Remember When

Dave · September 8, 2005 at 10:17 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Inspired by Jamey Newberg’s piece, and seeing how it’s an off day and the blog could use a little more friendly fare than we had yesterday, I’m getting nostalgic.

In 1980, I was born into a family that wasn’t exactly what you would consider sports enthusiasts. We didn’t have a television. We didn’t get the paper. My parents had started their own business, and the hours were pretty long. When a babysitter couldn’t be found, my brother and I would often end up at the shop. There was a lot of sweeping involved. Oh, how I hate sweeping. But then Mom or Dad would give me a dollar or two, and I’d begin the long trek a block north to the 7-11 and figure out how I could best use my new found wealth. Sometimes, I’d get flowers for Mom, but not nearly as often as I’d get some kind of candy bar. Eventually, I bought a pack of baseball cards. I didn’t know who any of the players were. I had never heard of these people. But I would read the back of the cards and find stories. There was a vast world contained on the backs of those cards, and interesting faces on the front. And so I became a baseball fan.

I remember my Dad taking my brother and I to watch the Mariners host the Red Sox. Oil Can Boyd was pitching. We took a sign that read “Kick The Can”. Dad was a Carl Yastrzemski fan as a kid, and the Red Sox were actually good, so we took a trip to the Kingdome. There are a few things etched into my memory that I will never forget.

The massive opening when you came out of the tunnel and the whole world seemed to open up in front of your eyes

“Now batting, #21, Allllllllllllllllllllvin Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaavis”

The Kingdome wasn’t the most beautiful ballpark of all time, but man, to a 6 year-old kid, it was something else.

My brother and I shared a room, and we started listening to the radio at nights. If we weren’t listening to TalkNet with Bruce Williams (we were weird), we had Dave Niehaus describing the action. I loved Harold Reynolds, AD, and Dave Valle. The fact that Greg Briley would go by Pee-Wee made me root for him. I couldn’t stand Dave Cochrane or Rey Quinones. Ivan Calderon had weird hair. I thought Bill Swift’s sinkerball was the greatest pitch ever invented. Lee Guetterman was the devil incarnate. And Steve Trout was the worst pitcher of all time.

The team was terrible, but I didn’t care. I would memorize the back of baseball cards, and when our family would go to a game, I would listen for people around us to start asking questions about a player, and I would turn around and answer them, full of pride for knowing something an adult didn’t know.

Fat Drunk Guy remarks that Scott Bradley couldn’t hit? “He hit .278 last year.” Apparently, if you’re 8, it’s cute. I don’t recommend trying it after you hit puberty, though.

I remember hearing stories about the kid up in Bellingham, the guy who is going to save the Mariners. Ken Griffey Jr, the great Mariner hope. And then he doubled in his first at-bat. He was still a teenager. This kid was going to be something else. I was sold. That’s all I needed to see. We were on our way.

Of course, the M’s kept losing. I didn’t care, though. We kept going to the games. We went to see Scott Bankhead pitch, because he was the team’s ace. We went to see Edgar Martinez hit. We went because I had fallen in love with baseball. My mom would bring books. I didn’t care. I would talk to the people sitting next to me.

Eventually, I joined little league, and my Mom would come to those games with 34 blankets and a stack of books too. But she came. And she’d watch occassionally. And she’d ask questions. And after a little pushing and pulling, baseball got ahold of her too. She’d stop bringing books. She started keeping score for my team. She started watching Mariner games when I wasn’t around. She’d switched teams. I’d gotten Mom on the side of the Mariners. We were becoming a family of baseball fans.

The 1994 strike sucked. But at 14, you can forgive anything. And when baseball came back, so did I. The M’s were built to win, finally, and I wasn’t going to let a little bitterness make me miss it.

Jr’s injury. Three months of Alex Diaz. The Vince Coleman trade. Tino going yard. Doug Strange with the pinch hit home run. The unhittable Randy Johnson. Jr’s homer off John Wetteland. Everybody scores! As it did for the city, 1995 solidified my whole family as Mariner nutjobs. We were koolaid drinking members of the cult.

The first 3 games of the ALDS, my school had a trip to the mountains scheduled. We weren’t allowed to bring radios. I brought “an alarm”. They wouldn’t let me skip the night meeting to listen to the game, since we weren’t allowed to have radios and all, but I remember giving Mr. Kercher the alarm and telling him to give me updates. Mr. Kercher was the man. But we kept losing. By the time the trip was over, we were down 0-2. And I spent the whole busride back convincing my friends it wasn’t over yet.

Game 5 was surreal. I was sick as a dog, watching the game with my mom on the couch. When Edgar doubled, I remember jumping off the couch, grabbing her, and jumping up and down. One of the greatest moments of my life.

We went to hundreds of games over the next few seasons. My dad spent $500 so that the four of us could go to the first game at Safeco Field (screw you, Jose Mesa). I started posting to a usenet newsgroup in 1995, where I met these guys named Derek and Jason and a bunch of others. We started having meetups at bars, where I’d be the only there who couldn’t drink. And Derek, Jason, and I became friends. And now we have a blog that you may have heard of.

Baseball brought me joy and tears, hope and pain. The Mariners brought me from the Dick Williams era to being a Lefebvre Believer to wanting to punch Bill Plummer in the nose. I have hundreds of stories I could tell. Baseball is intertwined with my childhood. But now, I love the game most for the friends it brings me. Baseball is a great game, but the joy of watching Felix pitch would be diminished significantly if I had never met Derek, Jason, Jeff, Peter, Jonah, Jake, Pat, or Mike.

“Why do you love baseball?” is a pretty common question for me. I’m never really sure what to say. I just do.


83 Responses to “Remember When”

  1. Jim Thomsen on September 8th, 2005 3:05 pm

    #49: My all-time favorite Niehaus scream came in 1985 when Phil Bradley hit a two-out, two-strike grand slam (Grand Salamis had yet to be created) to cap a massive comeback and give the M’s an 8-7 win. I’m damned if I can remember who the M’s beat, but that sustained Niehaus shriek stays with me 20 years later ….

  2. Ivan on September 8th, 2005 3:10 pm

    My Dad visited me from Philadelphia in 1982 and we went to the Kingdome to see the M’s play the Angels. Reggie came up and the crowd decided to boo him. Reggie struck out and the crowd went nuts. Typical Seattle Gomers.

    Reggie came up again and they booed even louder. Reggie whiffed again. This only fired up the crowd and they cranked it up even higher as Reggie fanned again for the hat trick.

    Reggie came up a fourth time, and the crowd had a mass orgasm when he hacked at air for the golden sombrero.

    The Angels did enough to get Reggie another at-bat. This time the bases were loaded. Even my Dad started to boo. I said “No, Dad, you don’t understand. This is what Reggie LIVES for! He’s going to hit this one nine miles.”

    In came a fat one and sure enough — BOOM! Grand Salami time.

    My Dad looked at me and said: “How the f–k did you know?” That was his last live game.

    More than a few years later, I took my daughter, age 3, to her first live game. As chance would have it, that was the Ken Cloude debut. Yet to this day, all she can remember was that Dan Wilson hit a home run and fireworks went off.

    My daughter is 13 now, and she still has her Edgar poster.

  3. goodbye baseball on September 8th, 2005 3:24 pm

    Quick Niehaus memory: In 1990, not knowing who the Mariners announcers are at the time because I’m living in NY, I’m watching This Week in Baseball and they’re showing the clip of Griffey’s catch at Yankee Stadium. When Junior makes the catch, the announcer erupts into his call that includes an ear-piercing “My Oh My!!” At the time my initial thought was, “Somebody get that man a joint; he’s just a little loud.” If I only knew what I didn’t know then.

  4. SAF on September 8th, 2005 3:27 pm

    April 20, 1990. SEA at OAK, day game.

    I got home from work early and flipped on Channel 11. Brian Holman pitches a perfect game through 8 innings. In the bottom of the 8th, we lose Alvin Davis to an injury and sub in our DH (Pete O’Brien ) at first. So we no longer have a DH and the pitcher will have to bat. No biggie, since O’Brien leads off the inning batting 6th and Alvin was batting 3rd. But in the ninth, 6 men come to the plate and Holmen has to bat! He is up with 2 out, leading 4-1 with a perfect game. Why not just hack and get back on the mound to finish the game? Instead he reaches base on an error and then is advanced to 2nd on a walk.

    I remember being riveted to the television, here is a player pitching a perfect game in the AL and he is standing on 2nd base in his warm-up jacket! This has only happened like 13 or 14 times in 100 years and he is standing on 2nd base! How weird and magical is that? I was hooked from that point on.

    Of course, everyone knows the rest of the story, with 2 outs in the 9th, Tony LaRussa brings in the washed up slugger, just back from injury, who happens to be an ex-Mariner, Ken Phelps. I remember thinking at the time, how do you defeat the M’s magic? Bring in the ex-Mariner! Home run, bye-bye no-hitter, bye-bye perfect game, bye-bye complete game shutout. Brian Holman comes back to strike out Ricky to end the game. M’s win 6-1.

  5. David U on September 8th, 2005 3:30 pm

    I guess that I am older than all of you. I remember back in the middle ’50s going to Sicks to watch the Rainiers (this was when they were still independent). We couldn’t afford to pay to watch the game so we would sit on the hillside behind left field and watch for free. One year Seattle was playing for the PCL crown late in the year and the crowd was so big that they installed a rope fence in right field and opened the roped off area to standing room only. Wouldn’t you love to stand on the grass behind Ichiro to watch a ballgame someday? Later when I was at the UW, the pilots came to town. I was able to go to opening day as well as about 10 other games. It was heaven to finally see teams like the Yankees that I only had read about before. Again I was at the first Mariners game. In those days only about 30 games were on TV (almost all road games) so I spent most summer evenings sitting outside in the twilight listening to Niehaus. Went overseas in ’86 and couldn’t see or listen again until about 2000 when KIRO started streaming. Back in “old days” we had no blogs or newgoups so the only people you could talk with about the games were friends, relatives, neighbors and co-workers. Not like now where posters in this blog are from all over the US and the World.

    One last comment, I have always liked Niehaus as a play-by-play announcer, but I truly believe the the Rainiers announcer Leo Lassen was even better.

    David Upham

  6. JasonAChurchill on September 8th, 2005 3:41 pm

    Yer not as weird as you think Dave, for some reason I cannot explain, as a kid I listened to Bruce Williams too.

    The subject matter was for adults, the callers were adults with problems and serious questions – for some reason It interested me enuff to fall asleep too that late.

    Good stuff man.

    Baseball rocks.

  7. Tiddley on September 8th, 2005 3:46 pm

    Well I figured i would add here but I cant really reminisce as much as you guys since i feel like one of if not the youngest readers here. 🙁 When I was born my dad bought me the complete TOPPS set of cards from that year, 1988. I didnt even know i had it until i was like 7 but then i looked through it even though my first baseball game was a Rochester Red Wings game when I was about 4 years old. The next year I started playing T Ball but I got the ultimate birthday present from my mom when I turned 5, I got to go to Toronto and ride on a train honestly the coolest form of transportation to me back then, and then we went to three games in the Kingdome 1 against Oakland and then 2 against Seattle. It was awesome sitting in LF behind the bull pen seeing the pitchers warm up honestly the greatest feeling of my life. I played little league forever from age 5 until I was able to play for school. I still remember hitting my first little league homerun, it was a 2-1 pitch with runners on first and second in the 3rd inning and I crushed it. I was a 10 year old kid and after that I was ecstatic, my dad even went and got the ball for me after it fell into a creek behind the field. I found the Ms as a 5 year old and Jr. was my favorite player in fact i mite still have my old griffey jersey around. I didnt become a huge fan of the Ms until about 98 when i was old enough to understand the stats and such and just started to like the Ms more and more.

    Now I am following baseball more than any sport besides paintball(my favorite sport to play) and about to play my 4th year of varsity ball for school. I also even found MLB showdown a game based on baseball and convinced my mom to take me to Chicago last year so I could play the national tournament which worked out because it was the last one. Now I am learning even more about baseball and hope to get an Internship with the Durham Bulls next spring as part of my High School internship deal which I think could really help me with my dream of going into front office type stuff with a baseball club.

    Thats just my little story and to me 1980 is old 🙂

  8. JoeM on September 8th, 2005 3:54 pm

    Well Dave at least ONE (occasional) poster here knows what you mean, I was born in 1980 as well and as a Navy Kid we moved around a lot, but thankfully we almost always had a baseball team nearby for my dad and I to go watch. I just loved the game itself, mostly cause it was the only one i could ever play half well (I’m not really football/basketball sized.)

    Baseball seems to get into some people’s blood, why I’m not really sure. It’s not always as exciting as other sports or as ‘athletic’ but it does have a certain appeal, partly because it is often a relaxing experience. I’m not thrilled with the M’s this year and I’m not happy that the Mariners have done so little to bring in top notch talent. But I’ve still gone to about 16 games so far and will go to a few more because I enjoy going to the games as an experience. Ichiro could double into the corner, Richie could smash one out and if Felix is pitching I’ll see 8 innings of raw talent.

    But next year I’m waiting a bit before i buy my season ticket package to see what the heck they do in the offseason. Gonna make Bavasi (or whoever is running it by then) work a little for my money.

  9. Jim Thomsen on September 8th, 2005 3:57 pm

    Then there’s David J. Corcoran, who has fond sepia-toned memories of wearing footie pajamas to the ballpark with mom and dad in 2003.

    I kid, David. I kid because I love.

  10. Evan on September 8th, 2005 4:01 pm

    I wish I had footie pyjamas. They look so comfy.

  11. John on September 8th, 2005 4:02 pm

    Wow. Talk about memories.

    Redundancy dept.: I went to my first M’s games on the educational tickets program. Somehow it was always the Blue Jays, and there was always some Canadian drunk on KingBeers getting ejected by King County’s Finest. Baseball was fun, but I didn’t play, and it was really Niehaus who kept my family in the game. I’ll never forget sitting on the living room floor looking at box scores and listening to Dave on another warm summer night. It almost didn’t matter if the M’s lost, as long as you could listen in.

    My grandfather played for Hollywood in the PCL, back in the ’20s, but my mom wasn’t really a baseball fan. Until 1995, of course. I’ll never forget walking around town that late summer, through Wallingford or Ballard or West Seattle, and never having to worry about missing anything – there was *always* a radio on with the game going. I remember Ron Judd in the _Times_ with a great column about coming back from the Peninsula and sitting in his truck trying desperately to get his cheesy AM radio to pick up Niehaus. I remember Langston sprawled out when the M’s won that one-game playoff (I was lucky enough to be there) and my dad being peeved at the fans on the field. I remember standing in line at the Wherehouse on 45th in the U District waiting for tickets for the Yankees series – I took my dad to the first two games here (3 and 4), but couldn’t get tickets for the 5th game. I remember walking through Occidental Park in the dark and the cold after the games and being surrounded by that tremendous energy and excitement after we came back to even things up with the Yanks. Somehow you just knew we were going to come back one more time.

    Wound up watching Game 5 on TV in the basement of the house I was living in at the time with a huge crowd of people (and a newly purchased 27″ TV bought just the day before, the first time I ever spent more than $300 on anything other than tuition). There was beer everywhere when Edgar came through with his famous double down the line, and not a single one of us cared.

    I remember my last game at the Kingdome, watching the demolition from the Jose Rizal bridge, watching Safeco come together, and my first game there with my now-wife. I remember Cal Ripken’s farewell tour and the homer he hit into the bullpen (right near the one he hit at the All-Star Game). I remember far, far too many instances of “Who Let The Dogs Out” (ugh), all the flash bulbs for Ichiro, and the very last game of 2001 (when a friend and I couldn’t get tickets together and spent the whole game wandering around the 100 level, and had a good time despite the loss), sleeping out for playoff tickets, and hating the Yankees that much more (and, of course, yelling so loud I scared the living daylights out of my wife and our cats when Luis Gonzalez and the D-Backs beat the Yanks in the Series).

    I was lucky enough to see Edgar’s farewell ceremony last year, and I don’t think I’ve heard a Mariners crowd that loud since the Kingdome. We took our son to his first game when he was 6 weeks old, and he’s starting to figure out players now that he’s turned 2. Here’s hoping he’ll be able to tell his kids about King Felix and all the rest of the ups and downs that define the game. You really do gotta love these guys – I can’t imagine life without baseball.

  12. Jon Graves on September 8th, 2005 4:34 pm

    I am from the UK and arrived in Seattle in 1994. That’s my excuse for not being a Mariners fan before the ’95 season. Anyway, here’s what happened:
    We were on Orcas Island (North of Seattle in the San Juan Islands) watching game 5 on the TV in a bar just up from the ferry terminal. There was quite a crowd there but when the ferry arrived we all grumblingly left for the parking lot.
    The scene in the parking lot was amazing, everyone had their car radios tuned to the game! When they announced Randy coming on in relief people got out of their cars and shrugged at one another in disbelief.
    Soon after, we had to load onto the ferry and found that, once onboard, radio reception was non-existent. People poured up from the car deck asking the crew about the game. Word must have got back to the bridge because there we were on a perfect fall evening, sailing through the San Juan Islands with the sun setting and the Captain calling the play-by-play from the bridge!
    Bottom of the 11th, down by a run, the commentary from the bridge fell silent. People exchanged tense glances and asked the crew what was happening. Then, a crew member came down from the bridge and ran through the whole ship yelling “we won!”. You can imagine the cheering. Of course, we forced him to act out the whole play!
    I always say that to not be a baseball (and Mariner) fan after that experience you would have to have no soul whatsoever.

    Jon Graves

  13. deleted for aesthetic reasons on September 8th, 2005 4:36 pm

    It trips me out to hear you young whipper snappers talking about Mariners memories like people used to talk about the Brooklyn Dodgers when I was a kid.

  14. Jim Thomsen on September 8th, 2005 4:41 pm

    Just think how Floridians look back on the yearning innocence of those first heady days as Devil Rays fans …

    — “Hey, remember Quinton McCracken?”

    — “How about that Bobby Smith?”

    — “My dad and I bonded over a Tanyon Sturtze start.”

    — “Remember when we were the only two people at ‘The Trop’ that afternoon in September 1999?”

  15. Colm on September 8th, 2005 4:46 pm

    Footie pyjamas? Oh, you mean the jim-jams with the feet sown into them.

    I was thinking of the sort of footie pyjamas you could get in my childhood with “Liverpool” written on the front and “Keegan” written on the back.

  16. Zach on September 8th, 2005 4:51 pm

    Rich DeLucia…now there’s a name I thought I’d forgotten.

    I was born in Boston in 1983, and my first baseball memories are going to Fenway with my dad, who worked for WGBH TV and thus sometimes got us access to their box suite. I remember that Wade Boggs was my favorite player, though I was also partial to a young Mike Greenwell. While I enjoyed the games, I think my favorite part was getting as many hot dogs as I could eat, which even at 4 was a goodly ammount.

    My parents chose to tell me that they were separating after my dad and I got back from the last game of the 1989 season. Furthermore, I was going to be moving to Seattle (where my paternal grandparents lived) with my mom, while my dad stayed in Boston, at least for a while. Needless to say, I was bummed.

    Once I got to Seattle, the one thing I latched onto was Jr. The Seahawks sucked (and I didn’t care much about football at the time), the Sonics were decent, but baseball was my favorite sport, and very quickly Jr. became my favorite player. I remember being angry a year or so later when my mom bought me a book about Boggs instead of about Griffey.

    I won’t go through what everyone else has already mentioned about the time from 1990-1995, except to add that until I get married, I’m sure nothing will match me getting to go to the one-game playoff against the Angels for best days in my life.

    Now that I go to school in New York (and the Mariners suck), I find it’s harder to maintain that love. They’re still my favorite team…but at least in this case absence has perhaps weaned me off them…though I’m sure if they start contending again that will quickly change.

  17. mark from Oly. wa. on September 8th, 2005 4:51 pm

    My first game:

    Candlestick park, 1989, … My mom, her co-workers, and me (age 11) went to San Francisco from Fresno to watch the game. It took hours to get there but we were in a fairly comfortable RV.
    I will never forget entering a Major League park for the first time. The grass was the greenest thing. The screens were huge. The fans filling the stadium, were so excited. It was really beautiful.
    We had great seats too. Right behind first base, about 10 rows up.

    So the game went down something like this:
    Giants go down 0-1 early in the game. At the bottom of the ninth my mom tells me if I want something from the stands I should get it now to beat the rush.
    So I go to the stands and they don’t have TVs everywhere but the guy at the stand does. I go up to get a ball with the teams autographs on it.
    The guy says to me, “What the hell are you doing here kid! It’s the best part of the whole game! I shouldn’t even sell you anything. What wrong with you!?!” (a question that has been asked many many times since)
    I get my item and go back to find my mom, but everyone is leaving.

    I am informed that Will Clark hit a two run HR in the bottom of the 9th to win the game. I totally missed it.

    thus, started my long history of being elsewhere when rememberable things happen.


    nowadays, the family business gets half-season tickets. Alot the games go to clients or employees. But my mom and I go to about 5 games together each year, and another 5-10 with friends and other family. We talk baseball alot. We talk baseball when there isn’t anything else to say.

    Baseball is a good game, a good distraction.

    thank you, Dave, for making this post. You brought up a lot of good memories. A nice reminder of why we care about this sport and this team.

  18. Deanna on September 8th, 2005 5:06 pm

    Whee. 1980… the first year I really remember baseball. My mom and grandpa had Sunday season tickets together to the Phillies forever and ever. In 1980, my mom started taking me to the games with her as my grandpa’s cancer got worse. He eventually died a few weeks before the Phillies won their first World Series ever. I was only three years old, so my mom decided not to bring me to the WS games. I got to go to a Series game in 1983, but the Orioles won it. Grrrrr.

    The 1980’s were a decade of Sunday Phillies games for me, my mom, and my brother. We watched them go from champs to chumps, as we amassed an impressive collection of Sunday age-14-and-under giveaways of Phillies gloves, bats, balls, backpacks, shirts, towels, etc. I learned math through baseball stats and batting averages. My brother and I fought all the time normally, but the four hours on Sunday at Veterans Stadium was a period of truce. We came up with our own scoring system, traded baseball cards together, and cheered (never booed!) for the Phillies. Short shameful confession: Von Hayes was one of my favorite players back then. Of course I also liked the heroes like Mike Schmidt, Steve Carlton, Pete Rose, and Tug McGraw, who taught me that it was okay to be a weirdo lefty.

    In the 90’s, my parents split, the season tickets were abandoned, the Phillies got crushed by guys like Molitor, Olerud, and Borders in the 1993 World Series (Mitch Williams is finally allowed to set foot in Philadelphia again these days, I think), and then the strike happened in 1994. And going off to college. And the hapless mid-90’s Pittsburgh Pirates, and eventually moving out to Seattle. But it doesn’t matter. I step into a baseball stadium now and it’s the same as it ever was. The seats may be a different color, the names are different, the city is different, and well, the Moose is no Phanatic. But it’s still a few hours in this alternate reality where nothing really matters except a bunch of guys running around on the field, a crowd to root root root for the home team, a duel from sixty feet six inches apart, ninety feet to first, three strikes and you’re out. What’s not to love?

  19. Jonathan on September 8th, 2005 5:58 pm

    Ah, 1980 and the Phillies. I was 13, and growing up in Western PA, Pirates territory (fellow NL East rivals back in the day). Being a Phillies fan there was inviting scorn, and the ’79 “We are Family” Pirates series win over the O’s, didn’t help. I remember the playoff series against the brilliantly orange-clad Astros. My dad paced in the hall when things got too nerve-wracking. One of my sisters and I are still prone to do that. When Tug McGraw got that last strike to win it all, my entire family jumped six feet in the air and stayed up there for a good six months. We hung a homemade victory banner on the front porch for all the Pirate fans to see. I’ve remained a Phillies fan ever since, even though I moved to Seattle in ’89 and started rooting for my new pitiful AL club. Having been raised an NL snob, I wouldn’t have believed it, but Edgar made me learn to love the DH.

    I must really love baseball a lot to root for two teams like the Phillies and the Mariners. One glorious fall, my NL team won the big one. That gives me some hope in dark summers like ’04 & ’05. Great stories here today.

  20. Panda-Dad on September 8th, 2005 6:11 pm

    My first memory of any type of baseball? I was seven years old playing my first game on a neighborhood little league team in South Philly. I played at second base. On my first chance in the field I managed to let the ball get past me. After the play was dead, my coach came out to second base, took my glove…smacked me in the head with it and called in a replacement. I never played another game of organized baseball.

    My second memory of any type of baseball? Middle of August in South Philly. My dad had a Pontiac Bonneville. It had to be 95degrees and sweat popping humid. Mom was watching her show on TV, so we (my dad, my brother and I) had to listen to the Philly’s on the car radio. Dad was a betting man, and he had a wager on the Phils. My brother was a Philly’s fan, so they were deeply into it. I was a contrarian even then, so I was rooting for the other team. About the 4th or 5th inning, I can remember my elation at the fact that the Philly’s were losing, and my team had just scored a run. I screamed, cheered and gloated. That’s when my dad smacked me in the head, told me to shut up and get out of the car.

    My third significant baseball memory? October 1993, the sixth game of the World Series. Knowing that my Philly’s were going to win…and, watching Mitch Williams give up the long ball in the 9th and my hopes go to hell.

    My best significant baseball memory? 1995. I believe game four of the series between the Yankees and the Mariners. Sitting way, way up at the top of the Kingdome. My neighbor lamenting…fearful that we were going to lose. Edgar coming to the plate, I turn to her and tell her…don’t worry we are going to do this thing. Almost simultaneously, Edgar gives the ball such a ride and the place explodes.

    My worst baseball memory? The recurring feeling I have every October, when it’s all over and I’m waiting for my life to start again next year. It’s the game and no matter how marred its history or some of the individuals that play it, the game is always true.

  21. Jim Thomsen on September 8th, 2005 6:19 pm

    I had no idea USS Mariner has such a strong Pennsylvania constituency. A demographic study of the readership here would be very interesting.

  22. Roger on September 8th, 2005 6:48 pm

    I was never a sports kid. I was the “last picked” guy on any team, and just wasn’t into it.

    My younger brother, though, more than made up for my lack of enthusiasm. We did go see a game in the Kingdome, must have been between 1978 and 1980. My brother was a huge George Brett fan, and for his birthday we went to see the Royals play the M’s.

    I don’t remember much of the game, but either before or after it was played, there was an opportunity to meet a few players, and Brett was one of them. I can remember him kidding around with my brother, who was needless to say thrilled beyond words.

    My own enthusiasm was kindled in ’94. I was attracted to the history of the game having worked on a Baseball publishing project, and then I got caught up in the M’s the magical ’95 season.

    Funnily enough, I haven’t watched a complete game all this year and much of last. Shoddy baseball doesn’t give one a lot of joy, especially when a short while ago we seemed poised to be a perennial contender.

  23. Michael on September 8th, 2005 6:56 pm

    My parents live in Doylestown, PA, and my dad has semi-adopted the Phillies (and the Mess, to a lesser extent), but he remains a Mariner fan at heart and constantly asks me what the buzz is around here about the team.

    I became a fan of the team in ’94 (a year after we moved up here from Angel country). ’95 really solidified my heart with this team and as a baseball fanatic ever after. Even in this blighted season I still watch and listen with frequency because despite their blunders they are my home team and they will someday get better.

  24. kmsandrbs on September 8th, 2005 7:15 pm

    I don’t remember my first baseball game, but likley, like several others, it was those “free games for good grades” tickets (which were always against lousy teams).

    My dad was a sports fan, and so am I, both of us hometown fans, so I was always a Mariners fan, but really in just a casual way.

    I played baseball. Not well mind you … the only “home run” I ever had in Little League was off a walk (hey, at age 10 and in intramural softball, errors don’t count). I still remember trying out for the ‘majors’ but not knowing what a ‘hit and run’ was, and totally pissing off the coach who kept giving me the signal.

    I always enjoyed going to the games (and I, too, tried to land those paper airplanes in the car … but I think only one actually even made it to the field). I figured out I needed glasses when I was at an M’s game and could not clearly read the Kingdome scoreboard. My dad moved to Arizona and one of my highlights was going down in spring training and getting autographs (and baseballs from the Giants practice fileds … one year I think I collected 50 baseballs over the course of one week).

    I was a HUGE Harold Reynolds fan.

    The early ’90s and ’95 cemented my Mariner’s fandom. Months before the playoffs and Refuse to Lose, my dad had bought tickets(Along with my dad, my new wife was with, and this also helped make her a huge M’s fan!) to a Paula Poundstone comedy show. They turned out to be the same night as game 5. ARGH! But everyone was in the bar or the lobby (they had tuned all of the lobby TVs in to the game) hanging on every pitch. The ‘intro’ act went on and hardly anybody went into the theater because the game was on the line, but the M’s had a chance to come back. When Edgar hit the ball, we of course went wild. We all poured into the theater in jubilance, to be greeted by Paula saying “I just don’t get why people are so into sports.”

    I remember walking up to the Kingdome one day and having many people walking away saying the game’s been cancelled. Why? Falling ceiling tiles. WHAT!?!

    I was at the last M’s gmae in the Kingdome (still have the shirt). I watched the implosion from the medical center on the hill.

    But I did not become a baseball fan until Safeco Field. I always enjoyed the game, but it was such a different experience then the Kingdome. Our two older children (6 and 4)have been to several games (our daughters favorite Mariner is Edgar … she loved to do the Edgar chant when we went to M’s games at the Oakland Coliseum).

    2001 was so magical. I remember thinking about the Cleveland game “No one will care unless we miss by one or tie the win record.” Then the postseason. We had long planned (like back in April) a family camping trip that ended up coinciding with the playoffs. I told my wife the only way I would go is if she let me leave the campsite and find a bar to watch the game.

    And just recently I zipped out one night to a local sports bar (which I had never been to before) to watch the Past and Future matchup of the Unit and the King.

  25. Pilots Fan on September 8th, 2005 8:50 pm

    Thanks for the post, Dave.

    My earliest memory: Orioles vs. Pilots, 1969. The Sick’s Stadium speakers announce Paul Blair’s turn at the plate, but my 5-year-old ears hear different. I hear, “Now batting for Baltimore, the centerfielder, Ball Player.” I turn to my dad and say, “Wow, this guy must be good. His parents named him Ball Player?”

    Dad just smiled, and the rest — from the Milwaukee betrayal, to the King County Stadium, to the 1979 All-Star game, to Alvin’s first at-bat, to Griffey’s first, through 1995 and up to today — is history, as they say. History that my Dad and I still share.

  26. Nate on September 8th, 2005 8:58 pm


    Hah! I listened to “Bruce Williams [intolerably long pause]… this is Talknet,” and I’m only two years your senior.

    I have two early baseball memories: Jim Pressley’s walk-off grand slam on Opening Night, April 8th, 1986. It was late, and my dad said it was time to head home if we didn’t score this inning. We saw his homer from the exit.

    The second is also from 1986. The M’s were getting pounded, and going through relievers like it was going out of style. My mom showed me the picture in the paper the next day, with the Bullpen coach sitting all by himself–they had used all relievers. Looking through retrosheet, it appears that it’s July 21st, but I can’t be sure.

    That Brian Holman 8&2/3 innings of perfect baseball was a heart-breaker. We were traveling in Eastern Washington, listening on the radio, and rushed into our hotel room in time to turn on the TV for that fateful at-bat against Ken Phelps.

    And the best memory is being at Game 5 against New York in 1995 with my younger brother (our family only had two tickets to each game, and we drew game 5), seeing Junior come flying around third base, and it being so loud that I couldn’t hear myself screaming. Literally. We left the stadium high-fiving every complete stranger we went by.

  27. Panev on September 8th, 2005 9:40 pm

    You mentioned Dick Williams, so I have to tell my short, funny Dick Williams Mariner Manager story:

    I am at a pre-season sales meeting for the Mariners. Dave Valle was coming up, Scott Bankhead and Mike Kingery were just new to the team. (Mike Kingery was a very nice guy, by the way.) So I am at this meet and greet and no one at the whole event is talking to Dick Williams. I introduce myself and just hang with Dick.

    So along comes Jack Roberts of Jack Roberts Appliance fame. He starts bending Dicks ear with “Do you know me” and Dick said he doesn’t know Jack and really wanted not to talk with Jack. So of course Jack continues to talk.

    Finally Jack goes into a long diatribe on Bobby Thomson’s home run being the greatest play in baseball history. Jack goes on and on. Finally, Dick Williams says – “I played in that game.” Jack quietly strolled away.

  28. Jim Thomsen on September 8th, 2005 9:52 pm

    Great story, Panev. That yanked a big “HA!” out of me, which is probably not the thing to di a newsroom on deadline ….

    In one of his Baseball Abstracts, Bill James tells a great story about Dick Williams, Whitey Herzog and Dick Howser being teammates on the 1960 Kansas City A’s — end-of-the-bench players on a dead-end club who did nothing but talk to each other about “If I was running this club, this is what I would do” ….

  29. Jim Thomsen on September 8th, 2005 9:52 pm

    #77: Looks like for once, Jack Robers WAS undersold. (You remember those TV commercials, right?)

  30. deleted for aesthetic reasons on September 8th, 2005 10:40 pm

    Well my favorite Mariners memory is when when the Yankees came to town and Lou Piniella was playing left field and he was drunker then drunk. He was stumbling around almost falling over himself but he always made the plays when they came to him. It was amazing.

  31. Aboba on September 8th, 2005 10:47 pm

    Mariners fans should count themselves lucky that they have such great baseball memories of their childhood.

    I grew up in the Bronx a few miles from Yankee Stadium, and would go to the games after school. Only one problem — these weren’t the Yankees of Berra, Mantle and Maris — these were the Yankees of Horace Clark, Jerry Kenny, Joe Pepitone, Mike Kekich and Fritz Peterson.

    Even for a kid playing little league, it was apparent that everything about that Yankee organization was terrible. Even Mike Burke’s toupee looked fake. The Yankees were in such ill-repute that you couldn’t even convince other Bronx kids to take the baseball cards of current Yankees in a trade. What self-respecting kid wants a Tom Tresh baseball card?

    There were so many lowlights from that era that its almost impossible to pick one. Was it the “attempted assassination of Joe Pepitone”? (No shorts were fired). Or was it the Kekich/Peterson wife swaping incident?

    By the time Steinbrenner and crew made CBS an offer for the team, interest had sunk so low that he picked up the team for what appears in retrospect to be one of the biggest bargains since the sale of Manhattan. Many of us cheered the move, if only because we would never have to see Mike Burke on TV again, with that horrible toupee.

  32. Roger on September 9th, 2005 1:23 am

    I wanted to add, for no good reason, that I also loved listening to talknet with Bruce Williams back in the mid-eighties. Somehow it made me feel sophisticated and informed, and there was always some poor schmuck calling in who made even your worst problems seem tame.

    Bruce also was unfailing positive with his callers–sternly telling them there were ways out of their predicaments. My favorite piece of his advice always started “What are you doing on weekends? Weeknights?” when people would lament about their lack of money.


  33. Rob S on September 9th, 2005 3:22 pm

    My first baseball memory is from when I was 10 or 11 and I saw Randy Johnson sitting on a stool a few hours before game time. He wasn’t doing anything, so I went down to the lowest part of the section so I could talk to him and I said, “Mr. Johnson, could you please sign my glove?” He replied, “No kid. I’m busy.”