everyone was given red, white and blue K cards in honor of Felix’s start. I declined mine, having way too much to carry around with me anyway, but fans who had theirs used them enthusiastically. It was seriously just like we were at a game; very surreal, but very “normal” at the same time. It felt like home, even without the players on the field.
This is the top half of Edgar’s. It’s a secondary party deck – the bar part is downstairs underneath – but you can see the kitchen back there where you can get several different kinds of tacos. The deck area itself is larger than it looks here, and can hold quite a few people. I did not get to try the tacos. But I will. Very very soon.
The game, of course, was also great, though without the offense I might have hoped for going into it. Felix was awesome as always, and got the win. Charlie Furbush almost tossed that away for him by loading up the bases, but the Mariners were able to get the final out of the bottom of the 8th inning, after Furbush was replaced with Stephen Pryor. Tom Wilhelmsen came in to get the save, and everyone left Safeco Field happy, having had a lovely night of a strange kind of baseball on Opening Day.
I have to say, I am really impressed with how well everything was handled this evening. From the lanyard tags with the drink tickets attached to them, to the snazzy sponsor-free t-shirts, to the way fans were just sort of given the run of the place. How many other teams would organize an event like this for their fans? The Mariners went above and beyond the call of duty to give Seattle a night I don’t think anyone will soon forget. It was nothing too fancy, but they didn’t have to do any of this, and they did, and it freaking ROCKED. There was a very friendly and cheerful atmosphere there, and it was obvious that everyone was just happy to be at the ballpark. We all cheered when the Mariners did well, booed when ROOT Sports lost the feed a few times during the evening, and I could hear fans around me being full of either praise or critical of the game being played, as if there were a living breathing game in front of us. It was a lot like watching the game in your living room. With some 17,000 of your closest friends.
All of this, and I never got too cold! Good work, Mariners. Good work indeed. I hope they do it again, and that others have the opportunity to go. It was a great end to my weekend. Baseball season has now officially started. Hallelujah!
April 1, 2013Posted by on
No game recap here, as I spent an hour out of it watching the season finale of The Walking Dead, but I was able to catch back up with the game around the 6th inning or so, as Bud Norris had just spelled by Erik Bedard. Bedard remained in the rest of the game, and kept the Rangers shut out, much to my glee – not because it was the Rangers, but because it was Bedard. The game was broken open in the 7th when Rick Ankiel homered to send in three runs, and that was pretty much that for the Rangers. It was fun to see Bedard pitch again; he was not listed on the active roster earlier today when I took that screen shot, and I had completely spaced that he had even gotten picked up by Houston; that’s what I get for being lazy.
The Astros played well against one of the current best in the league (loss of multiple players or not), and Minute Maid Park is a pretty nice structure as stadiums go. I am looking forward to being able to visit it on my someday-planned NL and AL West mega-vacation. I look forward to seeing the Mariners play there. I look forward to a lot. Deal with it.
I was sitting in a boat off the West Seattle coast in the Sound today when the information came down about Casper Wells’ DFA. I can’t say that it comes as a surprise of course, but it still makes me sad. If he can’t find a home in the Mariners organization via the various ins and outs of designation, then I hope that another team finds some value in him. Whatever happens, Allison from No Run Support was totally right; Wells became a favorite pretty quickly after we got him from Detroit, and it is unfortunate that he wasn’t able to really grow roots here as a Mariner. I wish him well.
So apparently I will be – very much against my better judgement – on the radio tomorrow during the pre-game show. I’m not sure how it’s going to work, but apparently I call in to talk to Matt Pitman, and then the magic happens. I kind of know what I’m supposed to talk about, the fun will be to see if I can do it without swearing. If you can’t be at Safeco or watch the game on TV tomorrow night, feel free to tune into 710 ESPN and listen to me get my 2-3 minutes of fame. Will my fear of public speaking make it a hilarious 2-3 minutes? Only my anxiety medication knows for sure! In all seriousness, though, it’s going to be a mess, you should at least check it out for that.
Less than 24 hours from now, we’ll all be watching Mariners baseball. You can’t see it, but I am totally breathing the biggest sigh of relief. Our long national nightmare is over. Baseball is back.