I’ll put it bluntly; the weather was not nice yesterday. The sun was shining for my entire drive down to Tacoma, but the minute I got there, large black clouds hovered, the wind picked up, and all was Not Right in Rainiers Land. I had taken the time to layer (I was wearing three shirts, my Mariners scarf, and a jacket), but to no avail. I still found myself without feeling in hands and toes by the time the 9th inning ended with a flyout off the bat of Matt Mangini.
Conor and I tried to delay our arrival to Cheney Stadium because standing out in the weather was not high on my list of priorities, but it couldn’t be avoided. Lines were starting to form around 5.30, and a brutally cold wind had picked up. At least, it was brutal for me; my hair is very short in the back, and I am not a wearer of hats under most circumstances (baseball hats and I are not very good friends). So with no choice and intermittent sun breaks, we waited for the gates to open. Once inside, we made a beeline for some pints of beer (because nothing says “warmth” like a plastic cup of ice-cold Mirror Pond, and common sense was not in my lexicon), then wandered over to find our seats. We were briefly sidetracked by Greg Halman taking batting practice in the cages near the Gold Club in the commons area by right field, but he was just finishing up, so there was not much to see.
Our seats were easily found, and after a few minutes of whinging about the weather after we fully realized what we were going to be in for during the next 3 or so hours, it was decided that getting in some food was necessary before the game started. We missed the small amount of opening ceremonies (sorry, America, my blood sugar is a little more important than listening to your National Anthem for the 80 billionth time in my life, though the gal singing it did an excellent job), and by the time we got back to our seats, the lineups had been announced, and David Pauly had already started throwing.
The weather from where we were initially sitting:
Much like the Mariners (and the weather), the Rainiers’ bats weren’t very hot last night, either. It’s so tragic to get shutout on your home opener. We tried mounting a bit of a threat at the bottom of the 9th by loading the bases, but Mangini’s aforementioned flyout ended the game, leaving them loaded. If it’s one thing I have noticed about attending games at Cheney Stadium, it’s that home runs do not seem easily come-by. Perhaps it’s my lack of constant attendance that provides the illusion of infrequent home runs? I don’t know. Either that, or Matt Mangini simply isn’t clutch. There, I said it.
Tommy Everidge kept on keepin’ on, with some fabulous plays at first, and some good hits. No offense to those players who look a little more, um, well-fed, but it’s fascinating to me to see a guy shaped like Everidge do the things that he does, especially after a few days of watching some very painful Ken Griffey Junior at-bats. Levale Speigner (apparently pronounced “sp-eye-ner”, though I can’t stop pronouncing it “spin-yay” in my head) took a few innings at the end of the game, and while I was too cold to care about his mechanics or anything, he certainly didn’t allow the SkySox any further runs. He did nearly get hit by a splintered bat in the 9th inning, and were it not for his small-ish size and cat-like reflexes, he could have been severely hurt; it came right at him, and he had to drop flat-out on the ground to avoid the shards.
Conor, trying to take notes and keep a scorecard, under the sad little Rainiers game blanket he bought to try and keep our legs warm. It got too cold for me to use Twitter very frequently, and the updates that I managed were torturous to type and often either misspelled, or needed to be gone over again to correct errors that my frozen fingers had made. Around the time I took this photo, Chris Woodward hit a double (!!!!) and then Josh Wilson followed that up with a broken-bat single that resulted in the bat splinter sticking in the ground, like a lawn dart, way over by the mound. This was all in the 9th inning, when we were trying for a rebound:
As the Mangini flyout happened, we left the stadium like we were on fire (which seriously would have been far more preferable to the freezing we’d been doing) to go sit in the car with the heater on as high as it would go. As we sat in the parking lot trying to get warm, Cheney Stadium delivered some great Opening Day fireworks that lasted far longer than the regular 5-minute Friday displays. It’s unfortunate that they could not have celebrated a win. Maybe tonight. The SkySox outhit and outran the Rainiers last night (6-4 and 2-0, respectively), and the game was more of a pitcher’s duel than a slugfest certainly, but it was -even if mercilessly cold- a nice way to kick off the season with a live game.
I also discovered that I am in no way, shape or form brave enough to talk to baseball players. They terrify me.
I am vaguely aware that the Mariners lost the series to Oakland yesterday afternoon. I also found out about the DFA’ing of Ryan Langerhans and the addition of Jesus Colome to our bullpen while I was between classes yesterday. It very nearly made me swear in mixed company. I am trying to keep things in perspective and maintain a cool head, which is especially difficult to do when there is so much worry and negativity flying around. This may be the year that makes or breaks the front office for some people. I’m just going to sit and coast and hope that things turn around for the better soon, that we find our groove and get down to the business of winning. Keeping my fingers crossed that business starts booming…
EDIT: Conor’s version of the story, with 100% more analysis than mine, is now up at ProBallNW.