Safeco field is awesome. I’m sure there are other wonderful ballparks, but this one is cooler than any other I know. It has a retractable roof in case of bad weather, seats 41,755, and has more widely varied concessions (sushi, barbecue, Cajun, and chocolate-dipped strawberries) than any other ballpark I know.
Last night was military appreciation night. Mariners officials brought out representatives from each local branch of service before the game, filling the baseline – then sent the baseball players out to thank them and stand among them for the national anthem. The most affecting group was a local chapter of the Paralyzed American Veterans, pushed onfield in standard and motorized wheelchairs.
Immediately following the vets’ entrance, the announcer offered a moment of silence for the servicemen and women we’ve lost, and an Army musician played taps on trumpet. There weren’t many dry eyes left in the house after that.
Active duty personnel threw out the first pitch(es) – four of them. The balls for the first pitch had each circled the globe in the last six months, visiting bases, carriers, aircraft and detachments overseas, all documented in photos.
Just prior to the start of the game, we had a flyby of Chinook CH47 helicopters – fun, because they can fly low and the sound shakes the stadium!
Oh, there was a baseball game too.
Bryan, Smug Puppies sports correspondent, adds: I wondered why the Mariners weren’t picked to finish first in their division, and now I think I know why. They may be somewhat better, but they still have some of the same consistency problems they had last year. For example, this game was lost because their normally awesome closing pitcher, J. J. Putz, coughed up a home run to lose the team’s hard-fought for lead. Felix Hernandez, while overall pitching well, gave up an unearned run on his own error, but otherwise played the field in his own defense really well. So, even though the starting pitching is better, it seems the bull pen might be worse, and they’ll end up losing when they can’t hold the leads. The game was overall fun, even though cold, and I’ll second everything Jeri said about the military appreciation night, it was very classy and moving.
Jeri again: We’ll probably be back again in late April for Ichiro bobble-head night. We don’t collect ‘em, but I know a couple of nephews that would love to have the toys.
Note: photos (except the aerial view) are from my new Blackberry Curve phone camera – not bad for that type of device.