Yesterday, my friend Justin and I decided to run up to Everett and go to a sort of impromptu Aquasox game. The weather was nice, I remembered sunscreen, and I needed a little normalcy after the previous night (long story), so we hopped in my car and drove up to Everett Memorial to see what the ‘Sox were up to against the Spokane Indians. We got there just before the gates opened and got a few lower box tickets, chatted briefly with Pat Dillon, and when the high schoolers that do the greeting and ticket-taking gave us the green light, went into the stadium to grab some food and enjoy the sun.
The first thing I was looking for because I knew it was there is the memorial to Greg Halman.
The ‘Sox and Indians all lined up for the National Anthem and pre-game fesitivities.
As the game started, I checked the booklet I had been given at the gate, and realized that the only player I recognized this year by name was Marcus Littlewood. That is the one thing about Aquasox games that is always alienating to me, is that the team is rarely the same year to year. Having heard that the previous few games last week from the home opener on had gone well, though – including two 7-inning games serving as a double header on Saturday after it stopped raining – I settled in for what I hoped would be an excellent game.
And it was an excellent game. For the Indians.
Aquasox starting pitcher Jose Valdiva did not have a good day. By the third inning, he had given up 9 runs to the Indians, and was pitching nothing but balls down in the dirt. He was pulled after 2.2 innings in favor of Steve Ewing, who didn’t do much better, but could at least locate somewhere up near the strike zone. The Indians just kept hitting, but it was more what the Aquasox were doing to themselves, rather than what the Indians did to them to win the game. Bad fielding, and a lack of hitting with RISP (sound familiar, Mariners fans?) all conspired to put the Indians out on top with a final score of 11-2. One of the two for the ‘Sox came at the hands of Littlewood, who swatted one over the right field wall. Sadly, there was nobody on base, but home runs are always fun to see, and I have to pull the good out of the swampy badness sometimes.
Probably around the 5th inning or so, Justin and I got up from our seats over the first baseline and joined Jen and Roy Howson in their fancy seats down front. In all the games – minor league or otherwise – I have ever been to, I have never sat right behind the plate. It was an experience. I now know what a 90+MPH baseball looks like when it’s coming RIGHT at you. A few wild pitches woke us right up! Even the kids throw with amazing power, it’s really pretty cool.
Anyway, some photos…
It was a good day at the ballpark, even if it wasn’t a good day for the Aquasox, and I’m glad we went. It was nice to get back up there again. The crowd was smaller than I would have expected for such good weather in Everett, and it was far more quiet than I am used to; sometimes almost library-like. Maybe Everett fans are sizing up their young team early in the year, or maybe everyone was hungover from the night before, or maybe it was just the small size of the crowd. The team themselves certainly didn’t give us much to cheer for. And if you were there or listening to the game on the radio and heard loud heckling aimed at the Indians, that would have been Justin, proving why he’s one of my favorite people to go to sporting events with.
Tonight the Mariners start their 3-game series against the Oakland Athletics, and I will be attending tomorrow night’s game, again with Justin, whose heckles really can’t be heard as well in a larger stadium, but that doesn’t seem to stop him much. I need to figure out what to do about the Orioles series that is fast approaching next week. I can’t believe they’re here already! Gotta get back into the swing of non-interleague-play major league baseball again. It will be nice to get back to teams and players I’m familiar with. Maybe it will be for the Mariners, too.