Opening day is just about here. Unfortunately for local Seattle Mariners fans the season will start at 3AM. That is a tough pill to swallow no matter how diehard of a fan you are. However pulling an all-nighter to watch the M’s is a first time experience in the past 35 years.
That fact alone could make it worth it to stay up late, for bragging rights of course.
Here are five more things I’m looking forward to about the two games in Japan.
1. Ecstatic Fans
The Safeco faithful proved to be anything but this past season as attendance records were at an all time low in 2011. Seattle fans have become jaded and cynical about their team and even about their beloved superstar Ichiro Suzuki. People often criticize fans for cheering for the team at all. It won’t be like that in Japan.
2. Flashback to the Kingdome
The Tokyo dome is reminiscent to the humble beginnings of the Seattle franchise and although Safeco field is one of the most beautiful parks in the MLB, the memories (and the noise level) in the Kingdome every time Ken Griffey Jr. came up to bat still carry a thrill for those of us that were too young to know that the Kingdome sucked.
Many hours have been spent wondering what it would be like to go back there for one more game.
Now is that chance.
3. Taking in Ichiro Fever
There have been countless stories about Ichiro’s fame level in Japan, but now as North American fans we have a chance to view it first hand, or second hand through a TV screen at least.
Wouldn’t it be great to see him snag a foul ball out of the crowd only to see the whole group faint with excitement?
It would be nice to remember that even a year ago Ichiro’s demise was not even a speculation.
This could jump start the love for Seattle all over again.
4. The New Line Up
It will be cool to see if Chone Figgins can truly come back to life in the leadoff spot. If Ichiro can transfer batting practice performance to game time. If Smoak, Montero and Carp can be all that we have hoped for in the middle of the line up.
Experiments are cool.
If they don’t work they generally blow up. Both are entertaining.
If the M’s can beat Oakland they will be sitting at the top of the AL West for a week. That would be a great way to remember the season, but… even if they don’t, having baseball back is a win-win concept all on its own.