Short and sweet, here we go.
That title is a little misleading, because it leads the reader to believe that’s my personal opinion on the matter. In fact, if it were up to me, I’d leave them exactly the way they are. I think one of the best things baseball has to offer is the fact that teams can have different-looking stadia, with different dimensions giving each home a different element. Pitchers parks, hitters parks, adjusting your style to fit your location … I’m all for it!
I think Safeco is perfect the way it is. I like watching low-scoring games. I like pitchers duels. I don’t need a bunch of home runs to make me happy at a baseball game. I just need a scorecard and a Felix Hernandez on the hill.
But, last I checked, I wasn’t Most People. Most People LIKE home runs! They LIKE high-scoring contests! Hell, they like going into a game and not having to worry if their team is going to be no-hit again!
For me, there’s nothing better than a tense, dramatic 1-0 game. For Most People, they need to see batters running the bases. Like, you know how most Americans “don’t get” soccer because there’s no scoring? And then you’ve got those futbol snobs who look down on Americans who “don’t get” soccer? I’m, I guess, some kind of baseball snob. I’m able to derive enjoyment from a 1-0 game like a soccer fan is able to derive enjoyment from a 0-0 match.
Of course, at last count, I’ve been to exactly two home games this season. So, I don’t really count, now do I?
The fans that go to these games have dwindled in size over the last four to five seasons because the Mariners have been losing so many games. But, in spite of all the losses (with seemingly no hope in sight for a contender any time soon), the Mariners have still been able to draw surprisingly well. I mean, on a random Monday or Tuesday night in June, when the Mariners are in last place in the AL West and near the bottom in all of baseball, they still manage to draw upwards of 17,000 people … that’s AMAZING to me! By all rights, this team should be drawing no more than 5,000 fans per game for what they’ve been forced to sit and watch! And I don’t mean just this year; I mean every year between now and 2008 (with the surprising exception of 2009 when the Mariners somehow contended through July).
But, I have to think that this hardcore group is going to start losing numbers in huge chunks if the Mariners don’t figure out a way to score more than zero runs. Even if it means allowing other teams to come in here and score more than two runs.
There were some dog days in the 80s where the Kingdome drew dick. I have to believe those days will be returning here to Safeco, if the Mariners don’t figure out a way to be more exciting to the vast majority of fairweather fans. Those families who come out to one or two games a year, who are just looking for something fun and memorable for their children. I guarantee you, no kids who have been to some of these dogs the Mariners have put out this season are creating any lasting memories other than utter boredom.
Hey Seattle Mariners, do you want to create a generation of baseball haters? Keep doing what you’re doing! By the time all these elderly folks die out, you’ll have nothing coming up the pike to replace them!
So, no, I don’t want Safeco Field to change its dimensions. But, the Seattle Mariners have absolutely no choice. The fans WILL stop showing up, that’s just a fact. You know the motto, “Chicks Dig The Long Ball”. Why do you think the Sammy Sosa/Mark McGwire home run chases did so much to breathe life back into MLB after the catastrophe of the 1994 strike and cancelled World Series? Because scoring runs excites the rabble!
1-0 games just put the rabble to sleep. I’m sorry to say it, but Safeco is going to have to change, otherwise the Mariners might as well give up right now and try to make it as a crosstown soccer rival to the Sounders. They couldn’t be any worse at scoring soccer goals than they are scoring baseball runs!