My Opening Day adventures

I still have no interest in really discussing the actual game. Everyone knows what happened, there’s no use dwelling on it, and we have another game ahead of us tomorrow, and the next day…the nice thing about baseball is that there is always tomorrow. 162 times. Instead, I have some photos and video to share. Lots of video. So onto the actual fun part of my day yesterday…

I got off work around 4pm and met a bunch of people at Temple Billiards on Jackson and Occidental. Temple Billiards, in the event any beer drinkers are reading, has a happy hour wherein all pints are $2.75, and I believe it’s 4-6pm every day. I’ve been going to Pyramid or Elysian for $5 beer. What was I thinking? The folks that were there were mostly people I’ve met or am acquainted with through Lookout Landing, and indeed both Jeff and Matthew showed up a little bit before we left for the stadium. Matthew has an article up now about some positive points of the home opener, so if you need a little good news, I suggest it. In any event, I had two pints and said hello to quite a few people, and then wandered down to the stadium with Conor and our friend Su.

When we got to the stadium, there were a bunch of newer entrances set up along the north side of the field, making it a little easier to get into the bullpen area, which I was definitely keen on at least checking out a little bit, just to see it. I was unable to get any photos; there were simply too many people there, and taking pictures of any actual thing would have been nearly impossible without getting pictures of random strangers, which I always feel weird about. I will be taking care of this over the next two days, when the crowds may have cleared out a bit. For the Mariners sake I hope people still keep coming to games this year, but for my own selfish reasons, I’ve got my fingers crossed for a scantily-attended game soon so I can get some real shots of the new bar, the outdoor couches, and the enclosed fireplace. Yes, I’m serious. Couches! Also, finally, the bullpen and surrounding area, of course. A lot has changed down there.

We met another friend, Patrick, down in the bullpen area, and stood around taking everything in and chatting. I realize now that I probably should have maybe made an effort to get a shot of the pens, but it was so overwhelmingly crowded there, I was sort of stunned and didn’t think I could jockey for a position anywhere. I’m not much of a fighter for my “art”.  The four of us eventually wandered towards the steps past the center field entrance, and parted ways for our seats. Conor and I took the elevator to the nosebleeds, nabbed some gyros for dinner, and got our seats, which were actually really good. I’d like to thank my ticket agent -whomever you may be at this point- for the unobstructed view in the first row of view reserved. It made getting the aforementioned video a lot easier.

We sat down and I proceeded to destroy my gyro, apparently far more hungry than I thought. I also wanted to make sure I was done with dinner before anything happened. The grounds crew were putting the finishing touches on the field:

The view of the extremely crowded bullpen from our seats:

After seeing it from that perspective, I don’t feel too badly about not trying to fight the crowds. The bullpen is now a “thing”, like a whole area geared for fans to hang out, have food and drinks, and shop – they have a small team store in the area, where I believe there used to be nothing at all, aside from a gate that was only usable post-game. New tables, new everything, and I’m very excited to take pictures over the next two days.

At 6.30, the opening ceremonies started, and they started with a bang. Literally, like normal. The Cleveland Indians were announced, to mixed reaction – boos in general, and cheers for ex-Mariners. Then the Mariners reserves and starting lineup were announced, including a sad-looking yet still perky Adam Moore down front on crutches:

And the red carpet ceremony:

And lots of explosions!

Then the National Anthem was played by a military band:

After the National Anthem was over, and the flag was rolled up and taken off the field, it was time to get to the business of baseball. After all, we had some award winners to recognize. First was Ichiro and his surpassing of Edgar Martinez’s hit record just a few days ago:

And Felix Hernandez, presented with his Cy Young award for 2010:

And Ichiro and yet another well-deserved Gold Glove award:

Franklin Gutierrez was also honored, but was unavailable for acceptance. Tummy troubles suck. Get better soon, Gutz – we need you.

After the awards were given out, things got a little more serious, and it was time to pay tribute to the one and only Dave Niehaus. Ever since I found out that Macklemore was going to be taking a stage on the field to perform “My Oh My”, I had been looking forward to Opening Day even more. I am happy to say that I didn’t lose it, even though I had some tears on their way up; I kept it together. Today while I was checking my videos for sound, however, I had a bit of a moment at my desk at work. Watching the video without having to concentrate on holding as still as possible was pretty emotional. So here it is:

To add to the drama of the evening, the roof was pulled after Macklemore performed. I’m guessing they kept it closed to keep the acoustics as pure as possible, since open air venues are extremely hard for sound technicians to work with.

To top everything off, the entire Niehaus clan came out with Marilyn to throw out the ceremonial first pitch to Felix Hernandez. I saw someone saying online that they were half-expecting Ken Griffey Jr to catch the first pitch, but given that the last season that Dave announced was the season in which Felix won the Cy Young award, I think it’s perfectly fine and appropriate that it was Felix.

It was shortly after this that Conor pointed out that I should take this picture, because it may be the only time I see the Orioles flag in first place.

And then the game happened, ruining everything, but I’m not going to dwell on that here.

So here’s where I relate part of my story that made me realize that not everyone there might have necessarily been clued into what was going on for the evening. There is a song called “My Oh My” by a country band called The Wreckers. If you’ve been to a sporting event in the past year or so, chances are high you’ve probably heard it. As Conor and I were making our way from the gyro stand to our seats, I overheard two guys in their 20s walking in front of us talking about Macklemore’s performance. Except that one of them was telling his friend that The Wreckers song was about Niehaus, and that we were going to be seeing that live last night. His friend expressed some vast amount of disbelief: “Seattle has country bands?!” and the first guy claimed ignorance on that portion of the discussion, but seemed pretty sure that a female country duo had written a song about Dave Niehaus. It made me wonder how blogger and fan-driven Macklemore’s performance was last night, since everyone I know/follow/follows me on Twitter, and all the blogosphere knew about the song and the artist. Whatever the case, it made the night for me. It’s a good song, and I’m glad Macklemore got to play it in front of its target audience, whether they knew it was for them or not.

And that is my story. Tomorrow I get to go to the game with my friend Cynthia, and her squeeze bottle of Cleveland Indians mustard. I’m not 100% sure exactly what that means, but I do know I’ll be finding out. I know the Mariners lost today, but I’m not as sad about it as I could be, since it was only a 2-1 loss, rather than the murder-and-pillage that happened Friday night. It’s only April, I’m still enthusiastic, let’s play some baseball.




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2 Responses to My Opening Day adventures

  1. CompassRosy says:

    Thanks for sharing, Megan – awesome photos and video!
    You had a gyro too?? I had one on opening night and wanted to have one tonight but they were “out” (had to settle for garlic chicken and fries).

    As for your friend’s “Cleveland Indians mustard” …
    I suspect it’s Stadium Mustard (used to only be available at the old Cleveland Stadium – but it’s now available on line). I only know this because I have a friend who is a Tribe fan and we attended some ST games together – she was ecstatic when she found out they had flown in Stadium Mustard to Goodyear, AZ. I did try it, and I must admit, it’s pretty tasty.

    Have fun at the game tomorrow. I traded my ticket for tomorrow (plus a couple of others) for two tix to a Yankee game in May – taking my dad as a belated birthday gift.

    • Megan Shear says:

      Aw! I love family baseball! 🙂

      Yeah, I think you’re right – she called it Stadium Mustard, but for some reason that seemed like a weird name for me, and I guess I thought she meant like Indians Stadium or Progressive Park mustard or something like that. I might have to have a hot dog… 🙂

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