I met my future wife Cassie at a Mariners game against the White Sox on September 15, 2009. Technically, it was at the Pyramid Brewpub across the street from Safeco Field where I met up with my crew of mostly non-diehard baseball fan friends. I got there not too long before first pitch and tried to get everyone moving to the ballgame, but several fresh beers had just been served. We ended up missing a first inning home run by Ken Griffey, Jr., which now that I think about it, was one of his last few career dingers since we all know he hit zero during his short time with the team in 2010 before he abruptly retired.
Missing that home run ended up being an irrelevant moment in my life (as irrelevant as the Mariners were that season) compared to what was to come.
I had been single for about 8 months at that point, which was a comparatively long time for a serial monogamist like myself. But, I had gotten to the point where I wasn’t really actively looking for a special someone and was kinda sorta enjoying single-dom. Or was at least feeling comfortable with it. But, as the saying goes, when you stop looking, that’s when it happens. And boom, there she was. Blonde, blue-eyed, gorgeous, and just a tad mysterious…positively Midwestern. I had to know more.
Our group sprawled about the sparsely filled center field bleachers at Safeco. There was another guy chatting her ear off for the first few innings and even I could tell that she didn’t seem terribly interested. I bided my time while chatting with my friends and watching the game. Ian Snell was pitching for the Mariners so the game must have taken FOREVER. Eventually, the chatty dude left to get more beer and I seized my opportunity to make an impression.
I found out that she was from Minneapolis, went to the same high school as Joe Mauer, and was a huge Twins and baseball fan. We shared a common dislike of the Chicago White Sox. She was sweet, genuine, and a great conversationalist. I am maybe one of those things, at best, and it’s definitely not the last one. But, I hung in there and made a pretty decent impression. As the game winded down and we all parted ways, (the Mariners lost) chatty dude from earlier ended up getting her number at the end of the night and I had to awkwardly wait with him in the transit tunnel for a bus, which of course, took forever.
Fast forward a week, a friend who worked with Cassie put in a positive referral for me when Cassie asked about me and she reached out to me on Facebook, as was the custom at the time. Eventually I asked her out on our first date, a day out at the Puyallup Fair back in my childhood hometown. As a proud Minnesotan, she scoffed at the piddly size of our state fair in comparison to the massive enterprise known as the Minnesota State Fair but, she did enjoy the fair scones and we had a very fun day.
Our relationship blossomed over the next several months until she got notice that she had been accepted into the super competitive dietician internship at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. I wasn’t ready to give up on us, and neither was she, so we did a long distance relationship for a year. I was able to visit a few times, once in the summer and we drove to Milwaukee for an interleague series between the Brewers and Mariners. And she came out to Seattle for the Twins/Mariners series, starting an ongoing tradition of making sure we attend at least one game when the Twins come to Seattle.
4 years ago, on August 15, 2012, two very notable things happened. Chronologically, Felix Hernandez threw the first perfect game in Mariners history during a matinee game against the Tampa Bay Rays. I listened to the game on my headphones from my cubicle at my terrible job at UW Medicine IT Services and began checking in with the handful of other baseball fans in my area to make sure they were aware of what was happening. When Felix recorded the final strike out, I jumped up from my desk, fist pumping and hollering, high fiving everyone regardless of whether they gave two craps about baseball. On cloud nine, I strolled downtown after work to the second big event of the day; picking up the engagement ring I had ordered a few weeks prior.
I could barely contain my excitement, so it’s a good thing my plans to propose to her were just a few days away at the upcoming Mariners/Twins game on August 17. Now, before you flip out, I did NOT propose on the big screen. I would never do that. But, since Safeco Field is where we met and had shared many happy hours during our relationship, it just made sense to propose there. So, around the fourth inning of a rather listless game between two very bad teams, I suggested we get up and take a walk around the stadium, as we do sometimes at games. We went up to the 300 level, to the area right above the corner of Edgar and Dave, behind the giant Safeco Field sign, I got down on one knee and asked Cassie if she would be willing to spend the rest of her life with me. She may have been tipped off that something was going on by my general nervousness or when she bumped up against the small box in my pocket earlier, but that’s besides the point. The point is, she said yes.
Over the years, Cassie has come to root hard for the Mariners, as well. Working full time in the Pacific Standard Time zone makes it difficult to keep up with a Central Standard Time team, not to mention that the Twins have fallen on hard times pretty much since we met in 2009. But it’s my fault that she has become so knowledgeable about Mariners rosters over the years as I obsess over the team regularly and talk at length about the backstories and narratives of guys like Dae-Ho Lee, Jeff Gray, and James Jones. And I think Kyle Seager might be her number two favorite player behind Joe Mauer at this point, but you’d have to ask her.
We got married on a blazing hot and beautiful day in West Seattle on August 17, 2013. She picked navy and teal for our wedding colors (better than blue and red for dresses and ties, she reasoned) and selected many baseball themed items for decorations at our wedding. Just as baseball is an activity that we can use to mark time and eras in our lives, baseball has been a constant presence and source of fun in our relationship. And as we’re about to celebrate our third wedding anniversary, we still enjoy going to Safeco Field whenever we can to watch baseball together, an activity that I want to forever share with her and also with further additions to our family.
Happy third anniversary, Cassie.
Love, your incredibly lucky husband.