I have to be honest.
Really, I have to be. I couldn't sit here and give this recap with a straight face if I wasn't. I didn't see tonight's game. Tonight the USA men's soccer team played Panama in a World Cup Qualifier, and it was at Century Link. I went with some friends, and we saw a fantastic game. One of the things I thought about after tonight was how you can't fully commit to something until you've seen it in person, and how after that you're all in.
The first Mariners game I saw was back in the Kingdome, probably about 1989. I had glasses, and so did Greg Briley. I loved him irrationally for this, and went I went to see him and the Mariners play, all I wanted was for Greg Briley to get a hit. When he did, I went nuts, and a Mariners (and Briley) fan was born for life. It's that one day that you spend seeing something that you love in person where everything fully clicks. You're born in. I was born into the Mariners when I was 6 years old. When were you?
Tonight I was born into USA soccer, despite rooting for them for as long for as long as I knew what international soccer was. It'll be different after today, after sharing the sheer jubilation of goals with random strangers, or celebrating wildly with friends. I saw the team I've rooted for in person today, and that changes everything.
Maybe you haven't seen the Mariners in person. Perhaps you live overseas, or you just haven't made it out to the stadium in one way or another. The next time you get a chance to do it, don't miss it. Seeing something you love play out on the field, even if it's terrible, is on another level. You'll never forget it, and it's an attachment that you'll hold for life. Tonight I discovered my attachment with USA soccer and a national pride I didn't know I had. When did you first discover your Mariners pride? Was it a game with your father? Your friends? Your first trip to the Seattle area after admiring Griffey throughout your youth? Whatever it was, take tonight to reminisce about that first moment you truly fell in love with a team you witnessed for the first time. Being a fan is more than just hoping a team wins, it's being a part of something. You're never truly be a part of something until you have hugged a random stranger in a moment of sheer jubilation, putting all pretenses aside.
- Aaron Harang has now been excellent in three of his last four starts and was ridiculous tonight. Regression was coming in a good way, and I'm glad the team wasn't as reactionary to his early season struggles as they have been in another move today. He continues to strike out people at a much higher rate than earlier seasons, although the Astros* disclaimer remains. He belongs in this rotation, at least for now.
- Tomorrow will likely be Mike Zunino's major league debut. Despite all of the criticism that I laid at the feet of this front office this morning, I am still excited to watch a top prospect get his cracks. Even though I believe that this is a rushed mistake and that he's likely to strugglge, I can't wait to see if he can prove me wrong.
- It really goes without saying, but Kyle Seager continues to impress. If there's a player the Mariners need to sign to a pre-arbitration long term deal, it's him. It might be time to start exploring a deal with him that would run through 2019 or so, buying out at least one of his free agent years. On a Mariners team that is constantly in flux, he has proven to be a cornerstone. See if you can lock him up.
- Mike Morse saw a grand total of 9 pitches tonight. He's averaging 3.77 pitches per PA, which is more than Kendrys Morales. Mike Morse hasn't been very good this year, and Kendrys Morales has been quite good. Baseball's weird, man.
- What should the Mariners do with Michael Saunders? He's a trainwreck right now, but the team is lacking in CF depth and free spots on the 40 man roster. Should they keep running him out there or look for another solution?
- When you go to Safeco Field, where do you eat? I'm partial to the tortas, which are down in The Pen just right of Edgar's Cantina. The crepes are delicious as well.
- What was your first experience seeing the Mariners in person? How vivid is that memory, and did it change your fandom forever?