A couple weeks ago, I was in the middle of graduation stuff and didn't get to watch much of the Mariners. One game in particular against the Padres I almost entirely missed, but I tuned into the blowout just in time to notice a fan sitting along the first base side who, from my pixelated vantage point, looked like a dead ringer for one popular Depression-era celebrity.
I pointed it out on the site, but didn't think anything of it again for a long long time. Graduation kept me away from the final two games of that series, and the Mariners hadn't played a home game since, so I had an awful lot of time to forget all about the lion guy.
Until tonight. The guy was back, and back with a vengeance.
Same guy, same seat, and - most importantly - same sign. The only differences were that tonight he had a headband to hold back that wild yellow mane, and a new wardrobe, switching out the original home Mariners jersey for a Dominican jersey from the WBC to honor the guy who very clearly has to be his favorite player. Subtle changes, certainly not an effort towards disguising himself. The guy is kind of conspicuous.
It'd be one thing if the guy were just there sitting, and that was that, but he wasn't - he was a spectacle, clapping and cheering and opening the sign in the background during nearly every left-handed hitter's at bat, as if he knew exactly when he'd be on camera. He may be Adrian Beltre's biggest fan, but he clearly doesn't save his enthusiasm for four or five at bats a game. If anything, he has a little too much energy, standing up from time to time and bobbing his head back and forth sometimes when he has the sign open and the camera's full attention. Those of us in the game thread quickly came to love him and nickname him 'Courage' due to his resemblance to the cowardly lion. In an instant, he became everyone's favorite guy in the stadium.
And then came the grand finale. As if he hadn't already won us over by looking totally awesome and demonstrating more passion than any other fan in the ballpark (and rooting for Beltre instead of the typical Ichiro? amazing), Courage rose to his feet and gave us a rally dance for the ages.
(Thanks to JI for the better video.)
Courage: my new favorite Mariner fan on the planet. Seriously, if anybody knows this guy, tell him to come by, because I think a lot of us want to give him an Internet handshake.