7 Years-Old – Sitting with my cousin and uncle in the Kingdome 300 level watching the Mariners play the Tigers with my way to big promotional Mariners mesh trident ball cap flopping around on my tiny head.
11 Years-Old – Stapling Mariners articles I’ve cut out of the Spokesman Review on the wall of my bedroom in my Dad’s ancient farm house every day all summer long.
12 Years-Old – Sitting on the Kingdome 100 level down the third base line watching a kid only seven years older than me hit a double off the Left field wall.
14 Years-Old – Listening to Dave Niehaus describe the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th, 8th and 9th innings of every game on my clock radio while I lie on my bed and think that if I shake my Nickelodeon egg of slime that I had dyed blue just right I could affect the outcome of the game.
15 Years-Old – Mowing the lawn with my walkman turned up full blast so I can listen to the Mariners game as they play a 4:30 PDT road game on the east coast.
16 Years-Old – Listening to Dave Neihaus on that same walkman as I watch Jose Canseco strike out against some random Mariners pitcher as I watch the game from the Kingdome’s outfield seats.
17 Years-Old – Driving my beat up Pinto from my Dad’s house in North-Eastern Washington to my Mom’s house in the Tri-Cities as I flip from AM station to AM station trying to find Dave’s voice as the different radio signals fade in and out.
18 Years-Old – Buying my official Mariners wind breaker for 35 bucks because Major league Baseball is on strike with no end in sight.
19 Years-Old – Driving 65 miles an hour down city streets racing home as I listen to Dave describe Randy Johnson giving up the go-ahead run in Game Five in ’95 against the Yankees only to make it home just in time to watch Jack McDowell lose the game on a Double by Edgar as yell and scream like I’m seven years-old.
20 Years-Old – Annoyed that Alex Rodriguez didn’t win the MVP.
21 Years-Old – Doubly annoyed that the Mariners lost in the playoffs to the hated Orioles.
22 Years-Old – Furious that the Mariners traded Randy Johnson instead of signing him to an extension.
23 Years-Old – Now living in Oklahoma slightly annoyed but barely paying attention when Junior gets traded to the Reds.
24 Years-Old – Sitting in the BWI airport as I get ready to deploy to the Middle East for the second time only slightly paying attention as the Yankees beat the Mariners in game 6 on TV next to the gate departure times screen.
Later during that deployment – Furious that Alex Rodriguez signed with Texas for $252 Million and having to listen to my boss and Rangers fan rub it in everyday.
25 Years-Old – Listening to Dave Niehaus on the KIRO feed on MLB audio describe every stretch and tick and swing and throw that a 27 year-old Japanese rookie who is tearing up the majors makes… or trying to as every time the phone rings my dial-up modem drops the connection.
Later that year – sitting in a parking lot at work listening to the sports talk radio hosts describe the carnage of 4 planes crashing across the east coast knowing my world has forever changed and wondering what It will mean for me as I know I’ll be someplace hot and sandy because of it… but also wondering what this means for the Mariners who are on a record breaking pace for Wins.
One month Later – Watching the Mariners play a game in city that just had over five thousand people die because of the acts of terrorists and having to listen to network announcers say over and over again that it really puts things in perspective and wishing that I could listen to Dave instead of these jack-offs because at least then it’s a friendly voice describing the events taking place.
31 Years-Old – sitting in my apartment in South Korea with my infant daughter on my lap as I read USSMariner and Fangraphs and Lookout Landing for the first time realizing that the world has changed on me yet again this time due to the presence of a 6 and half pound miracle.
32 years-Old – Taking my daughter to her first and my first ever Mariners game at Safeco Field as I watch the Mariners win the last game of the season in which 61 wins is only good enough for second place.
34 Years-Old – Eagerly awaiting March 31st because it’s a new year and maybe this time the Mariners can do it. We’ve got Felix gunning for another Cy Young and Guti and Chone and MB have got to bounce back and you can’t ever count out Ichiro because 37 isn’t really that old and my second daughter is due on March 31st too and this year could be the best year ever.
Clichéd but true… Hope Springs Eternal.