I should have gone to the store to get ingredients to make a salami on rye with a nice brown or sweet brown mustard, maybe some tomatoes and a bit of lettuce or swiss – y’know, just to make it a bit fancy. I should eventually develop some sort of tradition around Opening Day, as I’ve only just this morning realized that I really don’t have one. If Opening Day happens here, I’ve gone out for early beer, but I’m still so new to this that I haven’t had much of an opportunity to build any sort of tradition aside from Tom and I attending the last game of the season together in the Terrace Club. Tom did make some crazy-shaped pasta with a really nice red sauce with a lot of meat in it, though; comfort food for a really dreary gray Seattle day. That will do just fine for this year. I’ll let my buddy Jason take the mantle of the salami sandwich, since he was all over it:
FSN is now Root Sports. I don’t approve of this name change, but nobody asked me. They had a wonderfully inspiring half-hour introductory pre-game show, complete with memories of Dave Niehaus, previews of the team, and a general welcoming back of the fans to the world of baseball. Yeah, all the Dave stuff made me cry. And if a tiny few-minute tribute made me cry, I can’t imagine what a mess I’m probably going to be next Friday. The broadcasts -both TV and radio – further conspired to bring the tears by featuring radio silence for Trevor Cahill’s first pitch (a pitch that Dave would normally have called, of course), and then ROOT/FSN broadcast an entire third inning of silence while Felix worked over the A’s 1-2-3. I sat here on my couch, salty water welling up in my eyes, hoping Tom wouldn’t ask me if I was OK. Fortunately, he didn’t notice, and I didn’t make it to sniffles, which I’m sure I will absolutely get to next Friday.
The Ms had a rough start tonight. They managed to put a lot of men on base – loading the bases twice with two outs in both the third and fourth innings – but didn’t manage to do much with that high-stakes situation either time. Felix Hernandez seemed a bit twitchy today, too, but only initially. Everything was just tense and weird, and it didn’t seem like either team was very relaxed until Chone Figgins hit a two-run home run in the top of the 6th to put us over Oakland 3-2, and then it was nothing but smiles and high fives in the dugout on Seattle’s side – I’m sure that Oakland was probably still tense and weird. Thank you, Craig Breslow, for that little miracle. In the bottom of the 6th, Felix seemed to have mellowed out and started protecting his one-run lead, taking care of the A’s in order. The whole mid-game series of events seemed to light a spark under some guys, as we piled on two more hits and put more guys on base in the 7th, and Breslow was taken out in favor of one of my personal favorites Brad Ziegler. On Ziegler’s second pitch, Miguel Olivo sent a high hopper over the mound and Jack Cust in from third, and placed himself firmly on first base in conjunction with a fielding error by A’s first baseman Daric Barton. Score 4-2. Ziegler tried to catch Olivo leading off at first (which he wasn’t even remotely close to doing), but wound up throwing the ball past both Olivo and Barton, advancing Olivo to second, and Justin Smoak to third. Smoak then scored on another Ziegler throwing error with Ryan Langerhans at bat. Olivo scored after Brendan Ryan put the ball into play, but he did so at the expense of Oakland’s catcher Kurt Suzuki, a player that I generally like. Olivo rammed into Suzuki, twisting up Suzuki’s ankle a bit; after the standard rolling about on the ground, check-ups by team personnel, and a few practice throws, Suzuki bit the bullet and stayed in the game. The inning finally ended with Ziegler being replaced by Bobby Cramer, who got Ichiro to GIDP for the final out, but we had already done quite a bit of damage, 6-2.
I spent the rest of the game watching it, rather than really taking notes. Felix stayed in through the 8th and allowed runners on, but managed to get Ryan Sweeney to GIDP, squeezing past what could have potentially been the start of a rally. Chris Ray was being warmed up in the bullpen, but he was not needed – Felix Hernandez pitched a complete game tonight, the first starter in Mariners history to do so.
Now, I’m happy about winning this game, I’m happy that we managed to rack up some hits and some runs enough to demonstrate that we can do those things with this offensive lineup, and for the love of all that’s holy, I am happy that baseball – Mariners baseball – is back and on my TV. But I have that stupid rule, that thing that says that no team should lose their home opener. We did this to the A’s last year, and we wound up losing our home opener, and it was rough. I hate to be all superstitious, but there is that little voice in the back of my head…we get Jason Vargas for the home opener, if I’m not mistaken, so that certainly keeps our chances of winning up there. Fingers crossed, it would start my ticketed season off very sweetly.
Before I run for bed (I have to work early tomorrow morning), I wanted to put it out there that wearing white shoes next Friday in honor of Dave Niehaus has been discussed on Twitter pretty much all night tonight. I’m not sure who started it because baseball Tweets were coming into my feed sideways and upside down, but if anyone knows anything about this (as in whether or not it’s a thing that was started by the organization or if it’s a fan-based decision), I sure would be interested in knowing about it. I’ve been eying a pair of white shoes for months now, and this might actually hasten my decision to purchase the stupid things. If anyone knows, feel free to speak up.
Now go tip some glasses to a Friday night Mariners win. May we obtain many more.