Last year I took Ciárán to his first professional baseball game, the Everett Aquasox. The team is a “Short A” affiliate for the Seattle Mariners, pretty much the lowest rung on the professional ladder. That doesn’t mean it’s not professional as many major leaguers got their start at this level.
This year I won four tickets to an Aquasox game. I wound up splitting the tickets, two tickets for one game and three for another. This meant I would be purchasing one ticket, but that’s fine, and it meant I would get to take Ciárán to the Aquasox just me and him for a game.
The first game was August 3. I took August and Déla, as it was an evening game, and Ciárán wouldn’t be able to handle the late night ending of the game coupled with the drive home afterwards. Everett isn’t that far from Seattle, but it is a fair enough distance that gives one pause when planning event attendance.
August 3 happened to be Tom Wilhelmsen bobble head night. Tom Wilhelmsen, currently a Mariners pitcher used to play with the Everett Aquasox. So did Felix Hernandez, but that’s not the point. The three of us got our Tom Wilhelmsen bobble heads and headed into the stadium. I like Tom Wilhelmsen. He’s a gracious guy, almost always willing to sign stuff and seems genuinely happy and grateful to be playing baseball.
We had some pretty good seats, which is easy to do. The nice thing about minor league baseball is the ticket prices are much more affordable. Sure, you’re not getting the big name stars, but it is still professional baseball. Add to this the chance you’re watching what will be the future stars of the sport.
After the game August and Déla got to run around the bases. It’s hard to see them, so I decided to put a circle around them in the picture.
Afterwards as we were headed off the field one of the employees called down to us from the stands. He asked August to unplug a cord and hand it up to him. The man gave August one of the foul balls from the game in exchange. August would have done the favor anyway, so it’s nice to have a reward. The Minor League Baseball balls are different from the ones used in Major League Baseball games, at least the markings on the ball.
Remember when I posted a couple of weeks ago that August got Tom Wilhelmsen’s autograph? This was the ball August got him to sign. Tom Wilhelmsen signed a ball from the Everett Aquasox game, a team he used to play for that was acquired on the night the team honored him with a bobble head. When August mentioned to him where and when he got the ball, Tom Wilhelmsen said he was very glad to get to sign it. He genuinely seemed touched. Like I said earlier, he’s a nice guy. I just wish I got a picture of Tom doing the actual signing.
The next game was August 26, where it was just Ciárán and me. Turns out it was also the last home game of the regular season for the Aquasox. There was a massive discount taking place in the team store. I was going to get a hat for myself to replace the Mariners hat that went missing, and see what else I could pick up. There wasn’t a hat in my size, but Ciárán found a hat that he liked. I agreed to buy that hat for him, and I would then get his “old” (adjustable) Aquasox hat. There were a few other items we had, and when we went to get rung up, my credit card wouldn’t work.
This wasn’t anything new, as the magnetic strip is shot. It’s just a matter of manually entering in the number. The problem was, however, they couldn’t do it. Or wouldn’t. Whatever. I hate having a bad taste in my mouth (metaphorically speaking) with regards to the Aquasox. I have had great experiences there, but this was wrong. Rather than complain and make a big stink I just walked out. Any store that is unable to manually enter in a credit card number at this point is having bigger problems than a disgruntled customer and his unhappy son.
Our seats were even better than when I came with August and Déla. Ciárán’s attention was held for most of the game – at least as much as possible with a 5 year old. He is still confused about how the whole “minor league to major league” thing works.
After this game Ciárán had the opportunity to run around the bases.
Again, because it was difficult to see I put a circle around him in the crowd.
On the way home he fell asleep, much like he did last year.