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YO SOY MARINERO. | metsgrrl.com

YO SOY MARINERO.

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We arrived at Safeco Field not long after gates opened, so I could take photos of batting practice. We knew that the gates wouldn’t open in time to see the Mariners at BP, but still, it was going to be BP and one of the things I do is… shoot batting practice.
We walked inside, and made our way to our section and row. I took photos for a few minutes, and then stopped.
“What’s wrong?” TBF asked.
“Well… I usually hustle to get to BP because that’s my chance to get good photos of players up close. But… we’re going to be sitting here. For the game. I don’t need to do this right now.”
With that, we went to find the Moose Den to have our photograph taken with the Mariner Moose, and to find the garlic fries.

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I deliberately left my Joe Mauer shirt (traded for a Johan Santana shirt) at home, since we were guests of Mariners season ticket holders and sitting in the first row. No, seriously people, when I say “we were sitting in the first row” I mean I could have leaned over the wall and touched the warning track. These seats were insane. They were even more insane when you consider that the face value to season ticket holders was $40, but walk up, day of game would have been $60 or $65. There are games at Citi Field where that’s close to what you’d pay in the Promenade Infield. It is otherworldly to watch a game from these seats.

“If Luis Castillo came up, and we were sitting here, he would hear me tell him not to bunt,” was one of TBF’s first thoughts upon arrival.

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Safeco is a gorgeous, gorgeous place to see a game. It’s not #1 on my list, mostly because while it has a beautiful view, you can only see that view from the cheapest upper deck seats. But it has a full 360 degree concourse, wonderful sightlines, and a ton of personality. It was cool when we arrived at the ballpark, so much that I had brought a hoodie; but I didn’t need it once we were inside. The roof was closed when we arrived and the temperature was pleasant; they opened it right before gametime and there was some sun fighting its way through the clouds and at times it was even warm.

I was wearing my CHAVEZ 10 shirt, and was almost disappointed that no one gave me a hard time about it, except the women at the concession stand, who approved once I turned around and showed them the number. No heckling. No “Mets suck”. No “New York sucks”. The park was not anywhere near full, which seems insane on a Saturday afternoon in June. And while Mariners fans have learned to boo, they are still oddly sedate and quiet and wanting a certain artificial order and neatness to everything. The ballpark ground rules focus an awful lot on no obscene gestures, no obscene clothing, no taunting or heckling, “Safeco Field is a family environment.” I hesitate to think what would have happened if TBF had heckled Luis Castillo in the manner to which he is accustomed. These are the people who would not allow the A-ROD SUCKS shirts to enter the ballpark (the offenders were given the option to turn their shirt inside out). No one yelled things at the players except to get their attention – and not like the roll call, just – yelling to get their attention. Ken Griffey Jr. was on first base and one section over, they are clamoring and clamoring for Junior’s attention in a way that seemed more appropriate for, say, BP than the middle of a game. My friend Sarah (co-owner of our seating location) has a pet peeve that Mariners fans won’t make noise unless they are told to do so. The scoreboard used to exhort fans to make noise a lot more than it did today. I wondered if they had just given up.

Of course, none of this stopped a group of fans in the upper deck from trying to start the wave when the game was tied, or when the bases were loaded for the Twins and Justin Morneau was coming to bat. Some things seem to be universal.

This is going to sound insane, but watching the game from that angle is definitely something you need to get used to. When you sit above the field, you can see everything that’s going on in one sweep of your vision. When you’re this close, you have to actively move yourself to switch your field of vision as the innings progress. It was even harder to photograph. I know I would get used to it; I know I would learn; I know none of this would be a problem to acclimate myself to. It just felt like an out-of-body experience – this is not how I am used to watching baseball!

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Today was “Salute to Latin America Beisbol Day”. The Mariners wore uniforms that said “Marineros,” the Mariner Moose didn’t have MOOSE 00 on the back of his jersey, he had ALCE 00 (“alce” of course being “moose” en Espanol) and there was ethnic dancing and a short film about famous Latino baseball players on the scoreboard. Players were announced in English and Spanish, the Twins were listed as “Gemelos,” and Edgar Martinez threw out the first pitch to Ken Griffey Jr. That was very cool. Remember, Safeco Field is at the corner of First Avenue and Edgar Martinez Way, as the announcer continually reminded us.

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We were excited to see Endy Chavez during the pre-game excercises. No one yells at any of the players except Junior or Ichiro, so yelling “ENDY!” and waving and pointing at my blue and orange METS shirt did the trick, we got a smile and a wave. He came over later right near us to sign a photo a fan had taken and we said, “We miss you in New York, Endy” and “Come back to the Mets any time, Endy” and got one of those big Endy smiles in return. We probably should have gotten something signed, but we are just not autograph people. The conversation and the smile are worth more to us than the autograph.

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There will be a full separate Safeco writeup, we’re probably taking the Safeco tour on Monday – I’ve taken it before, but a very long time ago and before I knew anything. In the meantime, enjoy the photos. At least it should distract you from the Debacle in DC. You can view the full set on Flickr.

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