While perusing my Twitter feed on the afternoon of July 15, I discovered it had been exactly 20 years since the first Major League Baseball game in the history of Safeco Field (now called T-Mobile Park) took place.
I’m officially old.
One of my best friends from childhood, Tyree Bell (who is now an Everett police officer), invited me to either the second or third Seattle Mariners game that ever took place at Safeco Field. I don’t remember the score of the game but do remember a sold-out stadium. We were in the second or third row of the center field bleacher seats, which cost an affordable $5 per ticket two decades ago.
Even though I have the fondest of memories for the KingDome, watching the Seattle Mariners play in an outdoor stadium on a warm summer night in July in Seattle was an awe-inspiring experience. Unfortunately the Mariners have only made the playoffs (2001) once since moving into their new digs. The Mariners currently have the longest playoff drought (18 years) in Major League Baseball.
The fact that only five playoff games, which consisted of contests against the Cleveland Indians and New York Yankees during the 2001 season, have taken place inside the friendly confines of one of the most beautiful ballparks in the MLB is a travesty. Despite the lack of success on the scoreboard over the past several seasons, I still am a huge Mariners fan.
Being a Seattle Mariners fan in Western Washington is the equivalent of being a (National Football League) Cleveland Browns fan in Ohio. The playoffs have eluded both teams but the loyalty remains the same despite geographic differences. The past three years (2017, 2018 and 2019) I have attended each Mariners home opener. What I love most about “Opening Day” is the overwhelming sense of optimism. Each squad starts at 0-0 and has hope for a memorable season. Things looked downright legit for the Seattle Mariners in late March/early April. The Mariners started off the season sizzling with a formidable 13-2 overall record.
We all know the Mariners didn’t sustain that success.
Despite the lack of victories, I still plan on attending another 2-3 games this summer/early fall. I’m 37 now and my hope is the Mariners make the playoffs before I turn 40. Seeing the Mariners in the postseason for the first time since I was 19 would be an absolute dream come true.