As has been the custom lately, the autograph crazies lined up along the stairwell by the home plate corner of the M’s dugout, waiting for Ichiro. We didn’t see him right away, and he isn’t at every single bp, so we waited expectantly for quite a while.
Since people were saving spots, I (and many others) ran back and forth from the Ichiro line to the camera well corner several times to catch some of the pitchers who were signing. Thank you Marco Gonzalez, Mike Leake, and Yusei Kikuchi! Great stuff.
Well, we did spot Ichiro at the batting cage by the middle of BP, so there was certainly hope. We speculated whether he would sign or not. I thought he would. BP ended about 15 minutes late and he did a bunch of autos for fans on the field like he often does. He did a ton actually.
Then he stayed by the dugout and proceeded to chat, yuck it up, and take photos with these two Japanese ladies for what seemed like a half hour. The longer the chat went, the natives got more and more restless and our hopes got dimmer and dimmer. When they were finally done, Ichiro waved as he ran to the dugout. The line of people, including yours truly, slumped away with their items, just plain disappointed. Bummer! Will try again at a future game in Seattle or maybe even in Tacoma.
Well I got over to the Cardinals side about midway through their bp. Most of the guys gave some acknowledgement and then ran straight into the dugout. So not a lot going on.
I stayed on the visitors side for the pregame segment. Two of the guys who signed came to the camera well corner. I weaseled my way in there a couple of times but wasn’t aggressive or even assertive enough (that would have helped in retrospect). Paul de Jong signed a card for me (thanks man) via autographing regular Will who was in the front (thanks kiddo). It got a little smudged so I think I’ll do a little photoshop cleanup and reprint it. I just missed on Paul Goldschmidt (so close yet so far away). I saw everyone’s new favorite Cardinal Kolten Wong signing and taking selfies a few sections down the line for quite a while, but by the time I got there it was too late.
It was cool and rainy outside, and cool and hazy under the roof at Safeco… err… at T-Mobile. The Cards got one in the top of the first on a Jose Martinez homer to left off our opener. The M’s took the lead in the bottom of the 2nd on a bases loaded walk and then maybe a single, I don’t remember. M’s headliner Wade LeBlanc and Cardinals starter Jack Flaherty both took their time and it felt like a long-ass game as it got colder and colder.
In the bottom of the 5th, Omar Narvaez snuck a two run homer over the center field fence to increase the M’s lead to 4-1.
In the top of the 6th, while I was going to the bathroom or buying some pizza, Jose Martinez hit another home run to make the score 4-2. Then in the top of the 7th, Yairo Munoz creamed a two run homer to left to tie it up at 4. Boo! But don’t worry, in the bottom of the 8th pinch hitter Tim Beckham launched one to the same zip code to put the M’s back up, and it turned out to be the game winner! Final score Mariners 5, Cardinals 4.