I’m taking over for Throwback Thursday this week, and am jumping back to one of my fondest Mariners memories that I have. I was lucky to have a dad that loved baseball (and realized that I loved baseball), that we would take the two-hour trek to Seattle fairly often to watch games. Back in 1997, we even managed to snag tickets to both of the Mariners playoff games in Seattle that year against the Baltimore Orioles.
I’ve talked about it before, but for anyone who’s in their mid-30s, being a Mariners fan as a kid was actually pretty awesome.
1997 was no different, as the Mariners made the playoffs for the second time in their history
There’s so much about the entire process that I remember. Going to a local Rite-Aid (Walgreens? whatever they were called back then) and standing in a line of people to get raffle tickets. Then, going out to breakfast with my dad while we waited for the actual ticket sales to start. Heading back to said Rite-Aid to get in our spot in line (hence, the ticket) and awaiting our turn.
Then, sitting at the computer while the nice lady working there tried to get the tickets to come up… and having her computer freeze. I had found a penny on the floor earlier that day, and being nine-years-old, still believed that it was actually a lucky penny. I rubbed it on the computer, and low and behold, it worked. My dad and I were the proud owners of two tickets to games 1 and 2 for the Mariners vs Orioles playoff games at the Kingdome.
For those who don’t remember (like nearly everyone who writes here), the Kingdome was intense, dark, and actually kinda creepy. However, it was loud and it could get rocking. Randy Johnson took the mound in game one, and got smoked in the fifth inning. The Mariners would lose 9-3. Game 2 wasn’t any better, as the bullpen would fall apart, and the Mariners would again lose 9-3.
It sucked. Losing always does, whether it’s playing or for the team that you are rooting for. It’s increased when you’re young. Shoot, I see kids on my son’s Kindergarten/1st grade basketball team cry because they’re losing a team relay at practice. It’s the memories that go along with it though.
Sitting in the Kingdome. Watching a team that is slowly and instantly becoming a part of you as a person. Holding out hope, because it’s baseball, that there is always a chance that they will come back. Building a shared love for something with someone in your family, for me, my dad.
Those are the things I remember about it. Probably not where you thought I was going with the article, but if you wanted a game-by-game recap, we can do that another day. Or, you can just go read box scores.
I’ll leave off with a funny note. For some reason as a kid, I didn’t really like Jeff Fassero. He would win game three for the Mariners in Baltimore, and prevent the Mariners from being swept. Game four was supposed to be started by Ken Cloude. He came up late in the year, and had made some awful starts, but some good ones as well, including one against the Orioles.
Nine-year-old me was pretty upset when the Mariners decided to throw the Big Unit on short rest in game 4. Not because I wanted Cloude to pitch, but because I wanted the opportunity to see Randy Johnson pitch, at home, in game 5. Johnson threw well in game four, but the Mariners would lose the game, and the series, both 3-1.