It was just a couple weeks ago that the Felix Hernandez home starts. All ticket buyers would receive a free yellow King Felix t-shirt, and it seemed like a neat idea, if for no other reason than because it was different, and it encouraged more people to come out to see Felix.introduced the King's Court - a promotion where, for a good price, you could buy a ticket to sit in section 150 by the left field foul pole for
I didn't think much of it at first. I wasn't sure how well it would go over. I wasn't wild about the seat location. I thought I'd let it play out, just so I could see how it worked.
Well, Felix has made two home starts in front of his court, now, and I have to say, it seems like the Mariners' promotions department might've struck gold.
I don't think it's any secret that, for as long as he'd been up, the Mariners had kind of been wasting an opportunity with Felix. People loved Felix, sure, because Felix was electric, but the Mariners didn't do much to bring people out to the park for his starts, nor did they do much to foment an enthusiastic atmosphere. The atmosphere for Felix was basically the atmosphere for everyone else - occasional roars, plenty of polite applause, and uncomfortable silence, with minimal chants.
But what the court has done is provide a draw, and put a lot of those people who want to be loud and enthusiastic together in one place. When those people are scattered about, as they normally are, they err towards keeping quiet. When they're all rubbing shoulders with each other, then there's noise, because there's less reason not to make noise. They're all there to watch a baseball game just like everybody else, but they're there to watch it in a different way, and the court allows them to do so.
They can yell. They can chant. They can stand up. They can do all the things that, in Safeco, it's often so difficult to do. They can create an atmosphere, even if it's not unlike a small student section in a stadium filled with alumni, and it makes the games more fun. Baseball's better when there's some semblance of an environment.
We'll see how well the King's Court holds up over time, as the novelty wears off. But it's worth noting that they've already expanded it to a second section, and that Felix loves the sight and support. He acknowledged the court behind him at least once or twice during yesterday's game, and that kind of interaction should prevent the popularity and enthusiasm from waning too much.
For so long, Mariners home games have drawn criticism for not having any atmosphere. The King's Court only creates a little atmosphere, and it's only present for one-fifth of the games, but it's something. It's a step in the right direction, and I'm glad it exists.