I went to the very first Supreme Court the week after Felix’s perfect game. For reasons I don’t remember, I wasn’t able to make it last year, but with this year’s landing last night, I couldn’t resist.
I work in downtown Seattle, near Westlake center (where there happens to be a Mariners team store). I bought my tickets a week in advance and avoided all of those “convenience” charges. Word to the wise. My brother drove up from Tacoma and picked me up from work where we drove to my apartment, dropped off his car, and walked back to the light rail station in Westlake. I had on my Felix Hernandez 2013 All Star jersey and I brought along my hoodie for good measure. Because, while the sun was beating down in the afternoon, it would turn mighty chilly by the end of things.
We hit the line for The ‘Pen right at 4:30. For those of you who don’t know, The ‘Pen opens two & a half hours before first pitch (in this case, it would open at 4:40). Surprisingly, the line wasn’t very long at all. Once it started moving, we were inside in just a couple minutes. We got our t-shirts & K-cards and somehow, miraculously, found a table.
Here’s something I didn’t know until it was too late: they don’t serve $5 beers at just any spot in The ‘Pen. See, the whole draw of The ‘Pen IS the $5 beer (and, I guess, getting into the stadium a half hour before everyone else, so you can watch batting practice and stuff). Normally, when I go to a night game straight from work, my friends and I hit up Sluggers or the Pyramid beer garden or something. But THIS, I gotta tell you, has me re-thinking everything.
The ‘Pen isn’t just $5 beer. You can also get food, as a number of eateries align the rear wall. Being a total n00b to The ‘Pen experience, I just assumed that wherever you went, you could get $5 beer. NOT SO! I went to the pizza place, because it was the first spot after you walk in that you can buy beer, and asked if they had “happy hour beers.” The guy nodded yes, so I had him give me two. Even though the prices were listed above, I just assumed they’d be charging less from the time we got in there, until 6pm (when Happy Hour is over and they start charging full price throughout the stadium). No dice. I got socked in the gut to the tune of $19.
When we were properly quenched, I decided to do a little investigating and was dismayed to find that if I had just walked another 30-or-so feet, I would have been face-to-face with the bar that sells the $5 beer. It’s right in the heart of The ‘Pen, and it’s glorious. If you get there early enough, the lines are nothing. The closer it gets to 6pm, however, the longer you’re waiting. My brother bought a round at around 5:20 and it took him a solid ten minutes before he made it back.
In hindsight, there’s a lot we should have done differently, but I’ll tell you what, locking down that table was a crucial element during our time in The ‘Pen. Other friends showed up and hung out with us leading up to 7pm, then we made our way to the seats (not before running to Blazing Bagels to grab a couple bagel dogs before first pitch).
At Safeco, the Left Field Entrance is sort of the “Main Entrance”. It’s the one that faces CenturyLink, and if you’re like me and you ride the light rail into downtown to get home, it’s the ideal entrance. Well, here’s a tip: Section 143 is RIGHT THERE by the left field entrance. Easy getting out if you’re in a hurry to beat the rush.
Felix was absolutely on FIRE last night! If you ever wondered how Felix would handle pitching in a charged environment like the playoffs, look no further than his Supreme Court games. Like I said before, I’ve been to the two Supreme Courts now; the only other time I’ve been in the regular ol’ King’s Court was the day he struck out 12 Rangers in shutting them out over nine innings (it was far and away one of the very best pitching performances of his career). I dunno, maybe the credit goes to myself; maybe I’m just good luck when it comes to watching Felix pitch live (probably, though, it’s because Felix is the baddest motherfucker on the planet).
Last night, Felix made it through 7 innings and change, giving up 4 hits, 0 walks, and striking out 11. He let two runners get on in the top of the 8th inning, was pulled from the game to a standing ovation, and watched as the bullpen melted down some and let them both score (along with two more of their own). Thankfully, they managed to get out of it still holding a 6-4 lead.
How they got that lead was nothing short of superb. I went to the bathroom in the first inning and came back to a 1-0 lead. I left again to go to the bathroom in the fourth inning and the Mariners tacked on two more. I was starting to feel like That Guy a little bit, but thankfully Mike Zunino uncorked a massive bomb with Ackley on base to make it 5-0 (while I watched and hollered with delight). Brad Miller added another on a solo shot to deep center field in the very same inning, and that was that.
Not gonna lie to you, my brother and I stayed through the Felix standing ovation as he tipped his cap & walked off the field, and then we immediately bolted. Here was our situation: it was the 8th inning, beer sales had ended, and we were left with one tallboy apiece. We COULD have stayed for the entire game, nursed those tallboys, and then fought the horde as we made our way back to the light rail. But, what’s the fun in that?
We came for Felix, we watched Felix, we cheered for Felix, we stood and chanted for every two-strike count (of which, it seems like there was one on every fucking at-bat, because he was that unhittable), and we feel like we got our money’s worth out of the experience.
Plus, we were two drunk yahoos who SERIOUSLY got on every last nerve of the two quiet, elderly people sitting in front of us. They left around the sixth inning or so; I’m shocked they held out that long.
On the way out, we hit the pisser real quick and were out of the gates within minutes. We walked next to CenturyLink and got to the end of the road there by King Street Station. Fortunately, there were cabs aplenty, so instead of walking all the way to the train, I ponied up the 16 bucks to get home quickly.
We missed the entire 8th inning after Felix left. HOWEVER, we were inside my apartment just as the top of the 9th kicked off. Fernando Rodney did his thing, and everyone who was still there got to go home happy. My brother and I stayed up all night drinking and watching the movies Tombstone and Frailty, but that’s a story for another time.
In conclusion, I highly recommend The ‘Pen, as long as they keep that $5 beer promotion going. Multiply that recommendation by a million for the Supreme Court. There was just short of 39,000 people there, and for the life of me, I don’t understand why it wasn’t a sellout. Where WAS everyone? You need to go to these things! $25 tickets for the lower level, are you joking me? Get on it, people, we only get to enjoy Felix for so long!