Saturday, August 28, 2004

a different view on Safeco

I had the opportunity to take a 7 and 9 year old to the game last night. The challenging part was that the children knew absolutely nothing about baseball and that their primary apeaking language is French. I armed myself with hot dogs, kettle korn and peanuts knowing I might be in for a challenging evening.

Nothing gets past kids. The first thing the 9 year old noticed was the batter adjusting his crotch. The seven year old quickly pointed out to his sister (as well as everyone with a few rows of us) the dynamics of a cup, what a cup is used for, and why players wear a cup. So much for lesson one.

There are so many intricate nuances of baseball that most of us don't even think twice about, because we have been aware of them since the age of seven. I thought that I had the concept of a strikeout down for the kids, until Guiel swung and missed at strike three and went running down to first base after Olivo dropped the ball. The children were so confused.

After 4 1/2 innings we decided to take a stroll. As I rarely leave the confines of section 138 during a game, I thought it would be an interesting journey for both me and the kids.

Center field is an absolute hang out haven. First we got our reserved times (yes, you actually need reservations) to get the children into the Kid's Zone. We were about 30 minutes away from actually getting into the "Zone", but luckily for us the Mariners thought enough ahead to put a "kids" Mariner's store right next door where we could wait. (Aren't they great people?). As you might guess, the Mariners' Kids store sells nothing but Mariner products geared toward kids. Needless to say the cash registers were clanging away on overdrive here.

I picked up (literally) the Mariner monopoly game and there on the back was a picture of an exciting game of Mariner monopoly in progress. The properties are all named after players on the team...or not on the team. The person playing on the back of the box was the proud owner of Ben Davis, Carlos Guillen, Freddy Garcia, Mike Cameron, and Kaz Suzaki. What are the odds of that? Also, Raul Ibanez fotoballs are 50 % off. Apparently the front office told marketing that Ibanez would be a fan favorite. The fans are apparently getting less gullible by the minute.

Next we toted our bags of fresh Mariner gear down to the bullpen to watch Scott Atchison warm up. The bullpen is still one of my favorite spots and while there I felt kind of guilty that I don't make it down there more often especially to see a premier closer warming up such as Rivera, K-Rod, or Gagne. Fortunately, the Mariners added a nice smoking section behind the bullpen next to the back door, so that while watching your favorite reliever throw smoke you can partake in breathing some second-hand smoke of your own. I'm sure the players appreciate that as well.

After a 15 minute stint of bouncing, sliding, crawling in the Kids Zone, the kids were getting tired and had seen enough of the ol ballyard. On the walk back to the car, the nine year old asked what the difference was between a run and a home run. I realized that we still had a long ways to go.


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