State Of The Section Lately

The Mariners are currently playing a game in Minneapolis to make up a game that got rained out earlier in the season. You would think that in 2018, a trillion dollar industry wouldn’t allow the weather to stop games anywhere in either league; but apparently some cities with far more inclement weather than Seattle ever has during baseball season disagree. I will probably be whinging about this until they fix it or I die, whichever comes first.

So much has gone on over the last month, and I haven’t been able to keep up. Ichiro’s retirement/transition to something called “Special Assistant to the Chairman” (?!?) is the most notable, but this situation didn’t hit me as hard as I thought it might. It is nice to have Ichiro back in Seattle, even still. Due to a lot of the games in April being away and earlier during the day when I couldn’t watch (or listen; still have that same problem at the new job with AM radio signals and computer equipment), I was, most thankfully, spared from having to watch a lot of his reported performance issues. I saw some great catches in person, but it sounds like it was time for him to step back. I’m happy that he could do that in a dignified and graceful manner while still being part of the team without taking up a roster spot. I would expect nothing less from him than the same class and humility he has always shown here. His continued presence is an intangible, but I can’t help but feel like he helps morale in the best way possible. I’m glad it worked out the way it did. I think him leaving the first time and getting emotional about it during his press conference sort of prepared me for this, which was a slightly more matter-of-fact and not-so-sad departure.

Two other big things so far this year, of course, have to do with our boy James Paxton and his 16 strikeouts on Wednesday May 2nd in a 3-2 loss against Oakland. That was also Ichiro’s last game, so the day after was bittersweet because I was still riding the high of being at that game for the pitching, then sad about Ichiro’s announcement. Pax pitched a solid 7 innings allowing only 5 hits and a walk, and everything else was strikeouts until Juan Nicasio and then Edwin Diaz took over and the score went a little sideways, but as far as a loss it was a terrifically fun game to be at with the Maple Grove, and I’ve had worse times at a ballpark before. Paxton then proceeded to travel to Toronto to no-hit the Blue Jays, the second Canadian ever to throw a no-hitter, and the third pitcher in recent Mariners history to do so (the other two being Felix and Hisashi Iwakuma, of course). There is another statistic associated with this victory, but I can’t recall it off the top of my head. His return to Safeco this Saturday was supposed to be Friday, but then we got rained out in Detroit, and that threw everything off. No matter, the Grove will be there in left field for his start. We’ll also be there on Friday for Felix’s start becasue of reasons I can’t go into right now. The Mariners are providing a special ticket package with $20 tickets in View Reserved, which is about $15 less than those seats are normally, so I hope a lot of people take them up on it. The King’s Court will be in session as always and you never know what you might see.

I may be in the minority, but all in all I am pleased with the beginning of the Mariners season. We’re third just behind the Angels and way ahead of the Rangers, and still above .500. And while we are up by a run after what has been kind of a grueling game after a rain delay as I type this out, if we lose this game it will not hurt us much. I am concerned about Robinson Cano’s broken hand from the other day, since he will need surgery which will take him away from us for a while, but we seem to have several options to cover our bases. No pun intended, but here we are. I haven’t been able to get to a Rainiers game yet this year, but Daniel Vogelbach has been absolutely crazy in Triple A, and it would be nice to see him up here a time or two before the year is over. It would be nice if Guillermo Heredia could also see some more major league playing time, and of course Gordon Beckham just got called up to fill in with Cano out. Some kid named Cameron Perkins is also seeing some happy days down in Tacoma as well.

Lastly, I have been involved in rugby and the Seawolves down at Starfire. It’s a fascinating game, and after a chat with one of the bartenders at Edgar’s Lower a few weeks ago, I understand what I’ve been watching a lot more. The crowd there is always sellout, and I got an email earlier today saying that their entire season is sold. Judging by the stands in New Orleans on Saturday morning, Seattle might once again have the fan advantage, just like we do with soccer. It’s nice to see so many people embrace a game that is largely not known to most Americans, and be so enthusiastic doing so. Starfire is a cozy little stadium, and the season is short – four home games – so it’s easy to incorporate into my baseball schedule. I plan on being a season ticketholder next year as well, provided the front office doesn’t go nuts and jack up the prices.

And that’s about it lately; I’ve been enjoying the return of baseball and the recently-warming weather, though it is about 80F in our living room right now. I can’t complain too much; when I was in the stands in two sweaters and a peacoat, this was all I could think about. I can go this weekend with just a t-shirt and be perfectly comfortable. Summer is the best!

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