Sodo Mojo, 2011 Style
Went to my first M's game of the year last night. I actually got to sit in a luxury box behind homeplate (the Hank Greenberg luxury box, “Jews and Baseball” lovers), because my friend Bill won it for the evening.
“How did Bill win this again?” Patricia asked during the third inning.
“Sitting on his ass,” I responded.
I.e., He won it the previous September during Fan Appreciation Night. Sitting in the right seat.
So: Free game. Luxury box. Ivar's fish n' chips und beer. A big kid on the mound, Michael Pineda, with a mid-90s fastball that just pops. He kept the Blue Jays hitless through three, scoreless through seven, and left the game, to applause, with a 3-2 lead and one out in the eighth--a lead that was preserved when 1B Justin Smoak ran into short right field to catch a foul ball, wheeled, and nailed the runner trying to score from third at the plate. Exciting! M's won it, 3-2. Pineda's first MLB victory.
Maybe I'm getting jaded.
Maybe the problem is the luxury suites and its hallways, which are plastered with team photos and headlines from the M's glory days, approximately 1995 to 2003, and so walking them reminds you how good this team used to be and how not-so-good it is now.
Maybe it was the cold weather, about 50 degrees, and the sparse crowd, about 15,500 announced, so I was reminded, several times, of an amusement park during the last days of summer before it shuts for the season. A time when you get hard-core fans, stragglers, and not much else. A time when imperfections hidden by sun and crowds are suddenly apparent.
We won. But this is not a team going anywhere anytime soon. Seattle knows it. That 15,500? That was the big crowd for the Jays series. Monday night we set a record low for Safeco Field with a paid attendance of 13,056. Wednesday afternoon's game? 12,407.
Sodo Mojo, 2011 style.