Last night, in shorts, a band T and graphicked trucker cap (the closest I have to a baseball hat) I went with two close friends to my first Mariner’s game in two years. Incidentally, also with those two friends. I don’t remember who won two years ago (I think it was us) but I sure as hell know who won last night. It was a gnarly, humiliating game. I famously don’t sports that much, but I could even tell how many of our defensive plays were pure groaners.
Nevertheless, I had a great time, and as someone who doesn’t get out to games often, I had a few takeaways.
GOING TO BASEBALL GAMES IS FUN, EVEN IF YOU LOSE
As noted above, the Mariners got crushed. The Los Angeles Angels played well enough, but more to the point, we played poorly. It was kind of embarrassing. But folks were still having a good time, because the live baseball experience is about sitting in the sun, drinking delicious beverages, chatting with your buds and occasionally paying attention when something exciting is happening. This also means that anecdotes frequently have to be delayed before completion, lending an air of gravity and suspense to your story about the malfunctioning futon.
CHILDREN SINGING THE NATIONAL ANTHEM IS ADORABLE
Last night the Rosa Parks Elementary choir sang the “Star Spangled Banner” and they sang it well and their conductor conducted with the enthusiasm of a man who knows this will be a singularly memorable moment in many of his students’ young lives.
Less adorable, however, was the choice to play them off with Outkast’s song “Rosa Parks.” Despite still slapping twenty years on, the actual Rosa Parks was not a fan. A bit cheeky, Mariners Music Man!
INCREDIBLY OBSCENE MUSIC DOES SOUND GREAT IN STADIUMS
You had a few expected Dad-rock jams, a few songs I’d just as soon never hear again, but the best sounding between-innings music was all the early ’90s gangsta rap, early ’10s EDM derived pop, or fairly current trap music. These genres work best because they’re so bass-heavy, don’t (generally) have lots of shrieking treble, and all the lyrics that make it inappropriate for children and/or grandparents can’t be heard over the bass. Less alt-rock and pop-country hits of the ’90s and more of anything else, please!
T-MOBILE STADIUM’S SIGNAGE IS WAY TOO BRIGHT
That is all. It’s a bright pinkish thing that’s brighter than anything besides the field lights. I didn’t really care when our Mariners’ switched from one giant corporation to another, but this sign is dumber.
I WILL DRINK IPAS AT THE GAME
I tend to be a cheaper, lighter, or thicker, darker beer sort of guy, but I will enjoy a cool, refreshing IPA at the baseball game. Partly because at $13.50 for a 24 ounce pint, this is not a bad deal. Yes, everything is more expensive at games. It’s a thing. But if you do the math it’s not much more expensive than you’d pay for that much at most bars around here, and its a way better deal than paying 10 bucks for a tall boy of Rainier.
Also, the popcorn at the games needs more butter.
THE FIRST THREE PITCHES ARE LIKE THE PREVIEWS AT A MOVIE
Because half the crowd shows up after them. Last night wasn’t super well attended, but it seemed downright empty. . . until partway through the first inning, where everyone crowed in with their under-buttered popcorn and beers and colas.
IT’S INTERESTING HOW MANY OF THE M’S SLOGANS ARE LOYALTY-BASED
It probably speaks for itself when a team’s recurring theme in marketing themselves to fans is that said fans must continue to like them. “You Gotta Love These Guys” is both an imperative and a shrug. Like something you say about a mischievous nephew who just crashed your car. “True to the Blue” evokes a fatalistic vision of loyalty– why not just say “Down with the ship?” Even “SODO MOJO” relied on its fun rhyme to obscure the fact that it was a look back at glory days that really weren’t all that glorious. “Refuse to Lose” is an abstract hypothetical. At no point do any of these slogans assert that the Mariners, are in fact, good.
WHICH IS WHY PEOPLE LOVE TO BE MAD AT THE MARINERS
At first I thought “man, people love to hate this team.” The folks in front of us wouldn’t cuss out the Angels, but they’d yell at our pitchers, whether they deserved it or not (it was about 60%/40% there.) But that’s not it, exactly; like said mischievous nephew who wrecked your car, and now proceeds to steal your credit card to finance a business he swears will pay everything back, there’s a bit of righteous satisfaction in expecting a team to fail. . . and being proven right.
Still, Seattle’s skyline looked amazing as the sunset, even with T-Mobile blasting light pollution everywhere. As bummer as the game was, you don’t get a sense that anyone was sad to have been there. Many people left early, but my friends and I stayed through the last pitch, albeit distracted by trying to decide whether or not one particular Angel’s player looks like an Irish film star. There was no consensus reached.I personally left with the intention to attend more games this year, not less.
Who knows. Maybe those slogans are working.