I have come to the conclusion that I need to be real about this and just come clean and admit that I simply can’t watch all the games in a 162-game season, nor can I watch all of an entire game 100% of the time if it’s within PST. When I started this blog, I was in school, and due to the fact that I had five years plus of work experience in the field I was trying to get certified for, school was, frankly, pretty easy for me, all things considered. Classes were not early, I had a lot of sit-around time at Edmonds CC, and a lot of time to write, go to games, and upload/take pictures. Things have changed a lot for me since 2008. My life has gotten far more busy, and is starting to get in the way of my baseball, and as much as that pains me, I need to surrender to the fact that I can’t do a post every day or maybe even every other day. I’ll still be here, but 162 games is a lot when you’re as busy as I have been lately, or am about to become as the summer approaches. I’m not getting paid to do this, and it takes at least an hour to write something, between double-checking my facts (which I often still get wrong, I know), verifying statistics, and trying to not re-use the same verbiage constantly. It can take up to two hours to do a photo post, and about four if I’m actually watching the game; I invest a lot of time in this space when I can. Rest assured, all y’all, I’m not going anywhere; but I really don’t want writing to turn into a chore, so I’m going to need to take a break every so often during the week.
Anyway, this weekend series with the Rangers was really something else. I was at the game Friday with a new friend, someone who had never been to the park before. I am sad to report that we did not maybe eat as much as we should have, or wanted to, but enjoyed ourselves nonetheless. While the Baltimore Orioles were at home getting shut out by the Royals (5-0, guys?! Come ON!), the Mariners and Rangers did a close and kind of frightening battle here at home. The game came to a head in the bottom of the 8th, when the Rangers put in some kid named Neal Cotts. Cotts promptly game up a single to Robinson Cano, Rangers catcher JP Arrencibia passed a ball to send Cano to second, Cotts hit Corey Hart with an 88MPH slider, gave Stefan Romero a single, then handed a double to Justin Smoak, and another single to Kyle Seager. Then Cotts’ night was over, and he was replaced by Alexei Ogando, who tossed a wild pitch at Dustin Ackley and allowed a run to come in before settling down and getting the rest of his outs for the inning. The Rangers probably should have put Ogando in there first.
It was a close call for Fernando Rodney, who allowed the Rangers two runs in the top of the 9th to cinch up the gap 5-6, but after throwing 27 pitches he finished off with an Adrian Beltre line-out to first, and the game did not make it to the bottom of the 9th. Nor did we wind up in extras. Mariners win, everyone rejoices, FIN.
Now, I get the general impression that there is a percentage of fans who harbor some grudges against the ushers at Safeco for various. Outside of one woman over the visitors dugout who barked at me several years ago for trying to get some photos during an ill-attended game, I have never been shushed, I have never been told to sit down, I have never had any sort of unpleasant experience with the ushers at Safeco. I have found that the staff at Safeco in general is helpful, knowledgeable of not only their jobs, but where to find you an answer if they don’t have one for you (seriously, nobody we asked at the Nationals park could tell me where the “W” pretzels were; I had to look it up on slow phone 3G on the Nats MLB.com site), and pleasant to deal with. The ushers in the lower decks don’t expect tips – this is a thing on the east coast, folks – they just look at your ticket, and point you in the general direction, trusting you’re smart enough to figure it out. And they almost always do it with a smile on their faces, and with a pleasant service-oriented demeanor. One of them, an acquaintance I know from other social circles, even got me some gum out of the visitors dugout once. It was grape-flavored bubble gum, the flavor lasted for about three seconds, and I enjoyed every moment of it!
My opinion of the folks that work there has only been elevated recently by the care I recently received when my back was messed up during the Open House, and the concern that was shown for making sure I got around easily. Even with the cane there, I felt like I was well-covered if anything should happen with my physical ability to get around. I see staff going to ride the buses after day games and the first thought that pops into my head is “My people!” But on Friday, the deal was sort of sealed for me, by one of the ushers who apparently reads this space. I don’t mean to get all homer-y about things, but an usher named Hap commented on my last post, and offered me and my friend some baseball cards if we came up to the 300 level. So we did, because yay, baseball cards! (Also yay, priority seating, and I was still sort of using the cane on Friday.) Behold! My stash:
I’m not a card collector at all, but this last Friday was kind of an important day for me personally, and this was a nice icing on top of an already excellent cake. These things are made out of really good card stock, super thick, and while I have no clue if they’re valuable at all, I’m still putting them in a frame, when I frame my first-timers certificate and tickets from Camden. Hap even had two Cubbies cards for my friend! So thanks! These are pretty cool.
Those of you that know me in real life know that I have been into Hello Kitty in some form or another for quite a while now. I used to collect HK stuff, but that got a little bit out of control, and I gave away a lot of my collection, which is fine. But MLB has recently formed an unholy union with whatever Sanrio is doing with their licensing, so HK stuff with various team logos on them, are starting to pop up everywhere. My friend leaving me alone in The Pen for 3-5 minutes while he went to the restroom resulted in this:
She even has a little Mariners logo sewn onto her left foot, on the bottom. I know, I know; a fool and her money are quickly parted. She’ll go on my desk at work for a while, as I have not done enough spring cleaning yet to have a place to put her, and our spare room is going to be turned into a sort of baseball area eventually. I am a sucker for this stuff. I also found HK things at both Citizens Bank and Camden. I just need to find the AZ ones, and my collection will be complete!
The Mariners fell to the Rangers on Saturday, in spite of Kyle Seager and Michael Saunders best hitting efforts, but yesterday’s game was pretty dramatic, and another 5-6 win. Seager took a three-run chunk out of an Alexei Ogando changeup in the bottom of the 8th, after the Mariners had spent the entire game behind. Fernando Rodney came in and was far less terrifying this time, 1-2-3’ing his way through the very bottom and top two of the Rangers lineup. The post game interview was, of course, with Kyle Seager, and John Buck and Stefan Romero took it upon themselves to give Seager an icy water bath that got ROOT Sports NW interviewer Jen Mueller doused as well. I felt badly for her (cold!), but as Buck pointed out on-air later, she did see them coming. And at least it was water, and not sugary Gatorade, since everyone had to hop on a plane for this week’s series against the Yankees.
Today is an off-day, then the beginning of a road trip against the Yankees, Astros, and A’s before the next homestand starts against the Kansas City Royals. I am really hoping to see the Ms get themselves together a little more on the road. We’re not as bad as Houston yet, but if something doesn’t change soon, we’re not making it out of this season alive. It will be nice to see Ichiro again, and it looks like the pitching matchups will be…interesting. Chris Young going up against a reportedly slimmer CC Sabathia tomorrow. Ooof. Sabathia’s given up about a hit per inning so far this year, though (31 H to 32 IP), so who knows what can happen. I supposed that is what I like so much about the game.