Yesterday I took 3 of my kids to the baseball game. This in itself isn’t a groundbreaking event, as I had done this exact same thing approximately one month ago. Thing was, that time one of the children with me was 19. Yes, technically Kyle isn’t a child, but, also technically, he IS my child. So the big deal yesterday was I was taking August, Déla and Ciárán. By myself. To a Sunday baseball game. To say I was nervous about losing my kids in the crowd would be an understatement.
It was Ciárán’s first Mariner’s game. I had taken him to his first professional baseball game earlier this summer, the minor league Everett Aquasox, and he enjoyed it enough. The thought was between my wife and I was since I was taking August and Déla, Ciárán would not only hate to be left behind, but he’s probably ready for the major league game.
Why were we going? Other than going to the ballpark for a baseball game, it was Kids’ Appreciation Day. A giveaway was happening where posters of the Mariner’s Moose (the mascot for those unfamiliar) were being handed out to young fans as they entered the stadium. I thought that would be a nice premium for my kids, and there were prizes or whatever, but I figured if I’m going to take my kids to the ballpark, this would be as good a day as any.
I found tickets online, cheaper than what they were listed for. I don’t know if I’ll ever need to buy official “day of game” tickets again, but that’s another topic. Since it was on a Sunday, street parking was free. This meant I would definitely need to get there early.
Somehow I managed to find street parking just under a block away from the stadium. Gates were about to open, 2 hours before the first pitch, and we all briskly walked to the gate. We wanted to get to the seats behind the dugout and hopefully get a couple of autographs, as well as have some time to go to the playfield for a little while before the game (they are kids, after all).
So there is August, Déla and myself in our Ichiro designed shirts. Ciárán, unfortunately, without, since this was his first time to a Mariners game. Some employee of either Safeco Field or the Mariners was handing out baseball cards with the Mariners Moose to kids outside. He had a Segway with a kiosk built around it – it was quite a contraption, sort of like a mobile information booth. Anyway, this guy remarks how we all have our Ichiro designed shirts on, showing our support for the team, but the youngest member of our party doesn’t have one and asked why. I remarked that he was unable to attend that game, and as a result, missed out on getting his own shirt. This man then reaches down in his mobile information booth and pulls out a Mariners t-shirt with Felix Hernandez’ name and number on the back, the man who happens to be pitching, and gives it to Ciárán. Let me repeat this. The man gives my young son a Mariners shirt so as to be able to fit in with the rest of his family.
I thanked him, Ciárán thanked him, even August and Déla thanked him. I wish I could have gotten a picture of his expression, because Ciárán’s eyes nearly bulged out of his head. The gates were open by now so we began to shuffle inside, and we saw him again as we were leaving, and I was able to say “Thank you” again to him.
It is these sort of random acts of fan appreciation that is going to make me a true baseball fan. I might actually have to start paying attention to statistics and standings now. Well, next season anyway.
I would like to simply take this opportunity to thank once again the staff of the Mariners and Safeco Field for making yesterday’s game a truly memorable and enjoyable day, even before the game started. Thank you.