I don’t know why I haven’t been there yet, but all of that is going to change the next chance I get.
Normally Safeco is this dormant, slumbering monolith where people go to sit quietly, participate in all the jumbotron games, and otherwise relish the “experience” of being at a real live baseball park. Inevitably, that experience entails talking with friends and family, getting up from their seats, and milling about in the concessions area – all while ignoring the game that is actually being played.
Admittedly – while I rarely get up from my seat during the game, nor does my gaze leave the field of play (mostly because I’m regularly keeping score like the nebbish nerd that I am … *pushes glasses back up my nose*) – I’m not the most vocal participant. In fact, I’m probably a more vocal participant when I’m at home in front of my TV, cheering, clapping, occasionally threatening to “do something good here for once in your miserable life Chone Figgins! Or else!” But, I attribute that exclusively to being a product of my environment.
When you’re out in public, sitting around people who don’t appear to be much invested in the game of baseball in spite of the fact that they just spent all this money to supposedly WATCH the game of baseball, it’s hard to be that one guy who’s contstantly grandstanding for the good of the home team. And I don’t mean trying to start the wave (which, seriously, has jumped about 9,000 sharks since its inception). I just mean clapping, hooting, standing up when our pitcher has a 2-strike count. This kind of encouragement almost seems like it’s stifled by the organization.
Let’s face it, with all the wet blankets, and all the ways they have to tattle on you for conduct unbecoming, do you even feel comfortable saying ANYTHING without an usher walking up to you, tapping you on the shoulder, and saying, “Could you please keep it down? There are fans here who are trying to talk about their trip to Bermuda.”
Yes, of course, there are beer vendors walking up and down every aisle, every inning of every game. They want you to BUY that beer – but not so much beer that you become intoxicated and start causing a scene. This is a baseball game, for crying out loud! Let’s use our inside voices, please!
Modern day sporting events – but ESPECIALLY modern day baseball games – are catered towards children and families. You have to think twice before saying “fuck” within a 20-seat radius of anyone under the age of 15, but being a loud, annoying menace is okay if you’re with your parents and they’re buying you cotton candy after cotton candy.
My point being: you can’t be a true fan in this environment! You can’t stand and yell and curse with all these children and elderly soaking all the fun like a dry fucking sponge!
But, now you CAN! Because the Mariners did the smartest thing they’ve done marketing-wise since those Jay Buhner “shave your head & get a free ticket” games. The King’s Court.
It makes so much sense, I’m honestly shocked that anyone thought of this at all, let alone employed it in a Major League stadium. Pick a section (preferably away from the pricier seats behind home plate, where they can enjoy their smart phone games in peace), give away free matching t-shirts, and put the rowdiest Felix Hernandez fans there every time he has a home start. BRILLIANT!
It’s honestly like going to a college basketball game. Everyone else in the arena sits and claps when it’s appropriate … except the student section. The student section stands, jumps, chants, taunts the other team. The student section breathes life into what would otherwise be a mundane experience!
As does the King’s Court. I couldn’t be more elated that this thing is taking off. Likewise, I couldn’t be more proud of the job those Felix Fanatics are doing.
Major League Baseball home games aren’t all that important until the playoffs. No one ever talks about a “home field advantage” in baseball because there really isn’t one (except, I guess, you get to sleep in your own bed). The fans NEVER influence the game while it’s being played. Yeah, they get up and yell in the 9th inning when the closer’s in for a save; but what of those first eight innings? You could hear a pin drop.
And that’s why I’ve gotta go. I gotta be a part of the King’s Court. There’s just no other way around it. I’m tired of sitting among all these non-fans making their annual trip to the park like Christians who go to church only on Christmas. I want to be among the REAL fans.
You knew they were out there, these real fans. You’ve seen Sounders games, Seahawks games, Husky games. Seattle HAS rabid and rowdy fans! You just can’t hear them when they’re spread throughout the entirety of Safeco Field. But, now that they’ve gathered in one place, they’re doing something I thought I’d never see in a MLB stadium: they’re making a difference.