So yesterday I was at home thinking about going to all the Mariner's games that my family used to go to. I loved the whole structure of the day, the ritual. We had season tickets when the M's were still in the Kingdome. Out in left field right behind the Fletcher's sign, Front Row! They were amazing seats. There is nothing like the magic that the front row brings for a kid at a ball game.
The day would start out at home everyone gathering what they would need for the day. My dad would be sure to have his binoculars and his glove, you can't go to a baseball game wihtout your glove. Then into his backpack would go his jacket, peanuts, and sunflower seeds. My mom would have to put her Mariner's pencil in there and an extra just in case(she loved to keep her own score card during the game). Jon and I would grab our jackets or sweatshirts, and our gloves as well. then, we would all pile into our Ford Taurus station wagon and drive to the Bainbridge Island Ferry. We would park and then go to the walk-on passenger waiting area, with all of the other fans on their way to the game. It was always fun to see everyone else there and after a few years of doing this there would be people you recognized.
Once we were on the ferry the rule was Jon and I had to stay by mom and dad until the boat left the dock, after that, the fun started. As soon as that whistle blew and forward progress started we were off! Jon would go check out the video games and I would go check out the boys, of course! I have no idea how many laps I have done around those ferries but I'm pretty sure even a marathon runner would be impressed. Now if it were one of those games where I brought a girlfriend and Jon stayed home...well, I'm sure you all can guess that the male radar factor increased exponentially.
Once we got to Seattle, there was still more to the ritual. Next stop, the Subway on Denny. We would take the pedestrian bridge up and then go over the few blocks and start our wait in line. Then the sandwiches, Spicy Italian for my dad, the same for my mom, unless it was the Spicy Italian salad. Jon would get a meatball sub and then there was me. I would get my two, yes two, footlong meatball subs. Our family always benefited from Subway stamps. Then each person would get their tanker of drink and our trek to the dome would continue. ONce we got there, we had the line to wait in before we got to the gate, then frist priority, get mom her scorecard. After that up to the seats.
I loved batting practice. It was always a battle getting to your seats when everyone is lined to catch that home run from B.P. You never knew when you would be in the right place at the right time. Even better than a home run was a ball thrown right to you by a player. Or for my first ball, put right in your glove, by Paul Assenmacher. After that the list goes on for me. Darryl Strawberry, and Rich Amaral. There were more from players who I didn't know but each time it happened, you felt like the coolest kid in the world!
When your talking about baseball you can't exclude the National Anthem or the seventh innning stretch, or all of the chants for your favorite players. Then there are the crazy people in your section, which we had our share of, some of them we knew :)
FOOD. I LOVE FOOD. And there were so many choices at the stadium. Nachos, that was my favorite. And the best part about going to get food, more boy watching! Hey, I was a teenager.
I learned how to keep score at a game early on. After her tanker of Diet Pepsi she would inevitably need a bathroom break. She couldn't let her scorecard get neglected, so I did it, it was fun. You had to pay attention to the game. When I was feeling really ambitious, I would track the balls and strikes.
Then there's the fireworks. After the National Anthem, every homerun, and after every Mariner VICTORY! Okay, a minute to vent. Why are there no fireworks at Safeco?!?! If you can have fireworks in a dome, why can't you have them in a stadium? It just bugs me.
If you haven't figured it out, I love baseball! It's one of my great memories from childhood, something I'll always hold on to, something I want to share with my kids. Thanks mom and dad for that one. I don't think you guys know how much I looked foraward to all of that time we spent together.
So after all that, one question. Peanuts or Sunflower seeds? My choice, sunflower seeds, one big bag each game. Afterwards, my mouth would be salty and raw, and I loved it.