T-MOBILE PARK — Hey everyone, it’s your pal Matthew. Tonight was hilarious.
I had not willingly given the Seattle Mariners money in quite some time, but on Tuesday night, the weather was nice, it was one of the team’s BECU value games, and Fernando Tatís Jr. was 20 minutes away from where I live. When a confluence of circumstances like this presents itself, you have to pounce. While it’s not what most people would call “smart” or “healthy” to spend an entire night drinking overpriced beer and shouting into the vast expanse of a T-Mobile Tuesday, I figured that was a better alternative to doing it from my couch, or at the local bar, or quite literally anywhere else in one of America’s most vibrant cities.
As it was, I shuffled to a light rail station after work and headed south, hoping something, anything, would validate this objectively horrendous decision. When you think about the infinite sprawl of human life, and all of the plausible ways to spend a free evening in your twenties, the totality of it all can overwhelm the senses. At the time of this writing, I quite literally have dozens of books I’ve been meaning to read, restaurants I want to sample, and friends who I’ve now seen less often in the last month than Austin Nola. When the night started with a well-intentioned waitress forgetting a friend’s food order, causing our group to miss the first two innings, queasiness set in. Should I have just stayed home today?
Within moments of entering the stadium gates, I was awash with reminders that this stupid Sodo office that houses a mostly inept company is probably my favorite place in the world. These reminders were reinforced by some A1 commentary from our fellow cheap seat dwellers.
“Why do the Mariners suck so bad?”
“This is disgusting.”
“Who is Smith? Where do you see a Smith?”
And, in the best instance of tonight’s actors going off script, Dinelson Lamet carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning. The realization that this might actually, maybe, could happen sent the best looking bloggers you’ve ever met into a wild scramble. “Are we really about to recap a Dinelson Lamet no-hitter from the 300 level of the stadium?”
No. Omar Narváez spoiled the fun we had all begun rooting for, and just like that, I kinda wished I had stayed home again.
With no context, below are my 10 least favorite things at the ballpark tonight:
10. Taking photos of strangers (and, more importantly, seeing them look at the photos as you walk away knowing that they’re judging your worth as a person)
9. Predictability of the hydroplane race. It’s always the boat that’s in last place during the final turn! Every time! Well, at least 50% of the time!
8. Drunk people
7. The ushers keeping people out of the 100 section when it’s 5–0 in the 8th inning. I mean, come on!
6. Dylan Moore, hitter. Four strikeouts do not a good night make, especially when three of them are looking.
5. Having to take your hat off when going through security to prove that…you don’t have illegal food hiding under your hat? Seriously, I’m at a loss here.
4. The Wave
3. Dylan Moore, occasional left fielder. (Ian Miller would’ve caught that fly ball-turned-double in the 8th.)
2. People going crazy over every fly ball — including Austin Nola’s pop-up to the shortstop in the 7th inning.
1. The constant “OVERRATED” chants directed at Manny Machado all night. He’s not overrated. Just stop.
And my 10 favorite things at the ballpark tonight:
10. $5 cans of Busch Light. (And, more pertinently, $3.50 happy hour pints at a nearby bar.)
9. Mallex Smith getting a hit on a ball that traveled approximately three feet
8. Drunk people
7. Eric Hosmer hitting a 114mph dinger at a 16 degree (!) launch angle. That ball got out in a HURRY.
6. A couple in the section next to us with a pair of massive, glimmering gold blankets
5. Fernando Tatis Jr. That’s it. Send tweet.
4. Dippin Dots, especially the birthday cake flavor.
3. The view from the 300-level concourse on the third base side, from the waterfront to the skyline. This is why we love you, Seattle.
2. TIM LOPES FIRST CAREER HIT FIRST CAREER HOMER
- TIM LOPES CURTAIN CALL
That Mr. Timothy Lopes’ first career Major League Baseball hit would be a home run was not something that even Mr. Lopes’ mother would have predicted. And yet, that the sparse, previously dead-eyed audience at T-Mobile Park would be energized enough to give its first standing ovation of in weeks seemed more unlikely still. With each person equally starved of stimulation (excepting, of course, the stimulation forced upon them by the The Cha-Cha Slide), no one blinked an eye at the crack of the ball contacting Mr. Lopes’ bat. As the ball gained altitude, still the crowd held its breath. Even the occupant of third base, the famously enthusiastic Mr. Domingo Santana, dared not advance, holding steady at third. After a few seconds, as the helpless outfielders retreated to the wall, the dead eyes of the crowd came to life. Everyone cheered, but not too much. Tim Lopes?
Yes, Tim Lopes. Fireworks erupted behind the T-Mobile Park fixture in left field, and the cheer felt almost obligatory for a team that had just cut their deficit to 8-4. As Lopes touched home, the screen in center field cut to the Mariners’ dugout, now empty. At the climax of one of the biggest moments of his life, Lopes arrived at a dugout that held nobody with whom to celebrate. After a few moments, of course, the Mariners poured out of the clubhouse and back into the dugout, mobbing Lopes as words flashed on screen: TIM LOPES: FIRST CAREER MAJOR LEAGUE HIT. With the crowd now realizing the magnitude of the moment, the cheers swelled into a crescendo. Around the stadium, people screamed. It is a good bet that many of them had not heard of Lopes, but we live in a world with little for which to cheer. We root for a team that gives us little for which to cheer. With an opportunity to cheer for Tim Lopes, the crowd cheered louder than it had in days.
Lopes was seemingly too excited to stay in his skin as he tried to hug every teammate at once. With the noise washing over him and the love of the crowd enveloping a man that finally gave them something to love, Tim Lopes popped his head out of the dugout and waved his hat. He finally made it, he finally did it, and everyone loved him for it.
Even in a season as despondent and hopeless as this, a few fans on a Tuesday night showed how ready they are for something to love.