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This one goes out to the fan in Section 181… May 29, 2008

Posted by Brad in commentary, photos, video.
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I went to Monday night’s game for two reasons.  First, the Red Sox were in town.  Second, Yuniesky Betancourt was in town.  Yes, the Red Sox came before Yuni.  Not because I like the Red Sox, though in a youthful indiscretion I did watch Game 1 of the 2004 World Series in a Red Sox bar, with a Red Sox girlfriend.  Also, I don’t hate the Red Sox, their bars, or their lady fans.  I just feel that it’s extremely important to root against them and protect your home field.

Red Sox games in Seattle today are what Yankees games were a few years ago (and maybe still are; I’m bored of the Yankees’ bile) and a small dose of what Blue Jays games were in the Kingdome.  Home field advantage, with crowd noise being a chief metric, is up for grabs. Because they have a tiny old (beautiful) stadium, have been successful the past few years, and have a modest diaspora (if American cities can claim diasporas), Red Sox Nation travels well and has good turnout in Seattle and everywhere else.  Example A is Juliette from Lost.  I’m a fan of that kind of fan behavior, as long as it isn’t too fair weather.  The sellouts help the Mariners’ bottom line; this team won’t sell out many non-bobblehead games the rest of this season.  And all those red and pink hats radicalize Mariners fans to actually make some noise and occasionally get out of their seat when something good or exciting happens.

I wasn’t quite up to the challenge of the 20,000+ Sox fans that infiltrated Safeco.  I’ve had a sore throat for a few days, so I was mostly limited to cheering for plays like the one Yuni made on the second pitch of the game.

I was out of my seat.  This highlight, though, is dedicated to the guy in the front row of Section 181, which is where I also sat.  With just a glance him, you’d have trouble figuring out his loyalties.  He wore a brown-on-brown argyle New York Yankees hat that’s another example of New Era’s ability to print money with any lame pattern as long a a team logo’s on it somewhere.  He also had tattoos on each elbow–the right for the Yankees, the left for the Mets.  Not off to a good start.  His jersey, though, was an orange Ichiro jersey from last year’s All-Star game in San Francisco.  The Golden Gate Bridge stood in for the “I” in “American” on the front of the jersey.

While he lacked fashion sense and integrity (three teams?), he did cause a ruckus on behalf of the Mariners.  The bottom level third base seats had a virulent strain of Red Sox Nation–they cheered Jason Varitek as he trotted out for Bartolo Colon’s pre-game warm ups.  All we $14 seat fans had in our arsenal was the guy in the front row.  He argued with the Sox fans in our section (which was probably 60-40 for the M’s) and single-handedly tried to turn every “Let’s Go Red Sox” fan into a “Let’s Go Mar-i-ners” one.

Actually, he did that double-handedly, because he pounded on the KOMO sign right in front of our seats.  That proved to be his downfall.  As the M’s mounted their comeback (aided by Yuni’s single!) in the bottom of the ninth, the Safeco Field ushers told Yankee hat that he had to leave.  A county sheriff was brought in, yet rows of fans around him chanted “Let. Him. Stay.”  When he asked the sheriff why he had to leave, he heard back “Because I said so.”  Way to go, police!  As he was escorted out onto the narrow concourse, he shouted out his last words: “tell all your friends.”

Now, my friends, you all know.

An honorable mention in fandom goes to this guy

That’s a niiiiiice jersey.  He also brought about eight poster board that spelled out RAUUUUUL that he passed out to fans in the section.  If he’d made more noise or been thrown out of the game, this post would be solely about him.

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