So, he bought tickets and I went to the Mariner's game on Tuesday. It was Ichhiro Choo Choo night, so everyone got a train with his picture on it. We got there at 5:30, Brian wanted to watch the players warm up and make sure we got our train. As we entered, there was a long line of people leaving. They had just showed up, grabbed their train and then turned around and walked out. I gave mine to Brian, they're selling for $29.99 on Ebay.
The first "event" of the game was the ceremonial first pitch. A guy in an electric wheelchair pushed himself up the pitcher's mound. He had a head brace holding his head up and the ball was in his lap. The deep throated announcer started talking, this is a paraphrase:
"Tonight's ceremonial first pitch will be thrown by Freddy Johnson. Freddy was born with Spinal Malformation Syndrome, or SMS, and doctor's predicted he wouldn't live past the age of three. But, his indomitable spirit has shocked them all. Today, he is a member of his high school basketball team, serving as the team statician. He was one of three members of the basketball team honored for their grades and called out during an assembly. This fall, he is attending the University of Washington to study genetic engineering. He hopes to use his degree to find a cure for SMS. And now, the ceremonial pitch."
Freddy, not his real name, pushed the lever on his wheelchair and rolled with the ball in his lap over home plate. The most amazing part was that in stadium with over 30,000 people in it, I was one of about 30 watching the pitch.
Brian is a theater tech nerd and gave a running critique of the sound cues and lighting. He pointed out the theme music for each player and talked about what he would do if he were in the booth.
The one thing we didn't count on was that the game lasted 16 innings. It didn't get out until midnight. It was the 7th longest Mariners game in their history. So, the booth started running out of things to do about inning 11. The songs they played got older and older until they got down to Wooly Bully and a recording of an organ playing charge.
They even ran out of words to put up on the screen when good plays happened. At one point, after a hit, they flashed the word "Fabulous." I wonder if a baseball fan has ever turned to the guys next to him and said, "Fabulous." The Queer Eye guys have invaded even baseball. But, only after the 14th inning stretch.
In our row in a different section there was a guy we nicknamed Oz because he looked like an extra from the TV show Oz. He would stand up for good plays and if his son didn't stand up, he would reach over and clock him in the side of his head. His face looked like it had been set on fire at least once.
I got hit in the foot by a foul ball after it bounced off the Fox Sports booth. It rolled under the seat and the woman if front of me grabbed it.
There was an old guy that switched to the seats behind us as people were leaving. He had a running commentary on the game. "Jesus, they should draw him a picture of the plat. Then, at least he'd know what he was looking for." And, "This game is taking longer than my divorce." After an inning, he'd run through all his lines and he switched to a seat in a different section so he could run through his lines again with a new audience.
A guy named Vallone saved an inning, after he struck a guy out they flashed "Pro Vallone" up on the board. Disappointed, Brian shook his head, "They just made that up in the booth."
So, the game ended at midnight. We were there for 6 and a half hours.
Things I learned at the game:
1. Baseball is a game played in 16 innings. It begins at 7PM and ends around 12AM.
2. If you get there early enough, you get to see George Takei's niece. We didn't get there early enough.
3. Although water seems to be available in large quantities everywhere else, it is actually a rare commodity in baseball stadiums that is worth at least $3.75 for 16 oz.
4. You don't throw away your trash, you tuck it under your seat.
5. If there is a player named Mike Myers, the tech people will eventually us the Austin Powers clip, " YEAH BABY!" when he does something good.
6. They stop serving beer after the 7th inning.
7. People start to sober up around the 11th inning.
8. If you are a hot chick with a bare midriff, you're up on the big board every time the booth plays a rally song.
9. If you are a fat guy who takes his shirt off, you're up on the big board every time the booth plays a rally song.
10. As tempted as I was, I never made it up on the big board.