Two weeks ago my obliging boyfriend took me to a Seattle Mariners game. While I spent my entire childhood through age 12 attending my brother’s baseball games (even working the scoreboard at his Dixie Youth Baseball1 games while my mom kept the books!), I’ve only been to one other professional ball game. And since my only memory of it is what the field lights looked like as I was being either carried out in arms or in a stroller, I was pretty excited to experience a professional baseball game I might remember, especially for my new team.2
Safeco Field, which just celebrated its 12th birthday last week, is beautiful and in great shape. The weather was perfect—sometimes sunny, sometimes cloudy, always with a lovely breeze, and no need for the stadium’s unique retractable roof. We initially tried to get there an hour early, but between delays leaving and confusion with parking (also known as “wallet raping”), we made it to our seats just in time for the first pitch. And all credit to Stephen here—they were great seats!
Behind home plate
Look! Other people who love saying "Ichiro!"
As it was a Sunday, the day before Independence Day, and a “kids run the bases after the game” day, there was quite a crowd, at least by my standards (“Twenty-eight thousand… and one,” boomed the announcer at the end of the game). Alas, we didn’t get there early enough to snag a free patriotic cap.
Take Me Out to the Crowd
...I SAID, "Take me out to the crowd"...
Okay, that's enough, take me out of the crowd now.
Of course, I was most excited to see Ichiro in person. While he hasn’t been having his best season this year, he had a pretty good day with 2 hits and 2 runs out of 3 at bats. It was also very cool to see a new pitcher, Blake Beavan, have his first Major League start.
Ichiro Yoga (Ichiroga?)
I was geeking out for most of our time there. Stephen, who isn’t a sports fan by any stretch of the imagination, still found something to be enthusiastic about: BALL PARK FOOD (also known as “in-game wallet raping”).
Buy Me Some ... Pretzels and Cracker Jack?
(It wasn’t until after the game that I saw a message from my Dad asking what their specialty stadium food is. Stadiums… have… specialty food? I’m still unclear on exactly what it is—the Ivar dog? Rally fries? the brilliantly named Ichiroll?—But we didn’t venture past pretzels on this particular day.)
I Don't Care If I Ever Get Back! (The couple behind me looks like they care, though.)
Even Stephen, who felt a little ambivalent about discovering I enjoy watching a sport (it’s just this one, okay!), seemed to be having a good time.
I like the part where they show bloopers on the big screen.
After all, it was a pretty exciting game (against the San Diego Padres, giving me an excuse to try to taunt the unflappable Steve Betz). Here’s a completely candid, unstaged shot of us watching the game; you can tell it’s authentic by the way we’re looking at one thing and everyone else is looking at something else:
And It's Root, Root, Root for the Home Team, If They Don't Win It's a Shame...
And in the end, we weren’t disappointed. Beavan pitched a great game with Brandon League brought in to close, and the Mariners took the series with a 3-1 win, ending the game on a strike-out.
...For It's One! Two! Three Strikes, You're Out! At the Old Ball Game!
1 Dixie Youth Baseball is basically the South’s way of saying, “To hell with Little League and all its wonderful organization and possibilities it offers kids! We’ll have our own league! *spit*”
2 I was wondering the other day—how do you decide who “your” team is? Random choice? Overall charm of the team and/or a player? I’d always assumed, as everyone here roots for the Atlanta Braves, that this was a geographically-based decision. But I suppose there’s some crucial window in your life when you are, for whatever reason, a fan of one club, and after that window closes they are YOUR TEAM, regardless of where you live. Will I now be bound to the Mariners for the rest of my days? Is it okay that I still have a fondness for the poor Cubs? Are we all united by our despising of the Yankees? Who can say?
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