First off, I wish I had more pictures for this entry, but it was well before I even did not start the blog, nor was my camera unpacked. So, as a result, this blog has a few shitty iPhone photos, but it’ll do.
My first Mariners game starts, nicely enough, at orientation. Near the end of orientation, as we are all getting ready for the tour of campus, I realized I needed to meet a friend more my age (no offense to any other MCDMers I might have met that day). So I approached a fellow named Ian and we ended up talking about sports, snowboarding, and television; My kind of conversation. We ended up talking most of the tour instead of really paying attention to where we were going. Almost immediately after the tour ended, we decided to get a couple of beers over at Earl’s on the Ave. I mean, we just sat through a 4-hour orientation we clearly needed some drinks!
After a few pitchers Ian and I ended up on the topic of the Mariners and how we should go to a game soon. A few minutes later, thanks to my handy Stubhub app, we had 2 tickets purchased in left field for the Tuesday night game against the Orioles all for a total of $23, which we considered a steal.
Tuesday came and Ian and I met up at Big Time Brewery for a beer before the game. After going back to my place to make some portable mixed drinks, we were ready to head out and give the bus system a try for the first time. Again, our phones came in handy as we got on the bus suggested and got off just a 5-minute walk from the stadium. The entire ride took about 30 minutes, which was a surprise considering the traffic around Seattle.
We got off the bus in front of Century Link Stadium and decided to walk up o the gates to get a peak inside. The stadium was set up for a Sounders game and the inside seemed very nice. I have been to a lot of my stadiums in my day and this one ranks highly for layout. It has a nice open atmosphere to it, something I wish Metlife Stadium could have achieved. We turned around to head back down the stairs and were greeted by the Seattle skyline. Must be even cooler form inside the stadium and in the seats.
With time to kill and drinks to finish, Ian and I walked around the street that leads up to Safeco field, which is filled with vendors and shops. After going in a few of the shops looking at old Sonics gear or new Seahawks jerseys, we decided to stop for a deal we couldn’t pass up: 2 sausages for $5. One footlong dog and one spicy sausage later we were both stuffed and ready for a game!
As we were walking up to the stadium, I got a call from a Washington number, so I decided to pick up. On the other line is a man by the name of Gary Walco, the father of a good friend who’s family moved to Seattle his freshman year of college. His son, Daniel, has spent nearly every year at my house since the move for a few days at time visiting his old town and old friends. The Walco’s, being a baseball family, have season tickets to the Mariners. I had spoke to Daniel earlier in the day to see if his dad would be at the game because I wanted to say hi. Next thing I know, I am on the phone with Gary who is inviting us to sit with him 15th row behind home plate. Considering we bought cheap seats in left field, we couldn’t be more excited.
I have been to Safeco Field before and I must say it is one of my favorite ballparks. It has that new feel to it and a great open space plan where you have clear sight lines of the field, even if you are up getting some garlic fries. The crowd was scarce, even for a Tuesday night, so no one gave us a problem going to a section not on our ticket. We quickly met up with Gary and his friend at his seats and we were thankful for the invite.
The game went pretty well for the Mariners and no real story to tell. We did see a woman get kicked out for berating a fan after making her son cry, but that was about all the excitement beside a two run inning from the Mariners. After being up most of the game 2-0, the Mariners gave up 2 runs in the top of the 9th to send it into extra-innings. This meant that we were going to see from free baseball, because there was no way the Mariners were scoring again. Little did we know, we were in for 18 innings!
The next several innings were a blur. No real scoring threats. Not much excitement in the stadium. Gary had work the next day so he left around the 14th inning, leaving us alone with a nearly empty stadium. With no need to be sitting for far back, we decided to sneak up a little. And by a little, I mean front row. We got in the front row in the 14th inning and we were instantly treated like royalty. Within minutes, a waiter was coming around giving us free hot chocolates. Within the same inning, the ball boy threw me a baseball. I have always wanted to get a ball, but always imagined it coming by catching a foul, or even a home run. I never thought I would sit close enough to get a ball tossed from the ball boy. I’m not complaining though.
Sitting nearly 5 feet away from the on deck circle, we were laughing, cheering, and heckling the Orioles. This was more than a meaningless game for me, as a Yankees fan, an Orioles loss would be huge. We were also granted access to a private dining area which had free ice cream, pretzels, and all the soft drinks we could ask for. With a hangover on its way, I elected to drink at least 8 dollars of free water. We watched as the crowd became smaller and smaller after every pitch, and the clock went well into Wednesday morning. Finally, in the 18th inning, the Orioles put up 2 more runs. The Orioles failed to match short after, ending the game. As the umpires and field workers were walking off, they tossed up another ball. This one I gave to Ian.
We wandered up to where we caught the bus to a closed off section. Luckily, we caught up with a bus that would take us to another bus, which happened to be the last one to the U-district. He even called the bus ahead and asked to wait. Seattle bus drivers are a friendly bunch!
If you are in Seattle and the Mariners are in town, I think a trip to Safeco Field is a must. Tickets are relatively cheap, especially if you know someone who can get you closer like we did, and the environment is overall friendly, even for visiting fans. If you want a good game, find a one where Felix Hernandez is pitching for a better atmosphere. If you want to go on a budget, take the bus in and find some cheap tickets on stubhub. The later in the season the better, as the Mariners will most likely be eliminated!
Date Achieved: Sept 18th, 2012