Great night out, Mariners win

This one’s going to be photo-heavy. I got some good ones.

Last night marked our first season game in our actual seats, section 182, left field bleachers. We’re in row 4, right over the ESPN sign. When I chose these seats, I had been in the area before, but wasn’t entirely sure if I’d enjoy it for a full season, because I just remembered feeling so far away from the game. Well, I was very pleased to find out that that’s simply not the case. I don’t know whether it was the company I was keeping (Conor and Jessica), the impromptu cheering section that formed in 180, or the banter back and forth with the folks in the surrounding area, but I had one of the best times I’ve ever had at a game, and my face still hurts a little from laughing and screaming. Maybe it was the Thai food I had pre-game (Thai Ginger, I love you so hard), or the little Oakland A’s fans sitting a few rows in front of us cheering for “I-Cheerio”…or maybe it was the win? It may remain a mystery, but I had a blast.

Jessica swung by to pick up Conor and me a little after 5pm. We beat it down to the Hooverville area, and parked the car on the street for free, despite a parking attendant’s best efforts to get us to do otherwise. Jessica brought her wheelchair, but she’s doing really well now, and can walk decent distances with just her cane with a minimum amount of pain (if any at all), so we strolled down to SafeCo, got searched, and I made a beeline for Intentional Wok. Jessica got a Polish dog, and we all went to check out our new digs, and take in a little batting practice and the general atmosphere.

Jason Vargas and Adam Moore came out to warm up:

Not quite sure if the bullpen was doing some bullpen thing or what, but David Aardsma and John Wetteland walked across the field to the pen backwards the entire way, and it almost looked like the entire pen was running away from poor Kanekoa Texeira, taking up the rear with his Hello Kitty backpack.

The On Deck Show eventually started, and it was then that it was announced that Gene Porter, a local proprietor of Dixie’s BBQ, and inventor of a hot sauce known as “The Man” (as in, ‘would you like to meet The Man’?) had recently died. There is at least one Dixie’s location in SafeCo Field, and I have met The Man there. I cannot for the life of me understand how a guy who looked like he was a kindly gentleman in life could have come up with something that caused me a great deal of excruciating facial  pain for the better part of two hours during a White Sox game back in 2007. My hat is off to you, sir. God speed.

The “play ball kid” said “Play ball!”, and the game was afoot. Eric Byrnes started things off right by attempting a running catch on a fly ball that wound up in the stands in left field, but he gave it a good shot and wound up wet and muddy for his troubles:

Brett Miller, a fellow Lookout Landing participant, brought his banner with him to right field:

The game was peppered with some fairly bad baserunning on the parts of both Jose Lopez and Milton Bradley, rundowns that didn’t need to happen but looked like they were both borne out of a fair amount of confusion between the players and the third base coach. With Jake Fox having already driven in a 2-run homer in the second inning, and the bases loaded in the 5th, Milton Bradley was up to bat. Since the fans had already booed his rundown loudly, I was terrified that he would strike out and it would lead to more booing. Conor had far more faith than I, and it turned out to be justified; Bradley swung for a single and sent both Chone Figgins and Ichiro, who had singled and walked respectively, home to tie up the score. At that point, Gio Gonzalez was asked to leave the mound:

He was replaced by Utility Infielder Chad Gaudin:

Gaudin polished the rest of his Mariners off in the 5th, but did not have that same luck in the 6th, when he allowed two runs to sneak through for us, courtesy of Franklin Gutierrez and Jose Lopez line drives. And these guys were awesome – they spent most of the second half of the game standing up and cheering in unison. Not terribly creative cheers (usually some variation of “Let’s go (insert player name here) *clap-clap clapclapclap), but cheers nonetheless, cheers that were not generated by the SafeCo Field video screens. They are my new favorite people in the stadium, and I am very much hoping that they have season tickets in that section all year long.

In the 8th inning, Jose Lopez tipped a ball that instant replay apparently (per several folks on Twitter) showed was in fact tipped. The A’s didn’t agree with the call, however, and we got treated to about two full songs while their manager argued with the umpires, and Lopez stood by, stretching and getting ready to hear the final decision. It was in favor of Lopez, who then called out on strikes.

Had I known that it was going to take so long for them to figure this out, I would have tried to get down to the pen to take pictures of David Aardsma warming up – but it was one of those things where I knew if I went down at any given time, I’d be too late. So I stayed put. He came out, did some pitching, and saved our game:

Our night was also punctuated by some guy in the next section over who was wearing a Cubs jersey (a Milton Bradley Cubs jersey, no less), and would not stop heckling Eric Patterson. Conor came to the very true conclusion that Patterson may have at one point been a Cub (true! 2006 and 2007 seasons), and we figured the guy may have had his heart broken. Whatever the case, at one point he was standing up on one of the bleachers yelling Patterson’s name, and Jessica pointed out loudly that he had been spitting in the hair of a young woman sitting down a few rows from him. The woman heard and looked back, terrified, yelling “He spit in MY hair?!” I nodded, and the guy retreated back to his seat while calling Jessica a “hater”, but the anti-Patterson agenda continued, after he’d gathered up a bit of his pride. After a while, it just became funny.

We also met some of the folks around us, on the same game plan as we are, and had some marvelous hot cocoa that served to keep us warm all night despite a little bit of wind and lower temperatures after sunset. A win, good company, and an excellent time. I can hardly wait to do it again next week!

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10 Responses to Great night out, Mariners win

  1. Conor says:

    I do hope that Patterson (the section’s new name for our “friendly” local heckler) returns for future games. Spitting aside, he definitely helped raise the entertainment level.

    Also: “We hear YOU like the minors!” 😉

  2. Harrison says:

    What type of camera do you have?

    • section331 says:

      It’s a Canon Powershot S5 iS. Unfortunately, it is a model that is discontinued, though you can still find them on eBay for varying prices, depending on whether or not they’re used. It’s basically a go-between a point-and-shoot and an SLR. I’m not sure what the new model is, but I know that there is one. 🙂

  3. Branton says:

    I’ve had 16 game packages in the left field bleachers for a couple of years. It was great. You get a lot of fans from the visiting team in the cheap seats, and they’re usually fun to interact with. Everyone, for the most part, is really nice.

    There are two downsides. Don’t expect to get any home runs. And if it’s raining, the roof won’t necessarily keep you dry. It will blow in and still get you wet.

    Overall, left field bleachers are a fun cheap way to see a bunch of games.

    • section331 says:

      I have noticed a higher level of socialization and camaraderie over there than in other places. The lower deck can be social, but it seems like everywhere else people are far too interested in taking care of their kids or telling people to be quiet when they’re cheering. LF is more like a soccer game; I kinda dig it.

      I hear you on the rain thing – we wound up over there once when it was raining, and had to move down to the lower deck area to get out of it. Boo to that, but it looks like the weather is taking a turn for the better now, and we’re supposed to be warmer than “normal”, so maybe that won’t be too much of a concern this year.

  4. Chris_from_Bothell says:

    Went with a buddy of mine to this one; wished for a larger crowd, and some more Milton support than we were seeing, but all in all fun.

    We were just 4 rows back behind the Oakland dugout in the lower deck, closest I’ve even been to the field, so I got some moderately nifty Ichi shots on my cameraphone. Had a decent heckler near us (energy-wise, not creatively… though he was a bit bipolar, changing up his heckles of Gaudin from “I hate you” to “I love you” and back again…). We all had fun getting on the As manager when he went out to argue for what seemed like a week. And I got to see Milton have his little minor stroke on the basepaths; after blowing through the stop sign at third he just seemed dazed or something.

    Happy Felix Day!

    • section331 says:

      Yeah, it was definitely an interesting game. Nice seats for you! Lower deck is too rich for my unemployed student blood, but maybe some day. I may try and spring for the last game or something. 🙂

      That argument lasted a long time – I was actually a little surprised their manager didn’t get tossed, but didn’t want it lighting a fire under Oakland or anything, so maybe it’s for the best. I can’t imagine what they could have argued about regarding a foul tip for so long, but whatever. Good game all ’round.

      I love that Ichiro arm stretch – taking pictures of it will never get old. 🙂

      • Chris from Bothell says:

        Yeah, those seats were a birthday gift to my buddy from his wife; they’re on a mailing list for a guy who occasionally sells off some of his season tickets there. His list is good-sized, so the tix go quickly…

  5. section331 says:

    Chris – the guy here who goes by Mariners Maniac (Craig) also has frequent extra tickets to sell – I think one set is for the lower deck and the other is for the 300 level. You might want to hit him up, too. More resources never hurt anyone. 😀

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