Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Take Me Out To The Ball Game

Went to a Seattle Mariners baseball game today. Wanna see some pics?

Rolled up to Marinerland in a car bearing the Boston Red Sox's logo on the window. Oh, yes, I did. The Red Sox were the Seattle Mariners' opponent for the day, and while I've got nothing against my home team, I came to see the Bosox. Sorry 'bout it, Mariners.

{Yes, this shot is also a weirdly reflected self-portrait. Didn't intend to do that but there you have it.}

I parked south of the stadium and walked up this gigantic alley (or maybe it's a closed street) filled with tents full of hot dogs, sausages, kettle corn, peanuts as well as Mariner and Red Sox team jerseys and souvenirs; street musicians; sweet and savory scents; cool geometrically inspiring buildings; and baseball fans of every size, shape and social strata imaginable. I found it all intriguing, tried to take a billion photos, and eventually had to be dragged away to keep on my journey to the stadium. 

Yay, I made it. Such nice folks working at the stadium today - the bag checkers and ticket scanners were all chatty and genuinely friendly. As usual, my bag raised an eyebrow from the checker who took one look at its overstuffed shape and assume I am a pack rat; the truth is that I carry only my wallet, keys, phone...and clothes. Yep, I had a giant hoodie, wool socks and a hat crammed into my bag. Just in case. You never know when it might be freezing cold at the ball park, so I like to come prepared.

Once I made it past the checkers, my adrenalin surged. I always get super excited at this phase of entering any sports arena; I leaped up the stairs two at a time in anticipation of seeing this:

The first glimpse of the playing field! I always feel like I have stumbled on a magical secret..a huge, lush, green meadow inside of a steel forest, covered with tiny little sports-playing elves. I love the way the sunlight floods into the darkened stands, and I feel like I am peeking out onto a miracle. It takes my breath away every time.

Here's the view from my very own seat in the center field bleachers. I love the perfect symmetry of this seat, the fabulous lines of the mowed outfield, and the "Welcome to Safeco Field" sign. I am a diehard bleacher bum, going back to my roots at Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs. You can keep those shady grandstand seats - I'll take a bench in the sunshine any old time.

Of course, the big risk of sitting in the outfield bleachers is that an errant home run ball will drop down out of the skies when I am not looking and thunk me on the head. This is a very real problem, although with the Mariners and the Red Sox in the house, the odds of this catastrophe drop considerably. Heh, just kidding. Both teams are having a slow summer.

But still, I was greatly relieved to see that I was surrounded by noble protectors. Yep, two young men, one to my left and the other to my right, had brought their mitts to the game and were on guard, ready to snatch any home run balls that might come way way. Whew. Crisis averted.

Food and baseball go hand in hand, and it's fair to say that stadium food is always 1) overpriced, 2) high on the fats and oils, and 3) super-sized. Usually, I have a hard time finding the balance between starving to death or lapsing into a food coma, but today I got it just right. I ate exactly one half of this order of garlic fries, washed them down with a small Dr. Pepper, and then sat very still for about 45 minutes, feeling pretty darn stuffed yet able to breathe. I could hardly believe my excellent good luck. There were about 87 cloves of garlic on those potatoes, and untold amounts of oil, and honestly, they tasted like heaven. 

Glorious weather. Warm sun, gentle breeze, clear blue sky, nary a cloud in sight. When Seattle gets the weather right, you can count on having a PERFECT day. Today was one of them.

To tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, the game was kind of a snore. There were only two scoring rallies, the pitching was okay but the defense was sloppy, and there were no memorable big plays, towering hits, or exciting showdowns on the bases. But what a great afternoon to sit in the sunshine and soak up nine innings of America's favorite pastime. I might just go do it again tomorrow!

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