I know things have been super quiet around here. I want to try and rectify that this year, I feel like I could use the distraction. The middle of January is coming up soon. As of today, we are 34 days from pitchers and catchers reporting, and only 16 more days and a few hours worth of change to Saturday’s Mariners FanFest. Player, manager, and other guest announcements have not yet been made, but I am looking forward to getting back into the park, nonetheless. It’s always a nice little taste of summer, usually in the very, very cold.
Lookout Landing had a little post-holiday party last Friday that I was not able to go to, but seeing the party aftermath photos made me realize how much I miss baseball around this time of year, and all of the trappings that come with it. I have changed my game viewing habits a lot since 9 seasons ago (man, has it been that long??); I don’t watch every game; maybe 50-70% of them I watch now or am actually at. I follow along more on Twitter than on the game threads at LL (though I do want to get back to LL, since I have more followers on the Twitter now and doubt very highly that all of them want to be forcibly involved in my exclamations during a daily 9 innings), and I no longer have the time to follow trades and personnel as closely as I used to be able to (having a job where high attention to detail must be paid will do that for a person – when I started out, I was in school and had a lot of time during my day to catch up on news).
More than that, I miss all of you, even those of you I don’t know well. Current events and a slow offseason have kept us all in a different grind the past few months, and after the World Series was over, everyone seems to have gotten involved in world happenings and our own personal lives. It has been both entertaining and horrifying, and I am looking forward to getting back to “normal” over the next few months. I miss the game emotion both online and in person, and I miss seeing all your faces around the ballpark. I miss The Pen. I miss getting to the game early and standing around downstairs and just breathing in the salty air and having my vision full of green grass and green seats and blue sky. I miss the smell of kettle and popcorn, of hot dogs, of pizza and burgers and garlic fries. I miss the way the smoke shoots up from the grill above the Kidd Valley on the north side of the stadium while I’m waiting in line on the sidewalk below to get in. I miss interacting with the Mariners Twitter account about baseball things that matter. I miss taking pictures of the game while I’m there. I miss high-fiving strangers, and poking fun at fans of the day’s opposition. I miss the King’s Court, Felix starts, and Edwin Diaz closures. I miss Funk Blast. I miss seeing all the employees in their teal jackets, letting people know where they’re ticketed. I miss Tom Huytler’s voice announcing Robinson Cano at the plate. I miss the staff at the Hit It Here. I miss watching an outfielder leg it to the wall. I miss Kyle Seager’s grin. I miss looking out over the stadium and seeing the Space Needle, the Great Wheel, and the downtown area of the city. I miss that first sip of a good cold Manny’s Ale on a hot July day. I miss waiting in line for that Manny’s. I miss the buzz of the HVAC system by Edgar’s when you first walk in, and watching my fellow fans compete with each other for batting practice dingers that make it over the net there. I miss “All Right Now” at the end of a game. I even miss the slow shuffle out of the stadium and then navigating the traffic home from SoDo.
So as I sit in this office with our work systems down (as they have been for over four hours now since I got in), I look outside at the cold sky and construction going on across the street, and I think of simpler times. Of better times, when I can just toss a dress on and walk out the door, without having to layer myself awkwardly in everything I own before leaving the house. And I look forward to the moments when we will all be able to see each other again, have that beer, high five each other and our unknown seatmates, and watch the beautiful game of baseball. Not too long, now. Hang on, summer is coming…