Saturday, June 25, 2016

I saw the St. Louis Cardinals play the Seattle Mariners, Part One

What I saw: the St. Louis Cardinals play the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field in Seattle. The Mariners won, 4-3, on a 9th inning walk-off three run home run by Adam Lind off Trevor Rosenthal.

What I wore: newish grey Nike sneakers, tan Levi's jeans (most comfortable pair of pants I own), unremarkable blue polo shirt, black Helly Hansen rain jacket, faded blue Cardinals hat

What I did beforehand: waited at my apartment for my friend Pete to arrive from work on his bike; drove him in my truck over to his house to drop off his bike; drove over to the Beacon Hill light rail station and parked my truck; took light rail to the stadium.

Who went with me: my friend Pete (see above). I took him to the game in honor of his birthday which was the previous week.

How I got tickets: the last time the Cardinals were in Seattle was back in 2002. I had always promised myself that I would go to every game in the series the next time the Redbirds returned. When I saw this three game series on the schedule, I took the light rail down to the Safeco Field ticket office to buy tickets to all three games (to save on service charges and delivery fees which typically add a sizable amount to any online ticket order). At the time that I bought the tickets, I had no idea who would be going with me to each game.

Why I saw this game: I grew up in St. Louis,  where everyone (except one or two crackpots in my family who claimed to originally be Browns fans) roots for the Cardinals pretty much from birth. Many of the most memorably traumatic moments of my life revolve around Cardinals losses, starting in 1974 with the time I cried inconsolably after Cubs catcher Steve Swisher dropped a third strike to allow the Pittsburgh Pirates to clinch the NL East title and knock the Cardinals out of playoff contention. I was six years old.

Where I sat: section 109, row 37, seat 7. One of my favorite places to sit-- easy access from the south-east gate at Safeco Field; on the first level of the outfield so there's a realistic chance of catching a home run ball. The other fans in our section were friendly, rowdy (but not drunk), profane, and knowledgeable-- can't really ask for more (except for fans to refrain from shouting out racist insults-- see below).

Things that were sad: the Cardinals held a 3-1 lead going into the 9th inning but lost.

Things that were funny: from where we were seated, we could not see the Tyranno-Vision screen, so we did not have a lot of information about players and stats (nor were we close enough to see the players faces clearly). I haven't followed the Cardinals quite as closely in the past few years as I have in previous years, so I don't know all the numbers of the players. Because of this, I somehow convinced myself the Cardinals were pitching Michael Wacha instead of Carlos Martinez. It was only in about the sixth inning that I finally figured out my mistake.

 Wacha (left) and Martinez (right)

Things that were not funny: at one point early in the game, the Mariner's Dae-Ho Lee, an enormous south Korean slugger who has become something a fan favorite this year, came up to bat. In the section around me, several people made racist comments, most notably the guy behind us who shouted out, "Konnichwa, motherfucker!!!!" Once again, Seattle's self-annointed reputation for open-mindedness and tolerance is shown to not actually be the case. 

What it is: a sport, played by professionals, in front of a crowd of paying customers (and others watching on television).

Who should see it: Cardinals fans, Mariners fans, baseball fans, and even people who aren't baseball fans-- this was a game that almost anyone who have found enthralling.

What I saw on the way home: the most erraticly-driven light rail train I've ever ridden on. 

(Thanks to How Way Leads On To Way for the inspiration.)

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