Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Old Ball Game

So the dust is still settling from the Primary, and while most of the results are known or pretty much guessed-at, I'm going to instead talk about baseball.

I finally got a chance to go to a Mariners game last night. I like to get to at least one ball game a year, usually early in the season when hope springs eternal, the horizons are unlimited, and there are hundreds if not thousands of games yet to play in the season. Due to upheavals in my life, I did not get a chance until this point, when the Monkey King announced he was going. So I got off my duff and availed myself of a ticket that Frabjous Dave had gotten from mutual friend Scott, but was not going to use.

And had a good time. The Mariners are so deeply in the cellar this season that they're going to start next season ten games back on opening day, but its the ballpark experience that's cool. Its that stepping out from the shadows of the gallery into the bright lights of the field. Its the collection of people attentive on the game. Its the smell of garlic fries.

First half of the game we had seats at the extreme right field boundary. Good seats, and I had Scott providing play-by-play throughout (the Mariners have gone over the course of the season from a team that is too old to one that is too young, in his considered opinion). Scott had discovered in his dedication to Safeco Field that not all seats were created equal, and we quickly moved down into the the wide-bottomed seats directly ahead of us. The location gave more of feel for the fielders as opposed to the hitters. After inning five we rejoined Monkey King and Jake, who were behind home plate.

One thing that did strike me as weird was the enforcement of seat location for the first three innings. During this time, security folk cruised the stands like old-fashioned conductors, demanding tickets to make sure people are in the right place (after the third inning, they not only abandon this practice, they tell people they are welcome to take seats closer to the rail that they had defended so vigorously). Apparently they always hit Scott, and he wondered why. I suggested that if the staff wasn't checking seats, they would have to watch the Mariners play. (ba-dump-bump). There was definitely a whiff of TSA-in-action as they cruised the seats, looking for malefactors.

The game itself was fun (Mariners won, so now they're only (let me see, now) 435 games back). More importantly, Ichiro got his 232th hit, a bouncing double that topped the right field wall (He is chasing the hitting crown, the one bright spot of the season). And there is some promise in new kids, in particular the pitcher, who they left in way too long until he finally faded at the top of the ninth.

A good time. If you still have time to take in a game where you are, do it. In Seattle, in particular, since there are a LOT of seats still available.

More later,