Even amongst all of those bad years, there were a few things the Seattle Mariners franchise was doing right, and one of those was fully embracing the rich musical history of the area and giving those excited baseball fans suffering through most likely a bone-chilling cold and wet April afternoon the perk of seeing a free concert before hand.
Granted, the sound is never the best, but it is the thought that counts. Unlike the Seattle Seahawks (Soundgarden - makes sense, Pharrell does not) and MLS (sorry, Third Eye Blind in 2009 doesn't count as an actual draw), the Mariners have kept their musical picks relevant and thoughtful.
In 2010, the Mariners trotted out Death Cab For Cutie to sing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" and "Centerfield" like it was no big deal. In 2011, before he was on the radio every third minute, the Mariners trotted out Macklemore in a poignant ode to Dave Niehaus.
In 2013, the Mariners showcased the depth and quality of the local music scene by grabbing a band most would only hear if they listen to KEXP. Pickwick played a three-song set right before heading off to open for Neko Case on tour.
As a personal aside, I am a huge fan of music. I like it better than I like the Mariners actually. But the idea of merging those two loves is something I can get behind. Opening Day is supposed to be a spectacle, and this year will be no different. The Mariners are going to take the field for the first time in a long while where the sold out crowd of Safeco Field will actually honestly (and hopefully) believe that the Seattle Mariners are going some place not involving a septic tank.
I asked Kevin Martinez, VP of Marketing, a hard hitting question and I got the response I expected.
@wernies It varies.
— Kevin Martinez (@Kevin_Martinez) January 12, 2015
Obviously, the Mariners could be working behind the scenes on something. But they also haven't had a band play every year. As a total music nerd, I am here to help the franchise try and find a relevant act to play on opening day.
Reasons why they should: NPR recently called Chastity Belt one of the bands you will tell your friends about in 2015. The indie-rock group has a delightful devotion to some pop-punk overtones. They have a riot grrl thought process without the aggression, which works perfectly when trying to find something family friendly for the always family friendly minded Seattle Mariners. Chastity Belt has an album coming out on Hardly Art (sister label to Sub Pop) and is relevant in Seattle music scene in 2015.
Reasons why they won't: That cheeky rebellious act also means Chasity Belt probably won't play Safeco Field unless they clean up their act. Song titles from their debut release include cuts like "Nip Slip", "Giant Vagina" and other decidedly un-Mariner like titles.
Reasons why they should: Sleater-Kinney is one of many key bands from the 1990s and unlike Soundgarden, they are one of the key bands from the 1990s where people are excited about the reunion. The trio just released "No Cities to Love" after a decade long hiatus and it is already garnering rave reviews. Sleater-Kinney's influence on the national music scene in the late 90s cannot be understated. While the city was trying to figure out where to go past the grunge movement, Corin Tucker, Carrie Brownstein and Janet Weiss were keeping the national credibility of the area going.
Reasons why they won't: Proper way to capitalize on reuniting. Step one: release new album everyone loves. Step two: tour the living hell out of it. Sleater-Kinney doesn't have a conflict yet, but they also have tour dates sitting around late March and mid April. Otherwise, it is hard to think of why this band, with a huge and wide appeal, shouldn't be considered.
Reasons why they should: Remember that time when you used to like the Black Keys? Back in the late 2000s? Back when they were a two-piece? That is the Lonesome Shack right now. They have that gritty, blues-rock sound that has a wide appeal for both the youngsters in the center field beer garden as well as the die-hard old Mariners fans lining the first and third base lines.
Reasons why they won't: Lonesome Shack is still a pretty small draw in the city. The band currently doesn't have too many headlining gigs and is often seen quite early in the bill. It would be a big promotional boost for the Mariners to showcase the band's jams, but it would also be a big risk for the Mariners to open the doors so early and perhaps not draw much of a crowd.
Reasons why they should: Let me be transparent. I just heard this band for the first time a couple of weeks ago and I wanted to figure out how I could force them into a post. The 80s style metal shredders don't have a lot of music yet, but what they have is a head-banging, good 'ol fashion kick in the crotch. The outfit is headed by Jon Weisnewski, of Akimbo and Sandrider fame. Weisnewski has dutifully carried the torch of noise in Seattle for the past decade, and it is time he is recognized for it. He already landed on a Monday Night Football broadcast. Also, the Mariners need to demonstrate that in 2015 they will take no prisoners. What better way to do that then have a man wearing battle armor and using a skeleton microphone to announce that position?
Reasons why they won't: Again, the family friendly confines of Safeco Field might not be the place to unleash the power of heavy metal to 40,000-plus unsuspecting ears. DemonHammeR also is new, perhaps a bit too new. Without a single album to their belt, and the fact they aren't even headlining local shows, the lack of draw might be too much to get over.
Those are my picks, and I'm sure I missed plenty of realistic options. Let me know in the comments and slam my musical taste/ignorance.