I have lived in Washington for almost 8 years, but I have never really gotten into the Mariners. I've gone to numerous Mariners games because I like baseball, but I don't really get excited at the games the way I do when I go to games of my favorite team. It's not just the Mariners; it's the same when I go to various other major and minor league games.
However, even if I don't get excited at Mariners games, I have started to build a bit of an affinity to them due not in small part to this blog. I wouldn't say that I'm a Mariner fan, but I want to see them win, and I always like to see Felix succeed. So I was not only excited to see Felix get his perfect game, but also thought that the Supreme Court promotion sounded great. I had only seen Felix pitch once before, so I was eager so see him again, and this promotion was a perfect opportunity. I asked a buddy from work, who is a Mariners fan, if he wanted to go, and, of course, he did.
We arrived about 40 minutes before the game, and there was a definite buzz among the fans heading in. As we went through the gate and got our shirts, there were fans pulling on their shirts before they started up the stairs. One guy commented that he had been waiting all day for it. It was very cool walking through the concourse seeing the sea of yellow as we made our way to our seats (one section over from the regular King's Court).
As we got to our seats, Felix was heading out to the bullpen to warm up, and the cheers and chants started right away. There was a feel to the game that was different than any Mariners game I'd been to (and most other games for that matter). I started to join in the excitement, and feel the vibe that was going through the stadium.
I wouldn't say that I was expecting another perfect game or no-hitter, but...okay, maybe I was expecting another perfect game or no-hitter. After Felix got to an 0-2 count on the first hitter and the K chants began, I was totally immersed in the atmosphere of the game. But then, when the grounder got by Smoak, things felt different. Like the stadium got totally deflated. I won't say that there wasn't still great energy and excitement, but it was just another baseball game, albeit one started by a fan-favorite exciting pitcher. At least that's how I felt at first. But then things got going again. The K chants continued (of course). My friend got up to get food while the Mariners were hitting, not when they were in the field. Trayvon Robinson made a great catch, and even though it wasn't a critical game situation, the fans got loud and started chanting his name. Everything mattered, everything was important. It was obvious that fans had wanted a game like this for a long time.
So I got into it. I was cheering as loud as anyone on that Robinson catch, holding my K card and chanting along with everyone else. I had brought my 9-month-old daughter to the game - her first Mariners game, and first major-league game - and she loved holding the K sign. In fact...
I had her hold it and held her up on the 2-strike counts. You'll notice that she is wearing yellow, although not a King Felix shirt. Apparently the 12-month onesie version King of Perfection shirts were at the other entrance.
The fact that it was such a good game was the icing on the cake. Jaso's double was one of the most exciting plays I've seen live, and Montero's absolutely destroyed homer and the ovation for Felix's exit were wonderful finales. I guess the point of this is that the Mariners made me get excited at one of their games, in the middle of August in a season that won't produce a playoff berth (maybe!) when I've never cared too much about them. This isn't going to make me a Mariner fan, not like I am a Rockies fan, but it's fun to go to an event like this and remember what an exciting, tense baseball game can be like.