My sister in law, Christy, and I have been planning our trip to Seattle since my birthday in February. It was our time to get away from kids and husbands and catch the two Sox games against the Mariners at Safeco Field. She is a born and raised MG??s fan, but was excited to learn more about G??myG?? team. We got to Seattle Sunday afternoon and checked in to hotel situated on Lake Union. We had a great room that gave us a view of the space needle, downtown and Lake Union.

Seattle is a great place to visit. There is lots of family fun stuff to do, and plenty more to do without kids in tow. Puget Sound, Pike Street Market and Pioneer Square are all interesting places, and with a cheap public trans system, itG??s easy to see and do quite a bit in one day. IG??ve been there enough times to know my way around, but we had a tough time finding a place to eat on Sunday night. There were some places she wouldnG??t even get out of her s.u.v. because she thought we might get mugged. Finally, I remember a brew pub near a neighborhood called Queen Anne, just north of the Space Needle. ItG??s a great (and safe) place to eat called McMenamins. She got the house special high pasta, and I got a Philly. Awesome food, highly recommended if you ever get to Seattle.

Now I should mention that unless you heard me whine about it in chat, I had gotten stung by a wasp on my right heel and had an allergic reaction in my ankle the day before we left. So unless I had an ice pack to my then baseball-sized ankle, I was in excruciating pain. I wish I was kidding about that, but IG??m not. The doctor had no clue what to do about the pain except offer a tetanus shot (no thanks), allegra (an anti-histamine) and a prescription for hydro-codone (still had plenty of that left over from the car wreck).

Our first game on Monday was an evening one, so we decided to go to IKEA in the morning. IG??ve never been to one, but we easily spent 4 hours there shopping, eating, and shopping some more. I couldnG??t walk, so I checked out one of the handicapped scooters and tried not to run over any small children or elderly men. We figured we had shopped enough when the battery ran out of juice.

We had enough time to get back to the hotel to catch the shuttle to the game. We rode with a bunch of businessmen from Chicago. I tried to ask one of them how the Cubs were shaping up this year and the only two things he knew about them was Sammy Sosa and the goat curse.

We get to the game two hours early in order to look around Safeco and find our seats, etc. We figure weG??ve been looking forward to this for 6 months, so we took full advantage of our time there. The first thing we do after finding our seats was head down the section to stand near the field to gawk at the players taking batting practice and stretch. Our seats were half way between third base and home plate, but all the way up near the concourse. GREAT SEATS with a view of the field, the scoreboard and the big screen, and the bull pins (good enough to see who was warming up at least). Safeco is a beautiful ball park. Lots of room, never felt too crowded even with the sold out crowd, easy in and out, concession stands that we never had to stand in line long.

I know itG??s dorky to go stand near the field and gawk at the players, but IG??m glad we did it. ItG??s not very often that we would ever be that close to them again, so we made the most of it. Johnny Damon actually stopped to sign some things for the kids, and he seemed nice enough. Most of the players pretty much ignored the crowd, even when they were 5 feet away from us. IG??m sure they know that fans have a love/hate thing for most of them, so they donG??t bother. But that day, Mike Timlin and Scott Williamson were also signing, so I asked the teenager in front of me to ask Mike Timlin if he would sign my ticket, and he did. No big deal, but I admit itG??s kind of cool, especially because my son was so excited to hear that I got anybodyG??s signature. He wants me to frame it and hang it in his room. A few notes about the team: Curt Schilling is a big guy, as are Derek Lowe and Mike Timlin. ItG??s very different when you see them on TV, and then up close. Christy couldnG??t get over MannyG??s, JohnnyG??s and PedroG??s hair. But she thought it was great that Damon was taking time to talk to some of the kids. She was hooked after that.

The game finally gets underway, and looking around, the park seems nearly half full of Sox fans. Our section was pretty well mixed, but behind me was a large, loud bosox fan with a slight accent. He was very loud, but luckily left after the 5th inning. There appeared to be a group of drunken girls 10 rows in front of us who rose up with a sign saying, G?Johnny Damon: Could you possibly be any hotter???G? .. This group got an immediate talking to by the security person in our section. It wasnG??t so much that they were loud and cheering, it was that they kept doing it during at bats, while the people behind them were trying to watch the game, and not the ding-a-lingG??s stupid sign. Words must have been exchanged because three of the drunken girls were escorted out about 15 minutes later. Actually, I got a little talking-to from the same section security girl about my video camera. She threatened to have me removed from the game if she caught me recording actually game footage. The guy behind me told her to leave us all alone, and let us enjoy the game… so I just smiled at her and told her there wonG??t be a problem.

Arroyo, I must say, did a fine job that night. Better than I or anyone there expected. I donG??t remember much about the entire game (but I got a lot of it on video  ). Cater suggested that I try to keep stats for the game. I was too busy talking with other fans and trying to take pictures that I didnG??t try it for the first game, but did for the next night. The game was very long, and tying it up was just nerve wracking. Many fans left in the 8th inning thinking Boston had this one in the bag. Every single fan in my vicinity moaned when Leskanic intentionally walked Winn to bring Boone up to bat. The crowd was already on its feet, but as soon as the ball connected with his bat, we all just knew. It sailed right into the MG??s bullpen. Christy just looked at me and said, G?I am so sorry.G? then screamed and cheered like a banshee.

The crowd walking out buzzed with excitement. One MG??s fan started chanting G?Go home Red Sox, Go Home!G?. But that quickly died out when the guy realized the he was surrounded with more Sox fans than MG??s fans. Someone turned around and with a wink told the guy, G?At least weG??re above .500.G? That pretty much shut the guy up.

Walking past the new Seahawks stadium on our way to meet the shuttle back to the hotel, we witnessed a short exchange between a guy and a girl who seemed to be on a date. I say that because no woman could say something this dumb without some sort of wise-crack back from her husband. The guy literally did NOT know how to respond:

Guy: G?That was a great ballgame.G?
Girl: G?Yes. Now who did they play against?G?
Guy: G?Oh, it was the Boston Red Sox.G?
Girl: G?Hmmm. But I only saw one guy wearing red socks?G?
Guy: (quizzical look on face)

The next day, we shopped a little more down at Pike Street market, then caught the trolley that dropped us off near Safeco.

Derek Lowe pitched for this game. We got there early again just to sit and relax and talk with some of the people around us. The guys to our right are season ticket holders and were a nice group of people. They gave us coupons for the team store, and his wife gave us their phone number to call us later this year to hook us up with some of their tickets that they sell off. We plan on bringing our sons with us next year. We bought garlic fries (very good!) and hot dogs, and later had chocolate covered strawberry shish-ka-bobs. Great ball park food there, with almost no waiting in line.

Lowe pitched better than expected, with no major meltdowns, it seems. I did take a crack at taking score/stats for this game, but had to quit for part of it when the pain in my ankle got unbearable. Lowe seemed to be behind in the count for every batter, but he continued to shut them down. He lasted 5 innings, and it seemed like the game would be extra long again if we are already going to the pen in the 5th. For this game, we decided to walk around a bit too and watch from different places. SafecoG??s bullpens are out in left field, and has a netting behind it with a bar so you can stand there and watch them warming up and get a good view of the game. We got to see OrtizG??s homer from that vantage point. It was spectacular.

My foot was killing me by now so we thought maybe walking around would get my mind off it, so we took the stairs to the top level and watched the 9th inning from the walkway of the nosebleed section. People were a lot louder and rowdier here, with less Sox fans too. The last half of that inning was nerve wracking, hoping to God there wasnG??t a repeat of the previous night. But it ended great, unfortunately splitting the series with a team with one of the poorest records currently.

Some notes on the MG??s

Ichiro, whether you like him or not, is just flat out a good player. He gets things done on nearly every at bat and every time the ball is hit to him. Impressive player to see. Edgar Martinez, with 1 HR at 1 AB in the first game. I think he even hit it out of there on the first pitch. 18 years in the majors, all of them with the MG??s. I respect a guy who made a team HIS team, and stuck it out. HeG??s loved there, with the whole crowd shouting G?Gar!!!G? when he came up. Boone, the only other G??long-termG?? player there was also fun to watch. They have a new dh named Bucky Jacobson. HeG??s got some power.

Overall, it was a fun and memorable trip.

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