Baseball season started today. You might have missed it. Not everyone is a baseball fan. Baseball is the Country music of the sports world.
I like all kinds of music.
Like Country music, baseball’s fanbase is passionate. Over 47,000 fans jammed Safeco Field in Seattle tonight, the home of the Mariners.
Seattle is about 1000 miles from Pleasant Grove, Utah. But, thanks to the miracle that is the internet, I got to listen to tonights game. Felix Hernandez, King Felix to the fans, started the game and went 5 1/3 innings before he reached his pitch count of 81 pitches.
Nelson Cruz, the hottest hitter for the past 3 years, smacked a homerun.
The big story was the return of Ichiro, the future Hall of Fame player that came up with the Mariners 16 years ago is back in Seattle patrolling right field. He’s not the player he was, but then who among us is?
Edwin Diaz the Mariners closer came in to start the 9th inning trying to save a 2-1 Mariners lead. He made it exciting with a hit batsman, a balk and eventually three stikeouts to close out the Mariners first win of the season.
Like I do every year at this time, I miss Dave Niehaus, the long time Mariners announcer. He was the first Mariner in the Hall of Fame, going in as a broadcaster.
The radio announcers are definitely capable and bring the game to life through their retelling of the action on the field. But, they don’t compare to Dave. Can’t wait for the first grandslam to hear them pay homage to Niehaus’ “Get out the rye bread and the mustard, Grandma. It’s grand salami time!”
I also think back on my first Mariners games nearly 40 years ago. I remember them because my dad took me. I never did figure out if he loved baseball or just wanted his son to. I know he hated the old Kingdome. It was a pretty ugly and just bad baseball stadium. But, he went and took me.
I didn’t really develop a love of the game until later when I started taking my own kids to the ballpark. Now? Well, now I’m hopeless. I can cite way more statistics than you would care to listen to. I can explain the double-switch and why the Mariners never run it. I can explain the infield fly rule, but it will take a while. I can even tell you a funny trivia question about how a team can get a triple play without any of their players touching the ball. (It’s great, but a little geeky.)
The Mariners won tonight. But, history says that they will eventually fade down the stretch. Seattle is the only city with a Major League Baseball team that has never been to the World Series.
But, for the next 161 games, I’ll be glued to the modern radio (interent) listening to men 1000 miles and 40 years away.
Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.
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