Last night, at Queen Anne Beerhall, the Mariners hosted a charity event for Team Okanogan Animal Rescue, a charity based in Okanogan county just on the other side of the mountains. This is the same organization they got Tucker the team dog from last year. Jill Servais organized the event and Queen Anne Beerhall provided the venue. It was a fun time to hang out but we learned a lot about the Seattle Mariners and their fans last night.
The first thing was that this city is all in on the Mariners. Fans showed up to pack the house in large numbers. Queen Anne Beerhall is not a small space, and it was filled to the brim with Mariners fans. For the first hour or so most were chatting about the 3-2 win against the Angels that had ended just a couple of hours before. There was lots of smiling and laughter and it was clear that Seattle loves the Mariners.
This was made even clearer when the players started to arrive. George Kirby, Ty France, Logan Gilbert, and J.P. Crawford all came out to meet and greet with fans. The hall erupted into loud cheers when the MC announced that they were there. Except for J.P., who did not need the MC to announce him, since he announced himself when he walked through the door by throwing his hands above his head and cheering. The crowd loved it and matched his energy and enthusiasm.
Which, of course, is evidence that the Mariners have made a big mistake by failing to revive the much beloved FanFest. This city loves its M’s and any opportunity to see them as real people who tell jokes and have favorite drinks. The children yearn for the mines, and Seattleites yearn for the Mariners.
The night was overcome by a spirit of generosity from everyone in the building. Before the event ever really got start, manager Scott Servais was out with the crowd, walking amongst the tables and stopping to shake hands and talk with anyone who waved at him. He smiled warmly at everyone who came up to him, whether they wanted a selfie or to just ask a quick question. He treated everyone like an old friend, no matter how starstruck they were.
Later, during the auction, one of the prizes was a round of golf for three with Scott Servais. Understandably, this was a highly contested battle. Bidding started at $500, but auctioneer Rick Rizzs quickly worked up into the thousands. Eventually the price stalled at $5,000 when Scott asked for the microphone and made a slight change. Instead of doing one round of golf for $5,000, he would do two. The runner up had bid $4,700, and Scott announced that he would do a round with both the leader and the runner up for $4,700 each, effectively doubling the amount of money given to Team Okanogan.
And it wasn’t just Scott. Much of the coaching staff was there as well, and the Queen Anne staff brought some of them behind the bar to help pour drinks. Infield coach Perry Hill seemed particularly to have a great time, dressed in his signature bone hat while dispensing drinks with a smile.
This social spirit was not just limited to the staff, either. After their meet and greet, the players hung around to chat with fans. Ty France, accompanied by his new dog, walked around to talk with people still at their tables.
Even the team dog Tucker, to the surprise of Scott, was shockingly generous with his affection. Normally Tucker is pretty stingy in the clubhouse and doesn’t let anyone pet him unless they have treats. But last night he seemed to understand what was going on and, accompanied a team employee, went up to every table to say hi and get pet. And the whole time he had that big open mouth smile that labs have when they’re meeting people.
And, most importantly, the real font of generosity last night was the fans. It was after all a charity event, and the people came out ready to give. I would like to highlight a couple of instances of fan’s generosity.
First, one of the raffle prizes was a Mariners trident (we believe that it is just A trident and not The trident because it was clean and shiny while the actual trident is pretty scratched up), and it was the first one awarded. However, the gentleman who won it, after taking a few pictures, actually gave it back to the organizers to be introduced into the auction prizes in order to raise more money for Team Okanogan.
Second, early on into the night there was a signed Ty France ball up for auction that one fan won for $100 dollars. But when she went up to pay for it, she included an extra $100 for the charity. The fans were there to drink and have out with the Mariners and have a good time, yes, but they were also there to give. And give they did.
This event, organized by Jill Servais, was officially dubbed the First Annual Pints for Paws. “First Annual” always does a lot of heavy lifting when it’s used, but this could genuinely become an annual event. The Mariners seemed to have fun, the fans enjoyed themselves, Queen Anne Beerhall got a ton of business, and, most importantly, the charity raised a lot of money.
After the auction, the MC announced that the total money raised during the live auction was $17,975 for Team Okanogan. The final total, including the money raised from the raffle, the silent auction, and the meet and greet tickets, was over $35,000.