One of my rules is that when I go on a business trip, I am required to go to a major-league baseball game if the following conditions are true:
- The city I’m visiting has a major-league baseball team
- It is baseball season
- The home team is playing at home when I am there
This is a bit odd because I don’t really follow baseball otherwise. And this rule doesn’t necessarily apply to other sports. Sorry. I can’t do anything about it, or even explain it. It is just a rule.
I’m not really complaining, either. It’s a good rule. I’ve seen the Mets, the A’s, and the Giants (twice) play so far. Even though I don’t follow baseball, it is pretty fun to go to cheer for the home team and watch the local fans get smashed. And watch the baseball game.
Anyway, this week I’ve been in Seattle for Microsoft’s TechReady conference, and all of the conditions were met, which meant I was compelled to go see the Mariners play the Blue Jays on Tuesday. Safeco Field is located in a slummy part of Seattle, but the stadium itself is pretty nice.
I had a great seat.
At the start of the game, they played the US national anthem, presumably to honor all great Americans like Edward Van Halen and Ben Spies. Then they played the Canadian national anthem, again presumably to honor all the great Canadians (i.e. Rush). I found out later it is because the mascot for the other team is a Canadian Blue Jay, not an American one. But it was still confusing why they had their own national anthem. Someone explained it is because they are a different country. What the…! When did Canada secede from the US?
When you go to a baseball game, one of the traditions is to pay atrocious prices for awful food. This is part of the rule. Strictly speaking, you should buy a hot dog, garlic fries, and an “ice cold” (thus falsely advertised) beer, unless you don’t drink alcohol, which I don’t, in which case you get a pass. I must publicly admit I had chicken strips instead of the hot dog. I felt unpatriotic. But I just could not bring myself to eat that thing.
It was a pretty exciting game. Ichiro Suzuki singlehandedly won the game for the Mariners. Here is a picture of Mr. Ichiro just before he hit the winning RBI.
Actually, that is a lie. It is a picture of Mr. Ichiro just before he got a hit a different time. But it is almost true that he won the game mostly by himself. He got on base three times and scored each time, I think, as well as made some great defensive plays. But the best was at the end – both teams went into the 9th tied, but in the bottom of the inning the Mariners managed to load the bases, and when Ichiro got up to bat, he cooly hit a single, driving in the winning run.
Given the excellent food, the excellent atmosphere, and the excellent entertainment both on and off the field, no wonder it is our national pastime.