Tuesday September 20, 2016
Stuck Inside Safeco with the Toronto Blue Jays Fans
I had tons of reasons for not going to the Mariners game last night: I hadn't felt well all day, I couldn't get anyone to go with me (although I didn't try hard), and it wasn't exactly “Boys of Summer” weather: low 60s dropping into the 50s. But the team had won 9 of 11, we were 2 games back in the wild card hunt, and Taijuan Walker was pitching. Plus around 4:00 the sun came out. So why not?
Turned out to be one of the worst games I've been to.
It wasn't the M's fault—although, to be honest, they quickly fell behind 3-0 and didn't manage a hit until the 7th inning. No, it was the crowd at Safeco. It was loud, boistrous, involved. The stadium rang with cheers.
For the Toronto Blue Jays. The stands were packed with Canucks down from Vancouver, et al.
Walking to the park, I'd seen a lot of Blue Jays unis but hadn't thought much of it. You always have opposition fans. Besides, I didn't mind the BJs. I'd rooted for them vs. Texas in the ALDS last year, then rooted against them vs. Kansas City in the ALCS, and they were nice enough—Canadian enough, you might say—to grant both my wishes.
But this was awful. They took over our house. They made it their stadium:
- “MVP! MVP” for Josh Donaldson
- “Ho-ZAY oh ZAY-oh ZAY-oh ZAY...” for Jose Bautista
- “Let's go, Blue Jays!” [clap clap clapclapclap]
It felt like a home invasion by a Glee Club.
Before last season, the BJs hadn't been to the postseason since '93, and winning seasons always create new fans. A lot of these were that. They had that kind of enthusiasm and cluelessness.
So I tried to make noise against them. I kept cheering on Taijuan, as I do; I cheered on Robby, and Nellie, and Kyle; but I felt drown out.
Before the game even started I had a confrontation with the row of people behind me. One guy in particular. He yelled something against Robinson Cano and I shot him a look. He immediately backed off, which is funny since I'm about 100 miles from tough, but I think I already looked pissed off. I came to the game pissed off and none of this was helping. And the chants continued.
I tried to ignore it. I tried to just be in my head. Between innings, I got out of the iPhone and tweeted:
These Blue Jays fans have WAAAAYYY too much enthusiasm. It's like a high school pep rally. #GoMariners
But my rage kept building. I shouted at odd times. I flipped off high-fiving Jays fans. You know the scene in “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” where Steve Martin shouts impotently at the sky, “You're messing with the wrong guy!!!”? Like that, but at the ballpark. Finally, to prevent anything worse happening, I left after 5 innings. I left during a no-hitter (broken up by Robinson Cano in the 7th). I felt bad about leaving, about not sticking around for the team, but I was worried I would do real damage. To myself.
Some part of me wonders if the M's had trouble hitting because their stadium was filled with opposition fans, or if that's just water off their backs. Either way, we got our first extra-base hit with two outs in the bottom of the 9th: a 2-run homer by Leonys Martin to make it 3-2. Then Ben Gamel struck out to end it.
It's been a fun year. The M's power the ball, they hit walk-off homeruns, they are strong up in the middle. But that was not a fun game.
ADDENDUM: After 7 scoreless innings on Wednesday afternoon, leaving with a 1-0, Felix shouted at the Blue Jays and/or their fans, “It's my house!” Damn right. Could've used that spirit on Monday.
Next year, we build a wall.