Monday, September 6, 2010

Summer Baseball Travels (Part 3 of 3: Ichirrific!)

Wow, has it really been a week? Sorry I haven't produced anything for you to read recently, but with the start of the school year comes an onslaught of stress like you wouldn't believe. It's basically the time of year where I'm at my worst, no fun to be around, and generally hating life. That usually goes away in a week or so, and everything becomes rosy again. To make up for the prolonged absence, you readers are getting an honest-to-goodness article today. Yes, it's time to read about the longest baseball pilgrimage of the summer, a trip to Seattle.

While the entire trip in mid-June wasn't totally related to baseball, the interleague game against the Cincinnati Reds was one of the scheduled stops. My wife's and my best friends moved to Seattle from Milwaukee last summer, and it was our first chance to see their new daughter. This is only important in relation to baseball in light of the fact that, when dropping off their baby at the sitter for the evening, the father let his infant daughter know, in no uncertain terms, "Mommy and Daddy are going to get crazy tonight." Indeed.

The preparations began early in the afternoon with a trip to a local discounter to pick up some Mariners gear. I selected this old-school M's shirt. It's one of those amazingly soft T-shirts that all clothing should feel like. I have to say I was impressed with the amount of retro Mariners gear I saw people wearing around ballpark. The current Mariners uniforms are a teal hole of unequivocal suck, and you can spot the smarter fans by which era they choose to sport. Most of the old-school stuff is from the trident period, but every once in a while I saw a dude with a big yellow S on his blue cap. I don't know about you, but I always associate the trident M with Gorman Thomas.

The plan that evening was to get dinner, then hit Safeco Field in time to get our free Griffey/Ichiro dual bobbleheads. From the picture below, though, you can see that even three hours before gametime was cutting it too close, as a line was already forming around the block. With a limit of 20,000 (I believe) giveaways, we stood no chance of getting both dinner and free swag. We chose dinner. The bobblehead will be available in perpetuity, thanks to the miracle of the Interwebs.

After a delicious dinner consisting only of appetizers, we hoofed it back to the stadium and hit the closest biergarten. Pyramid Breweries operates a brew pub across the street from Safeco (which also sits next to Qwest Field, home of the Sounders and Seahawks) with a parking-lot-based community gathering space. The lines for cold brew were long, so the men were assigned to beer duty. Luckily, our wives were able to make friends with a guy who had a hook-up that resulted in round after round of dollar beers. Yes, it pays off to have hot wives. Several Curveballs later, we were good and drunk and ready to cause trouble.

Oh, say hello to Juan, the amigo that hooked us up, Milwaukee-style. Trust me, he looks more like a dirty old man than he actually was. Nice guy who knew how to party.

We got into Safeco Field only fashionably late. I believe this sign stands in left field, with this being the vantage point from our right field seats.

There you go, it certainly is in left field. The Mariners work hard to create a family-friendly atmosphere. All are welcome, from kids with hand-crafted signs to stocky bald guys who wear sunglasses atop their heads.

One thing that became apparent was the difference in a dollar's buying power when comparing Milwaukee to Seattle. This is what about a $40 ticket gets you in Seattle.

And here is what $40 gets you in Milwaukee. Quite a contrast.

Sitting in deep right field has its perks, though. With a so-so zoom lens, you can get a pretty good look at one of the best players in the game.

The game itself was a snooze-fest, a 1-0 Mariners victory. We were left wanting more, and what we wanted more of was alcohol, so we stumbled around and ducked into the first place that looked even remotely hospitable. Thankfully, it turned out to be a well-stocked tavern, and by well-stocked, I'm talking a shitload of beers on tap.

Perhaps my plan was to start at one end of the tappers and work my way down for the evening, which is why I got a delicious...

Guinness! I have no idea what this place was called (perhaps a Seattle-based reader can clue us in?), but I think I came out ahead for the the night merely by not losing anything of value in the bar. I can't wait to come back sometime and sample more of what Seattle has to offer. The Mariners and the city endeared themselves to me in such a way that the Mariners are now my de facto rooting interest in the AL West.

Hopefully, next summer I can showcase a few new stadiums. I'm only up to five*, but there's no hurry.

*1. Miller Park - Brewers
2. Target Field - Twins
3. The Great American Ballpark - Reds
4. Safeco Field - Mariners
5. Chase Field - Diamondbacks


Chris Harris said...

My parents went to this game, and brought back the Griffey/Ichiro dual-bobblehead.

For reals, yo. Still have it M.I.B.

Corky said...

Pyramid Brewery is the place to hit on game day, but you have to get there early before people start showing up. The second place you hit may have been Elysian Fields, another brewery in the area to the North of Safeco and just West of Qwest Field. If you ended up North of Qwest Field though it could be any number of places.

I have not been there myself but I know the name, I usually stick to Pyramid Brewery.

PunkRockPaint said...

Let me know when you make your way down to San Diego. We'd be happy to show you the city.

Ryan said...

Chase Field is the nicest stadium I've ever been to. Case Closed.

Mariner1 said...

The second bar looks like it could be Sluggers. It is a long thin bar. It's been a while since I've been in there, but it kind of looks like it. I'm glad you enjoyed our fine city. I'm not sure what the appeal(except for cash) is with the bobbleheads. That's when all the people come to games.