It was gray and a little cold yesterday, and it rained the entire morning until almost noon. The logical course of action? Go to a baseball game, of course. The rain delayed the Huskies game against Stanford yesterday, pushing the time back to 3.30PM (from 1PM), so I watched as much of the Mariners in Cincinnati as I could, and then tried to listen on the way to the stadium, which was difficult because I got lost trying to find the field multiple times. I had initially planned to just stay home and watch the Mariners, but I’ve been telling Daniel that I’ll go see the Huskies (he runs part of the A/V stuff for their games), and I’ve never gone and was starting to feel like a bad friend, so I figured it was a now-or-nothing situation. Plus, I’m all about new experiences, particularly where baseball is concerned, and Tom has been working a lot lately so it seemed like a good thing to do.
When I finally did find the stadium – nestled northwesterly behind Huskies football stadium, and on the edge of the Montlake area in Lake Washington (I found a lot of great places to put in our boats back there), first pitch had already happened, but the game was only $10, and parking was free. Part of what caused me getting lost was that I found a lot where money was being taken for a softball game, and when they tried to give me directions how to get to the baseball park, I realized I needed cash; so I went to QFC in U-Village, then realized I had no idea where I was, and with the way the roads go there and the fact that left turns are difficult, I wound up back at the softball guys, then turned around, then found another cash taker for another event happening at Husky Stadium itself. She gave me directions to go around the stadium through a very full parking lot, and I was wound around to a sort of forested area that looked like a service road, and yet another money collector who assured me that I should just keep going. Now, of course, I know that there is a far easier way to get to the ballpark, but it was kind of a funny little disaster.
The Huskies have a nice little stadium, and everything is Astroturfed but the pitching mound; so yes, that is painted-on dirt.
I don’t know any of these players at all, and this is not a recap of the game, just a bit of a photo share of my experience. Spoiler alert, the Huskies lost in 12 innings. They are, however, doing well this year, so I don’t know if that matters for them going into a playoff situation, but Daniel did tell me there was a possibility that the stadium might host some “post-season” games, so I may go back sometime in the next few weeks.
A panorama of the park. One of the cool things about this park is the fact that it is so close to water and a wildlife area. There was a mallard on the field at one point late in the game, and the game was paused so that one of the coaches could shoo it away from the first base area – and he was only marginally successful, because the duck was in zero hurry to leave a team full of guys who were giving him sunflower seeds. I also saw some crows chasing a bald eagle a little past center field, and there were tons of little finches and bushtits (yes, I know, but that’s what they’re called) flitting around the stands looking for bits of popcorn, peanut, and hotdog bun. As for me, I provided nothing for them, opting for a cup of coffee and then some cocoa.
At one point in the game, there was a call at third of a Huskies player safe. The Stanford coach was not pleased with this call, and Daniel said a replay very clearly showed the Husky was out (and I’d thought he was as well), but I get the impression that things like challenges don’t get the thorough picking-through at the college ball level that they would in the majors. I had hoped for some hat throwing or base kicking, but Stanford opted for yelling only, and the call still stood.
The Huskies on the bar. Both teams spent the entirety of the game leaning or hanging at their respective dugout bars, goading their teammates on. I suppose that with a crowd of around 100 people, the cheering isn’t maybe going to do itself, so words of encouragement and what sounded like a few inside jokes were tossed around on both sides.
I had to leave in the 9th with the game tied because Tom had made dinner at home, and I had seriously underestimated how long a college game could last (as of the 9th, it had been three and a half hours long, and they played three more innings after that!). But it was a neat experience, and I would definitely go again, maybe with a friend or two next time.
The Mariners, meanwhile, are playing their final game in Cincinnati as I post this, having taken two games from the Reds over the last two days. Ichiro Suzuki is only 45 hits away from reaching 3,000. The Mariners are still in first place, and a loss today will not affect that (they are 3-0 in Cincy as I’m writing here), and the team comes back here this week to play some home games, two of which I will get to be at. I’ve been able to tick off another stadium on my list this year. And the Mariners just got on the board with a Robinson Cano RBI, and there is still a lot of baseball left in this game in the top of the third! This season has been amazing before and I hope it doesn’t stop until it has to; but I hope that is no time soon.