Live Game Notes
I might not be a unique snowflake, and I might not have seen Ray Allen’s record-setting performance, but I will be able to tell my great-grandnieces that I was part of the smallest crowd in Safeco Field history.
The stadium’s emptiness was obvious before you even entered. Free parking was plentiful. There was no waiting for walk-up tickets. You could hear every word of the TV broadcast while entering, because the crowd noise was Marcel Marceau-esque.
All that would change, of course, as the improbably rally got started. But that was three hours after The Lovely Wife and I strolled out to the right field bleachers. In the meantime, I noticed a few things:
* 17,613 was the announced attendance, the lightest yet, and there’s no way 17,000 people showed up. Wide swaths of seats were uninhabited. I’d put it closer to 12,000 if I had to guess.
* The minimal meat in the seats enabled one to hear virtually everything other fans were saying and doing. This ranged from the sophomoric (a guy who looked like the unholy offspring of John Elway and Secretariat repeatedly informing Kevin Mench that he “sucked” and “is tubby”) to the heartwarming (a group of five young women conspiring to shout “ICHIRO!!!” all at once, and then wave at the right fielder. He shot a glance their way, inspiring many blushes and giggles).
* Why not walk Hank Blalock in the seventh inning? It sets up the double play and prevents your right-handed pitcher from facing a left-handed batter that has hurt you already. Blalock’s ensuing two-run single sent about a third of the Mariner faithful scurrying for the exits, not that there were many to spare.
* Nice to see Roberto Petagine get a meaningful at-bat.
* Adrian Beltre still looked utterly lost for two of his four plate appearances. It was, however, nice to see him finally come up with an extra-base hit, and to be fair, he narrowly missed another when he smoked a loud foul the first time up. Note: Scott Spiezio has one more home run than Beltre does, Bronson Arroyo two more.
* Not that you need me to tell you this, but Kenji Johjima is for real, and is well on his way to becoming a fan favorite. He can’t run, so he will ground into some double plays, but he hits the ball hard an awful lot.
* Jamie Moyer looks like he is throwing wads of tissue paper. Not wet wads of tissue paper: bone-dry wads of tissue paper.
So yes, I passed up a chance to see Felix pitch, instead watching a junkballer more than twice his age — and got to see a win powered by a Carl Everett walk-off home run. I guess Joaquin Andujar was right. The most important word in English is “youneverknow.”