Vacation. What a beautiful word.
And here we are, back in Washington for a night or two. Not for a wedding this time – for a ball game! There are only two places I eat four-napkin hot dogs: the state fair and ball games. I had one tonight – it was actually more like a 5-napkin hot dog, but I only had 4, so I had to make do. Certain occasions call for an all-beef wiener, smothered in relish and sauerkraut, and topped with about 5 pounds of mustard. The trick is to eat it before it completely soaks the first two napkins and drips through the next two and down the front of my shirt. I try to remember to wear yellow when I have one of these. I forgot tonight.
There’s something special about Mariners games for us. The day after we met, nine years ago this very week, we ended up on the same church bus going to a Seattle Mariners game. Not really ‘together,’ but ‘together.’ We sat together on the bus all the way to the game (a four-hour trip one way), at the game, and on the way back (yep, another four hours). The Mariners lost – did we care? Apparently not. I don’t remember the score or the winning team. I do remember that we talked, and laughed, and talked some more, and discovered shared interests and passions. The next week he called me, and we had our first ‘real’ date. The rest, as they say, is . . . .
The game tonight was, for me, a kind of anniversary celebration. We’re coming up on our 9th wedding anniversary, and just passed our 9th anniversary of having met. What more fitting place to celebrate! And what more fitting result than a Mariners win! The score was Mariners 5, Cleveland Indians 3.
The weather was perfect for a game. The sky was blue and clear, a slight breeze kept our faces cooled while the sun warmed our heads and shoulders. The seats were on the shady side of the stadium – section 325, row 9, seats 5 and 6, between home plate and first base. We weren’t in the nosebleed section – that was right above us.
We left for the stadium early and had plenty of time to get lost on the freeway. It wasn’t our fault – honest! We have a directionally-challenged GPS. Totally unaware of the stacked and crisscrossed highways common to that portion of Seattle, she kept instructing us to turn right and ignore the barriers. Granted, the road she was trying to direct us to take was, in fact, directly below us. I’m sure glad hubby realized we were on the top stack of several highways, and that all the off ramps in that section were (very inconveniently!) blocked off due to road construction. AND I’m glad he has a good sense of direction and knew the general location of the stadium. We could see it from our lofty position – the challenge was to figure out how to get down to the road below. “Ya can’t get there from here!”
Finally! Stadium in sight, parking (ouch) secured, tickets in hand – time for the ol’ ball game. Looking out over that open dome to the skyline, I could only bemoan my lack of forethought. As we left the motel room to head to the game, I asked hubby if we should take the camera. Can you BELIEVE I would even consider leaving my camera behind? Now you understand why there are NO PICTURES of the game, or the stadium, or anything else in this part of our journey. I’ll try to remember how the game went and replay the pictures in my head. Please consider the source and be kind if I forget the exact order of events. My head pictures are usually much fuzzier than my digital pictures. True statement.
First batter up on the Cleveland team hit a home run. My first thought was that this was going to be a rerun of our first game – only this time I did care if the Mariners won. The 1st inning ended with the score 1-0, not in my team’s favor. Bottom of the 3rd inning, the Mariners got a home run and an RBI. Now they were ahead 2-1. Whew!! That didn’t last long, though; the Indians got another run. Tied – it was getting interesting. The Indians got another run – it was getting intense! Mariners up to bat, and they get another run. Bottom of the 4th inning – tied again!
Bottom of the 5th, Mariners up to bat. The pitcher hit the batter and walked him. One man on base – then another home run! The Mariners led in the 6th inning 5-3. Along about the 7th (or was it the 8th?) inning, the Indians got a little powwow going down there on the pitcher’s mound, and the crowd sat up and took notice. I thought, “This is it, man. They’re gonna whoop up on those guys.”
Cleveland was up to bat, top of the 9th inning. The batter hit the ball so hard he broke the bat! I’d always wanted to see that happen . . . pretty cool. One man on second base now – the next batter caught the Mariners pitcher at a bad time, apparently, and was walked. WALKED!! So here we have a Cleveland guy on first and one on third, only one out – and the Mariners with a scant two-point lead. Not lookin’ good for the home team! Another crackshot hitter got up to bat – but his ball landed in the outfielder’s glove. Second out. The next batter hit a grounder, the outfielder got it to first base, and the game was over. Yes, there was joy in Seattle tonight.