My mom, Colleen, Tim and I were in the car driving to Safeco Field to see the Mariners take on the Yankees when Tim turned to me and proclaimed:
“Dad, the Yankees are bossy.”
Well, actually…in the three games Tim has seen the Yankees play in his life, the Yankees haven’t been very bossy. We’ve seen the Mariners beat the Yankees twice and the Orioles just a couple weeks ago beat the Yanks too. So, really, the Yankees have been pretty accomodating in the games we’ve seen them play.
We were hoping they would be similarly accomodating at this game.
We had four excellent seats in section 151 (left field). But, I also had my best buddy Paul’s two tickets in section 123 (just a couple rows back from the Mariners’ dugout). Paul was at a family get-together and was hoping to meet up with us later in the game. He never made it.
We arrived just before game time. After watching the Yankees bat in the top of the first, Tim and I grabbed an ice cream helmet (mint chocoloate chip and chocolate fudge chip) and headed over to Paul’s seats in time to watch Ichiro lead off the bottom of the first…
Tim was very protective of his ice cream:
Two more notes about that picture. First, I don’t like it when teams leave a big huge bar code on the side of the ice cream helmets. We haven’t received many bar-coded helmets. Mostly in Philadelphia. Before this week, we’d never received a bar-coded helmet at Safeco Field. And I hope we never do again.
Second, that guy in the white hat sitting behind Tim was pretty hilarious. He and this buddies were all decked out in Washington Husky gear. Just a couple hours prior, the Huskies had taken down my dad’s alma mater, the No. 3 ranked USC Trojans. (FYI, in college football, I root for my Temple Owls (GO OWLS!) and then the entire Pac-10. In conference play, I root for the UW, followed by WSU (my brother’s alma mater), followed by USC (dad), followed by whichever team is located closest to Seattle. But in the grand scheme of things, the Mariners are the only team I truly care about in any sport).
Anyway, as I was saying, that guy was pretty funny. He kept yelling at all of the Yankees (particularly C.C. Sabbathia) and saying he was going to buy them dinner at various fast food restaurants if they continued to strike out (Yankees batters) or give up hits (Sabbathia). He was going to take them to McDonald’s, Burger King, Taco Time, Papa Murphy’s, Red Lobster, etc., etc.
Enough about that guy, here is the view from Paul’s amazingly awesome seats:
Paul’s family has split season tickets with another guy (Louie) who has had the tickets since 1977 (the M’s first season, and the year Paul was born). In the Kingdome, Paul’s seats were even closer (third row, I believe) but they crammed a few extra super-expensive rows in front of his seats at Safeco Field. The tickets are row 14, but I think they are only about 5-8 rows back from the dugout.
All of my action shots were coming out blurry at this game, but I got some good “batting stance” shots. Here is Jose Lopez:
And here is Adrian Beltre…
Hey, guess who stopped by our section? It was the Beer Poet:
“An evening at the ballpark, such a special treat. Nothing makes it better than a cold beer while you sit in your seat.”
His actual poems are moderately better than that, but you got the gist of it.
Young gun Doug Fister was on the mound…
In the second inning, someone or other bunted the ball off of Kenji Johjima…
During the top of the third, we headed out to CF to the play area, and I took this panaramic view as we passed behind the RF foul pole:
We got two big batches of Jim’s garlic fries…
It was about time for Tim to act silly in the seats:
That is Tim’s official “garlic is too spicy” face. As for me, I’m a huge fan of garlic. And these fries we ridiculously (in a good way) garlicy. This wasn’t garlic powder or garlic flavoring. This was full on mashed up and diced garlic bits. I think each of our orders of fries had about 5 entire garlic bulbs on ’em. When all of the fries were gone, there was still an entire hand full of diced up garlic bits in each little cardboard tray. I tried to eat all of the garlic in one of the trays, but I failed. It would have made my head explode. Too spicy.
Back to the game. As I mentioned, Fister wasn’t on top of his game. So, Don Wakamatsu pulled him before too long:
Speaking of Paul, I bet you’re wondering what he looks like, right? Well, you could look back at my entries from May when we went to a couple games together. But it would be a whole lot easier if I just posted this:
Once again, back to the game. It was a cool but pleasant night at the ball park. But late in the game, a few rain drops started to fall. The powers that be decided it was time for some indoor baseball. The following photos are very dark but they show the roof starting to creep across the field toward the 3B line:
Mark Teixeira was having good night at the plate, and the Mariners bats and pitchers weren’t doing too much. So Tim had to get creative in the seats. He decided to do some fake fishing. Here he is walking up from row 33 to row 35 holding a fake fishing pole (note that for some reason he is bare footed…he likes to feel right at home at the park):
Late in the game we ran around in the OF concourse a bit. And that is where we were when the Yankees recorded the 27th out in the bottom of the ninth. Aye, aye, aye…I was hoping Tim would never have to see the Yankees win a game in his life. Oh, well, I need to come to grips with the fact that I can’t protect him for every bad thing that might happen in life.
We have one more Mariners game this season. And with a win, the Mariners will finish the season with a winning record at games attended by me and Tim. Let’s do it M’s!!!
One more comment on the Yankees. This is the first time I’ve seen the Yankees play a game outside of Yankee Stadium since August 24, 1995. I attended that game with Paul. That game is widely recognized as the turning point in the Mariners season, after which they made a hard charge past the California Angels of Anaheim. The Mariners were 11.5 games back at the time. And in the 8th inning, the Mariners were losing 7-5. In the 8th, Edgar Martinez hit a home run off of David Cone to make it 7-6 Yankees.
But the Mariners had been perenial losers. The first two batters made quick outs in the bottom of the ninth. Paul and I started to give up on the game. In fact, we decided to leave and try to beat traffic. But as we were walking out, Vince Coleman drew a walk from John Wetteland (now Mariners bullpen coach). Paul and I started thinking about things. Junior could get another at-bat! We sprinted back to Paul’s seats (you know, the one’s I mentioned above, the ones 3 rows behind the 1B dugout). As Joey Cora, battled Wetteland, Coleman stole 2B and 3B. Cora then lined a single to LF to score Coleman and tie the game.
Up to the the plate sauntered Ken Griffey, Jr. He would see only one pitch. And we would see that pitch land in the upper deck in RF. MARINERS WIN!!!
Twenty-five days later, the Mariners had erased the Angels’ 11.5 game lead. Ultimately, the Mariners would beat the Angels in a one game playoff to claim their first ever A.L. West title.
So you ask what is the point of that long story? Well, back in 1995, we watched the Mariners beat the Yankees in Seattle free of the presence of hordes of Yankees fans. You see, the Yankees hadn’t been very good for a while. They had not made the post-season since 1981. And they didn’t have the massive traveling fan base that now accompanies them everywhere they go (and the hordes of bandwagon *fans*). At least they didn’t have them in Seattle.
It was a much more pleasant way to watch a home Mariners game. I live on the east coast and I see the Mariners on the road more than I see them at home. So, I like my Mariners home games to feel like Mariners home games. All this is to say that, this is likely my last Yankees game in Seattle.
By the way, don’t fear, the next day the Mariners would crush the Yankees to take the series 2-1. Griffey would hit a bomb.
Anyway, on our walk to the car, I took a shot of the Seahawk’s stadium, Qwest Field:
Qwest Field sits on hallowed grounds — the site of the Kingdome. I really wish Safeco Field could have been placed on the Kingdome’s site. But it couldn’t happen. The Mariners needed to play in the Kingdome until Safeco Field was ready to open in July 1999. The Seahawks on the other hand, got an upgrade, they played at Husky Stadium while Qwest Field was being built. Husky Stadium is probably better than Qwest Field.
One final note, the day after this game, we flew back into Philadelphia. As we were driving out of the Philadelphia airport, Tim again told me that the Yankees are “bossy,” and he added that they “cheat.” I told him that was not very nice of the Yankees. But then, he told me that the Yankees called him on the telephone and apologized. So, I guess that was considerate of the Yankees.
Season Fan Stats:
30 Games (plus one 5+ hour rain out with no game)
1 Ken Griffey, Jr. Homerun (Career Homerun No. 624, August 23, 2009 in Cleveland)
12 Stadiums (Safeco Field, Camden Yards, Citizens Bank Park, Citi Field, Nationals Park, Yankee Stadium, Fenway Park, Wrigley Field, HHH Metrodome, Miller Park, U.S. Cellular, and “Jacobs” Field)
24 Teams (Mariners, A’s, Rangers, Rays, Orioles, Tigers, Twins, Indians, Red Sox, Yankees, Royals, White Sox, Phillies, Mets, Nationals, Cubs, Braves, Padres, Dodgers, Cardinals, Marlins, Pirates, Astros, and Brewers — and sort of the Giants)
25 Ice Cream Helmets (Mariners (5), Phillies (5), Mets, Nationals (3), Red Sox (3), Yankees (2), Twins, Cubs, Brewers, White Sox, and Indians (and 1 Brewers Cheese Fries Helmet))
28 Baseballs (16 Mariners, 2 Rangers, 1 Phillies, 1 Red Sox, 1 Umpire, 1 Nationals, 1 Pirates, 1 Twins, 1 Astros, 1 Royals, 1 Indians, Yankees/Orioles 1)
MLB Closed Out (NL Closed out on 8/16/09, AL Closed out on 8/17/09)
5 Autographs (King Felix Hernandez, Jason Phillips, Ronny Cedeno, Jeremy Guthrie, Ryan Perry)
4 Player/G.M. Photographs (King Felix Hernandez, Jason Phillips, Jack Zduriencik, Ryan Perry)
10 Mascot Pictures (Mariners Moose, Orioles Bird, Slider (Indians), 3 Presidents (Nats), Screech (Nats), 4 Running Sausages (Brewers) — Honorable Mention: The Green Monster statue bench)