Greetings and welcome to me writing about something I’m passionate about: baseball and the Seattle Mariners. There will be pieces on other sports perhaps, but my main focus will be on the Mariners and their foolhardy attempts at winning baseball games.
My parents grew up in the small, strange central east coast state of Maryland, specifically in Southern Maryland. They settled in South Puget Sound region of Washington State after my dad finished his Vietnam War-era conscription at Fort Lewis Army Base. About 13 years later in 1983, I came along. My dad was a twice-displaced Washington (DC) Senators fan, having lost the team first to Minnesota and then to Texas. So my dad adopted the Mariners when MLB blessed/cursed Seattle with another team after Bud Selig yoinked the Pilots after one year in Seattle.
A few Eric Sanford, Mariner Fan Facts:
- I was at the Randy Johnson no hitter versus the Tigers in 1990, but I was sick to my stomach and my parents took me home in the 6th inning. My dad loves to remind me of this. I have no memory of the game. Example number 832,848,098.6 of why you ALWAYS STAY UNTIL THE LAST OUT.
- My earliest memories of Mariners baseball involve my dad taking me out of school one spring day for a mid-week day game at the Kingdome in 1991. I have a distinct memory of it being a beautiful, bright, sunny Spring day and then stepping into the dark, dank Kingdome for a few hours and then stepping out again a few hours later into the blinding sunlight. That was day baseball in Seattle until Safeco Field came along, so appreciate it you whippersnappers.
- As with any Mariners fan around my age, Ken Griffey, Jr. was the end-all, be-all of my baseball world throughout my youth. There has never been any baseball player cooler than Griffey as a Mariner from 1989-1999.
- That said, I am also a disciple of Ichiro and I am so excited for him to collect 3000 MLB hits. I was there in 2001 for his MLB debut and was there when he came out of the visitor’s dugout for the first time. As with Griffey, it was a privilege and an honor to root for him throughout his prime.
- Felix is ours, broken or not, and you can’t have him.
- Edgar Martinez should already be in the Hall of Fame.
- The Hall of Fame voting system is absurd.
- That said, I’m going to Cooperstown for the first time with my dad next month for Griffey’s induction. I can hardly believe that sentence.
- If Griffey wasn’t enough to solidify my lifelong Mariners fandom, 1995 did the trick. I had just started 6th grade when the team made their incredible run. The day they played game 163 against the Angels for the right to go to the ALDS, our school let everyone go into the assembly area and watch the last few innings. Picture about 200 kids going absolutely apeshit on the Luis Soho “Everybody Scores” play. A truly indelible moment.
- My mom, in the photo above with my sister and me, passed in 2011 but she also found love for the Mariners during the Sodo Mojo era. Her favorites included Edgar (of course), Joey Cora, Dan Wilson, and Ichiro. In fact, she once defended Ichiro's honor at a game in 2011 where a Phillies fan was making disparaging remarks about Ichiro's willingness to learn and speak English. They resolved the dispute peacefully, of course, and she made a new friend. Lesson learned: Never speak ill of Ichiro in front of Trish Sanford.
I moved to Seattle in the fall of 2007 for graduate school after finishing up at Western Washington University with a degree in journalism. This blog is an attempt to brush up on my writing skills and give sports writing a go. As a long time Lookout Landing reader and commenter, I’m constantly inspired by the coverage and commentary that site has provided over the years, from the Jeff and Matthew years to the current regime. The Baseball Twitter world has also developed in the last few years into a truly hilarious, cathartic, quirky, and downright addictive side feature to following the sport live. It’s hard to imagine baseball without it at this point given how often fans use it during the game to find out real time updates on injuries, see big plays, make observations, and do some straight up venting.
I love living in Seattle and being able to attend Mariners games with ease. And now that the Husky Stadium Light Rail station is open, it’s even easier for me to get to Safeco Field. Even bad baseball is still baseball, and Safeco Field is a happy, peaceful place for me. But yes, since living in the City, the Mariners have treated me with 2ish seasons that weren’t complete dumpster fires (2009 and 2014).
I always like to say that being a Mariners fan builds character. The years of losing and disappointment can help a person cultivate a more realistic worldview. Note I said realistic and not pessimistic. Optimism is a good thing, but so are low and/or reasonable expectations. From 2001-2003, I often let myself get jaded to regular season wins since they happened so frequently. That’s a funny thing to think about 15 years later when every win since those competitive seasons has felt hard earned. Those fallow years help you appreciate the good times. The first 2 months of the 2016 season had many great moments and I have enjoyed them greatly. June was rough, but given what this team has gone through for over a decade, I am far from ready to write this season off.
That’s enough about me for now. Thank you for reading and for joining me here as I pursue a passion and try to stay sane while rooting for one of the most frustrating baseball teams of all time.