The Opener – My Take
It was my first time heading down to Seattle for the Seattle Mariners home opener this weekend – and was it ever glorious.
Fans leaving the Seattle Sounders game at Century Link (Qwest – Seahawks Stadium, whatever it is) mixed with crowds waiting to pour into Safeco Field to watch the Mariners face the Oakland Athletics all congregated in the sunny beer garden outside of Pyramid Breweries on 1st Ave.
Spirits were high (as sunshine is still a rare occurance in the Northwest), and the M’s have had a decent stretch so far this season playing in Japan, Arizona, Oakland and Texas.
But after 10 seasons of “rebuilding”, also known as not making it to the playoffs, it’s hard to say whether M’s fans will be able to to handle another season of the Mariners coming up short.
After spending opening weekend in Seattle, here are some of my impressions of the Mariners fans and the upcoming season:
1. M’s are ready to move on from the A’s
After playing 7 of their first 11 regular season games against the Athletics, the Mariners are more than ready to switch it up and start getting a taste of different pitchers and players in the MLB. The M’s have one day off before jumping into a long stretch of home and away games starting with the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday.
They won’t face Oakland again until the last week of June.
2. Mariners’ fans are a rowdy bunch
Seattle fans are dedicated. They are still out in full support of their team, even without an appearance in the post-season since 2001.
Our seats happened to be right above Safeco’s beer garden behind the outfield, and sometimes all the spectators in our section found themselves watching and even video taping events unfolding below us instead of the game.
Beer and french fries poured over someone’s head, leading to a shirts-off fight almost breaking out, and a solo female head-banging and dancing, gum in hair, complete with a strip tease were some of the highlights.
3. Time to step it up
The Mariners are sitting at 6-5, but they’re going to have to step it up if they expect to continue racking up Ws in upcoming series against the likes of Cleveland and the White Sox, followed by a road trip through Detroit, Toronto and Tampa Bay.
It will be interesting to see if the level of baseball they’ve been playing will be enough to continue to give fans a reason to be optimistic this season.
4. Still Griffey reminiscent
Legendary Ken Griffey Jr.’s name still appears to be the most common on the majority of M’s jerseys I saw while in Seattle. It seems fans are still hoping for the entertainment and pride Griffey brought to M’s baseball in the 90s to somehow resurface.
They’re still patiently waiting, after all these years, for the rebuilding to come to an end soon.
5. Blatant Jays fandom didn’t result in a beat down
I obviously couldn’t attend a baseball game without wearing my Jays hat. This was the first time in my life that I went to a MLB game somewhere other than the SkyDome in Toronto (yes it is still and forever will be unofficially called the SkyDome).
I at least toned it down and left my Joe Carter jersey at home. To my pleasure, only a couple Seattle fans cheered “Let’s-go Blue-Jays!” as I walked past, instead of throwing things at me or getting into an argument.
Thanks for the acceptance, M’s fans!
I’ll be back again soon.