Since the last time I wrote in this space, the Mariners are 10-8; so perhaps the rough start has been just a small bump in the road. It is tempting to remain skeptical – and my skepticism is still there, for I am a Mariners fan – but even as I sit here and type this, Nelson Cruz and Kyle Seager have both hit dingers off Danny Salazar in Cleveland, and have gained a 3-0 lead in the first inning.*
Last night, I made a spur of the moment decision to go to a Rainiers game. It’s been several years- I believe the last time I was down there was for Jaimie Moyer’s start against Danny Hultzen (if I remember correctly it was indeed Hultzen), and they have made several changes around Cheney Stadium since then. Two really fantastic commons areas (party decks!), a fire pit, and another area you can reserve for parties under which is nestled the Rainiers’ bullpen out over left field. We were able to move from our seats to go check out the area over the third baseline, where there is a large bar with beer and liquor, an independent brewery cart, and three food trucks (Greek, barbecue, and cookies)! The other deck over the pen was rented out by three different groups, so we weren’t able to check it out last night. It almost feels like a tiny Safeco Field there now.
I went off my dietary restrictions (I didn’t have much of a choice; for as nice as Cheney is now, it’s still serving fairly typical baseball food) and gave the taco stand on the 3rd base side of the stadium a try. I recommend the taco plate; you have a choice of chicken or beef (I chose chicken, it has a bit of a red mole’ flavor to it) and the plate comes with beans and rice (which I cannot vouch for, as I declined that option) for around $9. They have a condiment stand with Valentina’s hot sauce, too, which made things even better. Cheney also features a Kidd Valley (with hand-dipped foot long corn dogs and garlic fries, of course), a place to get pizza that isn’t Little Caesar’s, a red hot stand, wings, and another option that I can’t recall off the top of my head. There are at least two places to get all variety of beer in cans or draft. This is a vast improvement since I was there a few years ago. They’ve done an excellent job with everything. Views of the field and game remain top notch, as always. I will definitely be trying to get down there more frequently, they have really and truly stepped up their game. The Rainiers beat the Sacramento River Cats a slim 2-1, but Leonys Martin was on the roster batting first, and it was fun to see some of the guys I was only able to hear about during spring training. Also met up with some of the good folks from Mariners Twitter/Lookout Landing. It was a fun night out. Everything was topped off with fireworks, and we had a really pleasant drive home. In any event, I highly recommend a visit to Cheney if you haven’t been lately. It’s a far more pleasant experience in a minor league stadium than it maybe used to be.
*The Indians then took the lead in their half of the first on some horrible pitching and fielding by the Mariners. I have been writing this while the game is in progress, obviously. Seattle is currently struggling in the bottom of the 5th with a one run game in stormy Cleveland. Yovani Gallardo seems to be holding his own after a rough first, but we need more hits and runs, as per usual.