The King’s Court Experience

If I was ever going to get a player’s jersey, it was going to be a player who was still here.  Since I didn’t have the kind of scratch to go plopping down on these kinds of luxuries back when the Mariners were great, I missed my chance to get an Edgar, Bone, Randy, or Griffey jersey.  Ichiro’s always a solid choice, and while I’ll always respect the guy, he’s just not for me.

No, it was pretty much always going to be Felix.  It was going to be a Mariners road grey.  And it was SUPPOSED to be last year, but instead it was last night.  Well, yesterday afternoon, before the game.  It’s one of those $99 jobs, so not like a REAL real jersey, but I still say it looks marvelous.  And it went great with my King’s Court yellow t-shirt.

As soon as the Mariners invented the King’s Court, I was more than intrigued.  As a Husky fan who goes to a lot of football games, does the whole tailgate experience every week, and stands throughout the entire game yelling his head off … adding even a FRACTION of that passion to a Mariners game can only be a positive thing.

You know what annoys me most about going to baseball games?  It’s not the hydros, or the hat game, or EVEN the dancing groundscrew (although, truth be told, they are easily in the Top 2).  It’s other fans who spend all this money – on tickets, on food, on beer, on souvenirs – and then they just sit there and ignore the game.  They talk with their family and friends – and I mean, they bullshit CONSTANTLY – they get up in the middle of innings, they participate in the fucking wave (or, God forbid you’re in one of those sections that tries to START the fucking wave).  In short, people are the fucking worst part about going to any baseball game.

But, NOT when you’re in the King’s Court!  Those are fans!  Those are people who WANT to be there, who WANT to watch what’s going on on the field.  It’s refreshing, and I don’t think I want to experience a Mariners game any other way.

I got to the stadium at around 5pm for the 6:10 first pitch.  It had taken me about 30 minutes to drive three miles through downtown because construction is blocking all my freeway on-ramps (and, because I’m kind of an idiot who will know better next time).  I found an awesome parking spot on the edge where Pioneer Square meets SoDo, I bought my Felix jersey, and I approached the Box Office.  I bought one King’s Court ticket ($38), I bought a bagel dog, and I went into the stadium.

At this point, King’s Court is taking up two sections, numbers 149 & 150.  If you have a ticket to one of these sections, you walk to your sections and you’ll see a couple people and a shit-ton of t-shirts.  One guy marks your ticket, one lady gives you your shirt and K card.  After walking around pre-game, I grabbed a water and found my seat, scorecard in hand.

I thought it might be difficult to keep score in King’s Court, but, well, I guess there ARE things that could be further from the truth, but I didn’t have any trouble.

I was in row 38, so I was WAY in the back of King’s Court.  Essentially, that means I was not getting any camera time, because I was blocked by hundreds of my closest fanatics.  But, for those sitting closer, they got to pander to the dedicated camera man who films King’s Court whenever Felix gets a strikeout.

At the beginning of the game (or just before first pitch) a guy in a chef’s outfit brings out a silver platter with a turkey leg inside and gives it to a guy with a KFC bucket/crown on his head.  I mean, I guess I get it, but where’s the turkey leg for the fucking rest of us???  After getting some shots for the cameraman, your only obligation as a member of King’s Court is to stand when Felix gets two strikes on a batter and repeatedly chant “K” over and over again until either Felix gets the strikeout (and you cheer) or he doesn’t (and you groan, exaggeratedly).  There is probably something they could have chosen for hundreds of white guys all wearing the same ceremonial garb to chant than “K” … “K” … “K” … “K” … but I guess we’re stuck with it for now.

One word of warning:  when King’s Court is all standing and holding up their K cards, you most likely won’t be able to see a damn thing.  You REALLY find yourself struggling to find even the smallest opening where you can catch a brief glimpse of the batter.  Maybe it’s better for those towards the front of the court, but I say if you’re not on the edge or in the front row, you’re going to have some difficulty seeing the action for strike three.  A small price, I say, to be sitting with real fans who actually make noise at appropriate times.

In my book, ALL the fans in the stadium would be cheering whenever one of our pitchers got to a 2-strike count!  But, that’s never going to happen until this team starts winning some serious baseball games.

Like they did last night.  Woo doggies!  Yu Darvish REALLY SUCKS against the Mariners.  It’s mind-blowing!  By all rights, he is the perfect pitcher to throw against this team!  And yet, every time he faces us he throws a total egg in the first inning.  Then, because it’s the Mariners, he gets things under control and manages to eat up a bunch of innings.

Still, yesterday the M’s knocked him around for 7 earned runs in 6.1 innings.  Easily one of our better games in Safeco this season.

Of course, this game was all about Felix, but one thing first:  remember those All-Star Break conversations Wedge and Jackie Z were having?  If they didn’t talk extensively about John Jaso getting more playing time, they should both be fired on the spot.  If this guy isn’t our starting catcher going forward, and continuing through next season, then I fucking want heads to roll!

Anyway, Felix, what can you say?  Almost every time he had someone with two strikes, he delivered with the strikeout.  Josh Hamilton looked particularly inept and was getting the business from King’s Court when he came onto the field.  He seemed to be a good sport about it, mime-ing a golden sombrero after his third K.  Nelson Cruz – easily my least-favorite Ranger of the last decade – also flailed at nasty shit in the dirt for his three strikeouts.

I never really thought Felix could no-hit this Rangers team, but I’ll tell you this, I never would have believed Yorvit Torrealba would’ve been the first to get a hit, in the third inning.  This team has too many good hitters to be stopped, but Felix was masterful in giving up only three singles and zero walks.  The first single was sopped up with a double play.  The second single was stranded in the fifth inning in between strikeouts.  The third single got as far as third base thanks to a fielder’s choice and a wild pitch, but he too was stranded.  That was the closest any Ranger came to scoring last night.  And even then, the shutout wasn’t in any doubt.

12 strikeouts, only 3 batters reached base.  Only 29 batters faced.  And, apparently he only threw 107 pitches in the game!

My favorite part was the cherry on top when I got home.  This was on ESPN’s front page:

Yu Sucks!

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