When I picked up the phone and it was someone from the Seattle Mariners office on the other side I realized my dream of playing baseball was just seconds away from becoming true. Sure I had not played baseball since the 6th grade but when was I to ever let reality stand in the way of a perfectly could fantasy.
They were calling because I wrote to them. I had a serious question, several of them, because after a tumultuous 36 year relationship with the Red Sox I have finally decided to start seeing other people. Oh we might not be breaking up for good but after a awful season where the Red Sox took “snatching defeat from the jaws of victory” it is time to experiment. Right? It is cool…I mean everyone is doing it.
For a non-baseball fan this is no big deal. However for a Red Sox fan this is everything. Being a Red Sox fan, a distinct difference from being part of the silly “Red Sox nation” , meant enduring heartbreak after heartbreak. Normally I would not let one season deter me from rooting for them the next season but last season was particularly bad, the players forgot they played for the Sox and acted like they played for a team whose name we do not mention.
So I sent the Mariners an e-mail. I told them I am considering converting. This is a big deal and they recognized it. I had some questions though before I committed blasphemy (technically if you root two teams in the same division it is blasphemy on such a scale that no religion would accept it).
I asked if they had good food, particularly if there was any food they recommended and quietly wondered how many mortgages I would have to take to get some. They did not answer it directl but they did tell me it was all pretty good and reasonably priced for a baseball stadium. This is important because I had pondered becoming a Rangers fan but the price of food at Rangers stadium was so high that I would a federal bailout after buying two hotdogs.
They also said for most games I could still get bleacher seats for eight dollars. This is important because I love baseball and try to go to as many games as possible. Baseball, you see, is five minutes of action evenly spread out around three hours. So you end up going to a lot of games. One could argue my time would be better spent going to work, this would be a lie. Baseball is far better and helps the economy, cured global warming and will bring about world peace. This is an area where most other professional sports teams have failed spectacularly; they are so busy trying to build expensive seating that they forget the little people who actually work for a living like baseball also.
Finally, the part that may have clinched the deal for me was the fact that they have a mascot that won’t give me nightmares. The Red Sox have Wally. Wally is a green monster…get it? There is the great wall that has become synonymous with Red Sox baseball in the left field called the green monster and Wally is a green monster. I get angry at Wally though because he seems to be just the kind of thing the Yankees would do.
The mascot for the Mariners is a Mariner Moose. For those of you not familiar with Seattle, it was discovered by two meeses in 1267 BCE. They were coming back from a hockey game in Canada when they accidentally ended up in Seattle. Liking Seattle and finding it free of man/moose eating penguins they decided to found Washington State. Washington State remained largely unknown and possibly non-existent until 1991 when grunge superhero (and original spokesman for generation X) Kurt Cobain invented Seattle and released the song ‘Smells like Teen Spirit’. The Seattle Mariners , who had been playing baseball without a homefield and with a lot of quizzical looks (not to mention ugly uniforms) breathed a sigh of relief because they finally had a city to play home games in for the first time since 1977.
And then we came to today. Will it be an apostasy, abandoning nearly three decades of worshiping the Red Sox or will it be one of those awkward “college experiments” that people talk about only to be followed by dead silence and awkward glances and looks to the floor. Only time and continued unemployment will tell.
Joshua Keidan is the Unofficial Official Spokesman for Generation X. He views baseball as a religion because it is. The Seattle Mariners, while wisely not calling on him to be their starting pitcher or having him replace Ichiro Suzuki in the outfield , did actually call him today…and not by accident either. He still thinks the New York Yankees are evil.