Last week I took August to the baseball game. I know for some people that’s not as big of a deal, but in my family it is. Part of this has to do with the fact that we emphasize sports in the same way that many families emphasize Dostoyevsky. I’m trying to change my ways, but it is difficult. Another reason why going to a baseball game is a special event for my family is that we simply can’t afford to go anywhere near as often as we would like. Actually, this is only his second ever game. I’ve been to a handful more, but most of those were at the old Kingdome, long before the Mariners moved in to Safeco Field. If I could afford it, I’d love to be able to have a couple of tickets for several games throughout the season, but the economic reality is such that it is a dream that will have to wait.
So I wanted to take August to a baseball game. And I had a couple of requirements. The first was that it would be a “day” game, as most of the games start at 7:05 pm. By the time the game ended and we got home it would be rather late. I’m not opposed to my kid staying up late, but I was hoping to find a day game during the week so that the attendance would be a little less than usual. I know I’m being overly cautious, but I concern myself with managing my kids in a crowd.
I found what was apparently the only day game during the week for the summer, and purchased tickets. Because cost was a concern, I wound up getting tickets for the center field bleachers. Our seats were in the “front row” so we made some signs to display. One was to tape up against the railing, hoping to get caught on camera, and the other we would hold up when the Mariners were up to bat. The likelihood they would actually hit a ball into our section was not only negligible, but I think nearly impossible.
We arrived early to the game, and decided to see if we could get an autograph by the dugout. I had picked up a couple of hardballs at Fred Meyer, but they weren’t the same as used by the players. We waited around, knowing that autographs were at the player’s discretion, as well as there being no batting practice since it was a day game. A few players came out to warm up, including Jason Vargas, and Michael Pineda. Relief pitcher Tom Wilhelmsen was the only one to grant autographs however, approaching fans and sticking around long enough to see everybody who wanted stuff signed got taken care of. He was a real nice guy, and even posed for a picture with August.
A lot of people approach players for autographs and sell the memorabilia, but for us, this was something we would have in our house as a treasure. No, it’s not Franklin Gutierrez or Felix Hernandez, but it’s a real autograph by a real big league player. It is ours, and very much not for sale.
Because the Mariners had concluded a multi-player trade a few days before, the roster was shaken up a bit. This meant Ichiro Suzuki would not be playing in the field. Instead he was going to be the designated hitter. Well, that was disappointing. Still, the lineup was pretty strong, even though a pitcher was making his Mariners debut, and the home team won. There was a bit of drama in the 9th inning when a 6 run lead was nearly blown, but the game was over with a win for the Mariners. We got home in time for dinner, and could reminisce about a great day at the ball park with our souvenir for years to come.