Friday, around 3pm, I ducked out of work and walked to the Westlake station, rode the light rail, got out at the Stadium exit, survived that circular ramp, and was faced with my greatest dilemma: which line would I stand in?
Under normal circumstances, bobbleheads are hot ticket items. The first 20,000 gets this little creature that looks nothing like its intended likeness, of a player whose career will take a huge shit next year before he’s traded for peanuts on the dollar! Better get to Safeco early, folks! But, these are obviously not normal circumstances. These are Griffey Days! Three days celebrating the man, the myth, the legend! The single greatest, most talented, most popular Mariner in franchise history! The guy who saved baseball in Seattle! He was just inducted into the baseball hall of fame, and now we’re throwing him a ceremony and retiring his number throughout the organization – only the second such retired number, with the first belonging to Jackie Robinson, who died before the Seattle Mariners were even a thing.
So, yeah, THIS bobblehead: kind of a big deal.
I surveyed the clusterfuck that was Royal Brougham Way, but I couldn’t make heads or tails of where the lines ended. Which one was for the Centerfield Entrance? Which one was for The ‘Pen? Which one went into the Left Field Entrance? I HAVE NO FUCKING IDEA! So, fuck it. Fuck all of those lines, I walked over to Dave Niehaus Way, with the intent of getting into the line for the Home Plate Entrance. However, there were even multiple lines HERE as well! One facing south, one facing north. So, I got in the north-facing line, which ended up filling into the Left Field Entrance anyway. I was standing there for probably an hour – or half of an episode of Never Not Funny – before we started moving. I swear they were letting us in early, because the regular, non-‘Pen entrances weren’t supposed to open until 5:10. Either way, I wasn’t complaining. I entered with my three tickets, picked up three bobbleheads, and walked right back out of that stadium.
My friends – to whom the other two bobbleheads belonged – were running late, so we ended up meeting at Sluggers for pre-game tallboys and mini corn dogs. The Banquet Beer was flowing like wine, let me tell you! Going to Sluggers is something of a tradition for us and Mariners games, but what was absolutely perfect about going there on Griffey Bobblehead Day is that when we finally walked over to get into Safeco, everyone was already inside! So, we actually made it inside, fresh beers in hand, for first pitch. A Griffey Bobblehead Day Miracle!
As for the game itself, that has to be one of the strangest I’ve ever seen in person. King Felix was on the mound, appropriately enough, given the occasion, but he was very un-King like in that first inning. There was a first-pitch double, then a walk, followed by a Mike Trout 3-run home run; or, as it’s commonly known: a fucking dumpster fire. Starts just don’t get much worse than that. And, considering the King hasn’t really been his usual immaculate self this season, you had to wonder if this was the beginning of a VERY short, VERY rocky outing for our ace, against one of the worst teams in the league.
To his credit, he settled down in a big way, shutting down the next 9 batters in a row, and 12 of the next 13 before giving up a solo homer in the top of the fifth. But, by that point, the Mariners had things firmly in hand.
What’s the best response your offense can give you, when your ace gives up three runs in the top of the first inning? How about DOUBLING those runs in the bottom of the inning! It was unreal. Tim Lincecum got the start, and the UW alumnus seemed like just the type of pitcher who would make our offense shit its collective pants. Instead, he let the first four batters of the game single, before getting Seager to fly out. From there, an RBI single and an RBI fly-out tied the game, before Zunino finished the job with a 3-run bomb to left field.
And that was that. It was 6-3 Mariners after one inning, then it was 6-4, then the game ended. To say Felix settled down is really an understatement, because he ended up going 8 innings, while throwing only 100 pitches, before giving way to Edwin Diaz for the three-strikeout save. I may or may not have been awake in my seat in the later innings; it’s tough to say. Are any of us REALLY awake? Is all of this the dream of some autistic kid, and maybe I didn’t pass out at the game? Furthermore, if you pass out at the game, and an usher doesn’t kick you out, were you even passed out at all? Or maybe just resting your eyes?
I DON’T KNOW! These are the kinds of unanswerable questions one asks himself on a hungover Saturday morning while writing a blog post. Two more days to go …