I don’t even like baseball but tonight’s game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays had a spectacular ending that even got me out of my seat.
TB secured seats for the game courtesy of her group at work — membership has its privileges — since my brother-in-law is here visiting for a few days and he had never been to Safeco Field. The tickets were in the Terrace Club, Section 241, Row 2, Seats 9-12 with free parking (sweet!)
The Devil Rays were the first on the scoreboard with a run in the 3rd inning. It took the Mariners until the 7th to even the score at 1-1. Then came the bottom of the tenth and Seattle’s favorite Japanese import, Ichiro Suzuki, swatted a double down the 3rd base line. Some other Mariner I don’t know did one of those sacrifice bunts to advance Ichiro to 3rd base. The Devil Rays’ manager huddled with his infield around the mound when, I suppose, they concocted the plan to walk the next two batters and load the bases. They carried out the plan successfully. Apparently, intentional walks are about as easy to execute as they are lame.
Of course they were now forced to pitch to the next batter in the lineup or it was game over. That batter happened to be Mariners first baseman Richie Sexson. Honestly, I didn’t know who this guy was and, frankly, still don’t care but his picture graced the front our tickets so I figured he was somewhat important. His batting in the game had been horrendous — as in “Hi, my name is Pop Fly” bad — and I believe his average was .222 when he came to the plate in the 10th.
Richie earned his place on the ticket stubs tonight. He hammered the game’s only home run up centered field which, with those earlier intentional walks and Ichiro on 3rd, also equaled a grand slam.
Game. Over. Mariners. Win.
Safeco Field erupted in a short burst of pandemonium then everyone must have realized this wasn’t the World Series. It sure felt like it for a moment though — I even high-fived my brother-in-law several times as if I had money on the game.
Whatever elation I felt quickly subsided as we crawled along in the massive caravan of cars departing the parking garage. Yeah, I don’t even like baseball.