08/27/22 – Guardians @M’s

SGA – Ichiro T-shirt
Autos – Logan Gilbert, Andres Munoz, Triston McKenzie, Raul Ibanez
Final Score – Guardians 4, Mariners 3

ICHIRO! ICHIRO!

Pregame

Ichiro Hall of Fame Night! He got inducted into the Mariners Hall of Fame this evening. I got there an hour before the STH gate opening, which turned out to be plenty of time. They were giving out Ichiro tshirts. I took an XL. It’s huge but probably will be able to shrink it to fit.

Ichiro HOF T-shirt

For the M’s, Logan Gilbert signed a chrome-stock card. I tried to rub off some of the sheen with my shirt but apparently there was still too much. Sometimes I’ve gotten good results with a blue sharpie, but it doesn’t adhere so well and skips a lot. The black sharpie seems to work better on the chrome finishes. So of course I forgot and gave him a really nice card with a blue sharpie— and it skipped. At first, I was really disappointed. However, the more I look at it the more I like it. The streakiness actually provides an interesting effect. In the future, I’d spend more time a white eraser attempting to prep the surface. Andres Munoz also signed a bunch, including my team ball. He was very polite and patient with fans. Thanks for signing Logan and Andres!

On the visitors’ side, there wasn’t much going on with Cleveland. I eavesdropped on Triston McKenzie doing an interview with a guy who I think is from MLB TV. I’d seen his baseball card but had no idea he was so well spoken. Triston talked about lots of things, including representation of Black Americans in the MLB, encouraging more kids to play the game, his favorite music and sneakers, and how he might have become a doctor if he weren’t playing baseball. Anyhow, I waited around till he finished the interviews. Then, he signed for me and several other people. Further, he was very patient when he took selfies with my buddy Akira, Akira’s mom, Akira’s mom and dad, Akira with his mom and dad, etc. lol. Thanks Triston!


Before the Ichiro Ceremony

Well I knew plenty of “dignitaries” would be there for Ichiro’s ceremony, and that they usually either come out the tunnel near the visitors’ side or from the M’s dugout. I didn’t really know where to stand, and the M’s dugout area was packed. So I waited by the tunnel. Before I was politely asked to skedaddle, Raul Ibanez (Rauuuuuuuuuuuuuul!) signed my team ball, and did so very nicely may I add. Thanks man! Other than that, most of the people coming out the tunnel were Mariners staff, former players and coaches, and other guests. The heavy hitters and most special guests, like Ichiro wife, came out of the M’s dugout. Anyway, getting Rauuuuuuuuuuul’s auto was a pleasant surprise. I forgot he was part of the first Ichiro era. Thanks again man!

Ichiro Mariners Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

The tribute to Ichiro and his induction into the Mariners Hall of Fame was great. Lots of highlights, congratulations from present and former players, speeches, etc. etc. Ichiro gave a long speech that delayed the start of the game by about 15 minutes. Anyhow, at the end he got his Mariners Hall of Fame blazer and it was all good. 🙂

PS Later in the evening, I took a picture with Ichiro’s plaque. Both corny and fun, like a lot of things at the ballpark. 🙂


The Game

I started the game in Field Level seats and later moved into the Terrace Club. I actually like watching from Field Level better, so much closer to the action. I find the Terrace Club to be like watching on tv, but it’s better if the stadium is packed and you have to like go to the bathroom or get food or something like that.

Luis Castillo was great for the M’s once again! 6 IP, 4 H, 1 BB, 10 K, and 1 R on a HR to Jose Ramirez. He finished the sixth with a 2-1 lead, courtesy of homers by Eugenio Suarez and Julio Rodriguez off Guardians’ starter Zach Plesac. Castillo got a well-deserved standing ovation when he was done for the evening.

Standing O for Luis Castillo

Los Bomberos! Diego Castillo took care of the top of the 7th. In the bottom of the 7th, Jake Lamb smoked a pitch deep into right center field for his first homer as an M, extending the lead to 3-1! See look, the smoke was still drifting minutes afterwards. Things were looking good.

Aftermath of Jake Lamb‘s Home Run Bomb

Drama in the top of the 8th, with Andres Munoz on the mound. Unfortunately, too much drama. Steven Kwon to first, moved to second a bloop single by Amed Rosario. Jose Ramirez double to right to score Kwon and move Rosario to third. Josh Naylor hit a sharp grounder to first to score Rosario. Then Andres Jimenez hit a sacrifice fly to drive in Ramirez. Cleveland took a 4-3 lead. Bummer.

In the bottom of the 8th, James Karachak entertained us with various antics as he retired the M’s. Matt Festa took care of business for the M’s in the top of the 9th.

In the bottom of the 9th, Emmanuel Clase came in for Cleveland. JRod popped out, Dylan Moore grounded out, and Mitch Haniger… grounded out to end the game. The Guardians stole this one.

Final Score – Guardians 4, Mariners 3.

08/23/22 – Nationals @Mariners

SGA – Native American Heritage Night Cap
Autos – Nelson Cruz, Darnell Coles
Final Score – M’s 4, Nats 2

Pregame

It was an adventure getting to the ballpark, but I made it safely and in plenty of time thank goodness. As part of Native American Heritage Night, the first 10,000 fans received a special cap courtesy of the Emerald Queen Casino (run by the Puyallup tribe). The paid attendance was over 38,000 so glad I got there early, it’s a nice hat. 🙂

The Nationals were taking BP. My buddy Akira had a game used Nelson Cruz “Los Marineros” jersey. He got Nellie’s attention by the home plate corner of the visitors’ dugout, so I was pretty sure NC23 would come by. He did! I didn’t know whether to ask him to sign my Players’ Weekend “Boomstick” shersey with a black paint pen or a nice Stadium Club card with a blue sharpie. I opted for the shersey. It’s not perfect but it’s nice! I actually have an All Star shersey that he signed after the ASG in DC but it has bled/faded/etc. Hopefully this paint pen auto will fare better. Nellie proceeded to sign my buddy Akira’s game used jersey (complete with game diet), some balls, a card for my buddy David, and several Funkos. Later, Nats coach (and former Mariner) Darnell Coles also signed the random MLB’ers ball. Thank you Nellie and Darnell! I didn’t see many other Nats players or coaches signing, although I heard Nellie signed a bunch again just before the game.

Instead, just before the game, I tried for JRod and the other Mariners. I was originally at a spot by the end of the netting, with my buddy David and a guy trying to get his Julio jersey signed. I wasn’t feeling it, so I went to a spot closer to the camera well (like the second one over, I think). At the next spot to my right, Mitch Haniger came and signed a bunch, mostly balls for kids. A few minutes later, Julio signed near the angled part of the wall far down the first base line. You know, like right near my original spot lol. It looked like he mainly signed balls for kids, and not my buddy’s item, but he also signed that other guy’s jersey! Yay for him! I’ll have to try again. 🙂

I will say that I was very relaxed about autos today, and even thought it was a little disappointing not to get an auto from a current Mariner, I wasn’t devastated. I still felt pretty relaxed! Very pleasant. 🙂


The Game

There was a big crowd on hand on a beautiful night for baseball. Robby Ray was dealing for the M’s, and Eric Fedde was holding up his end for the Nationals – until the bottom of the 4th. Jessie Winker singled up the middle, and then Mitch Haniger hit a two run homer to left to put the M’s up 2-0! It felt like that would be all the M’s would need. Well, not exactly…

In the top of the 7th, Joey Meneses homered to deep center field. JRod tried for a leaping grab but it was well out of reach. I didn’t realize that Meneses also broke up Robbie Ray’s no no lol. It made the score 2-1. Later, with two out, Ray came out to a standing ovation. He deserved it! Check out the pitching lines below!

There was a pretty crazy intro with the lights going out and flames on the scoreboard and stuff for Andres Munoz, who apparently is one of Los Bomberos. He took care of business for the third out.

In the bottom of the 7th, the Mariners extended their lead. JP Crawford reached on an infield single, and Geno Suarez hit a rocket to left to put the good guys up 4-1.

Bombero Erik Swanson handled the top of the 8th. Bombero Paul Sewald gave up one run in the top of the 9th but it didn’t matter. M’s win!

Final Score – Mariners 4, Nationals 2

08/09/22 – Yankees @M’s

Autos – Albert Abreu
Final Scote – Mariners 1, Yankees 0 (13 innings)


Pregame

It was slim pickings in autograph land. I planned to arrive forty minutes ahead of the early gate opening, but due to an accident on the light rail track I was more like twenty minutes late. At least I got to the ballpark!

George Kirby was signing, and I chatted with him a little from afar but missed on an auto. Also missed on Cal Raleigh (he only signed on the field) and Matt Boyd (he only did one or two).

I walked over to the visitors’ side a little late and missed Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Jonathan Loaisiga. Most of the dudes didn’t stop by for any fans (even those in the field).

Two guys who did stop by were Nector Cortez and Anthony Rizzo. Both signed for other people (Cortez a bunch and Rizzo just two) but not for me. I felt rejected and wondered if I did something wrong, looked too much like a “with it” middle-aged adult (or a “scumbag” middle-aged adult for that matter). Or was it the dark transition lenses somehow making look less trustworthy or something? I get so disappointed and sad and frustrated and all that when I’m right in front of a guy and they skip me and sign for other people (usually women and children but sometimes even other dudes). Have you noticed what happens when I take this all personally? Lol I can bring out the violins and tissues and all that, but I don’t think I did anything wrong and ultimately it’s out of my control. What I can do is prep, try to be in a decent spot at a reasonable time, ask the Universe, and enjoy all the great people and the nice ballpark while waiting for a player to come by. When a player does come over, I can ask politely (nonverbally and/or verbally), wait, and be grateful when someone does sign an item!

Of course everyone wanted an auto from the great Aaron Judge. Earlier during fielding practice, the wife of one of my Japanese baseball buddies called out to Judge. He smiled and acknowledged her and all that. We started going crazy and he started busting up, we started busting up, he continued laughing and so did we, etc. I thought for sure he would come by, but he did not. Oh well, at least we tried. I suppose that was the bad news.

The good news was, one guy did sign, and very nicely in both manner and the auto itself — Albert Abreu. Earlier this season, I had problems with Sharpies skipping on 2021 Topps Opening Day cards. Apparently, something about the gloss on that release can mess up autos. So I tried the whole rubbing off some of the sheen with an eraser thing, and it the auto turned out much better. I thought it was “perfect” but did see a couple of very minor smudges and one little gap afterwards. Anyway I feel like I learned a little something in terms of card prep. Thank you Albert! You actually made my day in terms of autos.

Albert Abreu

Some of the other good news was that I made it to BP, I was prepared, my homies and the other fans were cool, it wasn’t crazy crowded, some of the players waved or said hello, some other fans got baseballs and autos, and the weather was fantastic!


The Game

From MLB app

It was an old fashioned pitchers’ duel. Both Gerrit Cole (7 IP, 4 H, 0 BB, 8 SO) and Luis Castillo (8 IP, 3 H, 2 BB, 7 SO) were excellent, with neither yielding a run.

From there, it was a battle of the bullpens, with a seemingly endless parade of relievers from both sides. Some were excellent and some were “good enough”. Neither team could score, even as the game proceeded into extra innings with the runner on second and all that nonsense.

The Yankees threatened a couple of times but shot themselves in the foot with multiple base running blunders coupled with great defense by the M’s!

Meanwhile, the Mariners loaded the bases in the bottom of the 12th. Eugenio Suarez seemingly could have been hit by a pitch to force in the winning run. I mean it almost looked like the Yanks were trying to hit him to get the game over already, but he avoided the ball with both his body (by reflex I suppose) and his bat (striking out to end the inning).

However, in the bottom of the 13th, the M’s again loaded the bases. Pinch hitter Luis Torrens came up and… singled to right field, scoring none other than… Eugenio Suarez! Game finally over! Mariners win!

Final Score – Mariners 1, Yankees 0

08/03/22 – Angels @ M’s

Autos – Luis Castillo, Logan Gilbert
SGA – Replica Retro Mariners jersey
Final Score – Mariners 2, Angels 1

Pregame


The Game

(Start of) Game Summary

07/23/22 – Astros @Mariners

Autos – Chris Flexen, Chas McCormick, Alex Bregman, Jose Altuve
Final Score – Astros 3, Mariners 1

Pregame

I got there on time for the general gate openings 90 minutes before first pitch. So of course they opened all the gates two hours early instead. Sometimes they do that when a big crowd is expected (over 41,000 tickets sold for today).

Autos were slow on the M’s side. Usually for day games there’s no BP but you’ll see pitchers and catchers, and such was the case today. I missed on several, including Luis Torrens, Diego Castillo, Ryan Borucki, and Paul Sewald. However, Chris Flexen did sign my team ball. Thanks man!

On the Astros side, I missed on Framber Valdez and Jose Urquidy, but closer to the game thibgs got much better. 🙂 I brought a jersey card for Chas McCormick. I found a new use for those cards with huge one color jersey swatches — get ‘em signed! Why didn’t I think of that before??? Anyhow, Chas was kind enough to sign my card in the jersey at the corner of the dugout, and a bunch of stuff for other fans. Thank you Chas! I was pretty stoked, this was actually my main auto goal for today.

It got better… during warmups, a little further down the line, Alex Bregman talked to some kid for around a minute, but he also pointed to the boy next to me at the next spot in. Sure enough, Bregman came over. I held the net open for the boy, and also stuck out my pen and marker. He signed for both of us! Thank you Alex!

It got even better… in the next spot over this guy had a Venezuelan flag and Altuve jersey, and yes he signed it. He signed a few more. I made it over, held out my hat and marker, and he signed it beautifully! Thank you Jose! I’m cool with him again lol. Wonder if I’ll wear that hat now or what.

Speaking of wearing it or what, I finally picked up my custom replica Sunday Julio jersey. Those guys worked their magic! Yeah there’s still one small spot that has errant Sharpie on it, most of the Sharpie streak, but the first 4 is now as good as the second 4, and overall the jersey is awesome! I asked Paul how to take care of it, and he basically said don’t get it dirty and don’t wash it. :). If you have to wash it, do it inside out. I was too scared to wear it out of the store lol. It’s in a nice shopping bag for now. I’m still deciding what to do. I have a white one that is signed nicely (but has some skippage), and a cream one that is personalized and signed meticulously (but the yellow paint mixed with the blue number and turned into a harder to read green). I’ll probably just wear my other M’s jerseys and then see if I can get this new one signed, I don’t know yet, but the “new” custom jersey is awesome! Thank you jersey guys!


The Game

As would be expected, it was a pitchers’ duel between Logan Gilbert and the great Justin Verlander. (A couple of my buddies got JV and Jordan Alvarez autos on baseballs last night. I was jealous at first but now I’m just happy for them. Insane!!!). Gilbert had a rough top of the 4th and the ‘Stros put up 2 runs.

In the bottom of the 7th, while I was in a long line for a soda, Carlos Santana homered to right. Excitement built as the M’s got Eugenio Suarez to third and Adam Frazier to second, but Cal Raleigh and Sam Haggerty both struck out. Justin Verlander double pumped his fists as he went to the dugout with a 2-1 lead. In the top of the 8th, Jose Altuve singled and later scored on a wild pitch to extend the lead to 3-1. That was the final score.

Final Score – Houston 3, Seattle 1

Blue Jays @M’s – 07/09/22

Autos – Santiago Espinal, Cavan Biggio, Jordan Romano, Anthony Banda, Zack Collins
Final Score – Mariners 2, Blue Jays 1

Pregame

Well, it was interesting! It was an early entry for Season Ticket Holders. I think the M’s were finishing up and the Jays were just getting started. I pretty much went to the Jays side right away. Of course, until I saw JRod still near the M’s dugout. I wanted him to sign my souvenir bat. Besides fans on the field, he signed an uniform for one of the crazies and went in. While that was happening, I missed super-signer Logan Gilbert. I also missed Bo Bichette at the Jays dugout. It looked like he signed like 40 from far away but I heard it was more like 15, including my buddy’s Funco box (yay!). I feel a little silly about missing out on Logan and Bichette, but I wanted Julio to sign my bat so I went for it. Choices 🙂

Later, or before, I don’t really remember, #5 Santiago Espinal signed my assorted MLB’ers ball – through the net, no less! Cavan Biggio signed a 2021 Opening Day card very nicely, and again the Sharpie came out spotty. Jordan Romano also signed a card. Even that one, from the 2021 Update Series, is a little spotty. Think I need to experiment with roughing up those 2021’s before getting them signed — or just replace them with other releases. Anyway, thank you Santiago, Cavan, and Jordan!

At the dugout corner, I asked Anthony Banda to sign a card. He said he would do it on the way back. While I was there, I missed George Springer signing at the corner next to the camera well. By the time I got over there, I was simply too far back.

Then, Vlad Jr was signing at the middle of the dugout!!! Cool! I scurried over and managed to get pretty much right in front of him with my souvenir bat. However, apparently he was only signing baseballs (on a side panel in black pen, except for one card that one of the pushier crazies slid to him, regardless of whether or not he pointed to her). Since I already had purchased a ball (from Topps) and card (Topps card on eBay) signed by Vlad Jr a while ago, I didn’t really want another ball. For me, it was again a tough call, give the guy a ball cause that’s what he’s signing (even if that’s not exactly what I wanted), or wait for what I want (even if he doesn’t appear to be signing that type of item)? Again, choices 🙂

As Vlad Jr was finishing up, I saw Banda was signing at the corner, so I got back over there (after going around some rude people lol). I thought I missed him but it turned out he was actually waiting for me! I slid my clipboard with his card…. but it got stuck on the dugout! Doh! Fortunately, he was patient and Ginger the Usher helped me out. He signed it very nicely. I particularly appreciate when guys say they’ll sign later, and then come back and actually do it. Thank you Anthony!!!

Finally, #21 Zack Collins signed at the dugout. I had a card for him but tossing him the MLB’ers ball just made more sense. He signed it nicely. Thank you Zack!

Just before the game, I went to the M’s side and waited for Julio. Our spot was beyond the netting. It was several kids (and me lol :). There was a kid with a jersey, and a girl with a souvenir bat and blue sharpie (just like me), so I really thought he would come by. Instead he went to a spot closer to the camera well. Oh well. (Get it?) Again at least I tried, that is significant. 🙂


The Game

We had lots of fun sitting in the JRod’s Squad section. One of my buddies got a Funco-style Fathead-style Julio face from the M’s. I spent plenty of time waving it around, screaming to cheer on JRod, etc. The back of my head was on the big screen at least once lol.

Much of the game was a tense pitcher’s duel between Robby Ray and Alex Manoah, in front of a big crowd of around 41,000 Americans and Canadians.

Around the 4th inning or so, I went to get some food and drink. When I saw the lines, I started heading back. However, my buddy intercepted me and somehow convinced me to get back in line. While we were there for like two innings, George Springer hit a solo homer to give the Jays a 1-0 lead in the top of the 6th. It’s amazing how many homers I’ve missed while in a concession line, in the restroom, or doing whatever on my phone. Plus when we got up there, they were out of the $3 hot dogs (I wanted two) so I ended up getting a $15 pizza. Whoa! At least it was good. 🙂

I believe it was the bottom of the 7th when Carlos Santana hit a two run homer to right and put us up 2-1.

Diego Castillo closed out the 9th, in way too exciting a fashion. He loading the bases before Matt Chapman grounded out to end the game. Phew!

Final Score US 2, Canada 1 🙂

Blue Jays @M’s – 07/07/22

Autos – Teoscar Hernandez, The Moose
Final Score – Mariners 8, Blue Jays 3

Pregame

It was a 7:10 Thursday night first pitch. Last Saturday, I talked with Paul, the jersey customization guy at the Mariners Team Store. He told me to come by early to my next game and he could help me out. So I got there early, around 2:45. Apparently this was too early. The nice lady at the team shop said to come back around 4:00 or 4:30. I did, and was a little worried when Paul wasn’t there, but Jerry was very helpful and I should be able to pick up my jersey this upcoming Saturday. Thanks Paul and Jerry!

I went in via The Pen at 5:10, got a soda, and hung out along with half of Canada. The general gates opened at 5:40. The Blue Jays were still taking BP. It wasn’t as crowded as I expected, and there wasn’t much signing going on. I missed on Kevin Gausman, Jordan Romano, and Alejandro Kirk since I stayed in the same spot by the corner of the dugout (or wasn’t paying attention). However, Teoscar Hernandez did sign a card for me and a bunch of other people. He was very generous. I mean something weird went on with the Sharpie spotting or skipping. My buddy thought it was because it was a 2021 card. Roughing up the surface a little beforehand might help in the future. Anyway, thanks Teoscar, I appreciate it man!

The Blue Jays’ side was crowded and the Mariners’ side was not, so I went to the M’s side to try for autos right before the game. The Moose was there and it signed. Thank you Moose!

Usually JRod signs a bunch, but he only fist bumped one kid and then headed towards the dugout. He had to go receive his Rookie of the Month (2nd in a row) and Player of the Week honors. The JRod Show!


The Game

M’s went up 2-0 in the bottom of the 1st. The Jays answered with a run in the top of the 2nd. In the botttom of the 2nd, Dylan Moore laced a fly ball to the left field wall. It bounced off Lourdes Gurriel Jr.’s glove and over the fence for a home run! M’s lead 3-1.

In the bottom of the 3rd, JP Crawford singled, Carlos Santana doubled, Eugenio Suarez singled to drive them in. Cal Raleigh was up next. I thought, well, it’s going to be a home run or a strikeout. He drove in Suarez (and himself) with a two-run rocket to right field! M’s 7-Jays 1.

Toronto added a couple of runs in the top of the 5th. They may have had more but Vlad Jr got tagged out after his RBI single. He just kind of stopped running midway between 1st and 2nd. It looked like he wasn’t running hard or something weird like that, but I think it was more like he knew he was toast. Anyway, no worries. Geno launched another rocket to left field for a no doubt solo homer in the bottom of the inning, putting the M’s up 8-3. 🙂

There was also a lot of good defense and some not so good defense. Plus average defense lol. Marco Gonzales pitched well. The Blue Jays scored a couple of runs late in the game but Diego Castillo closed it out for the win!

Final Score Mariners 8, Blue Jays 3

A’s @M’s – 07/02/22

Autos – Logan Gilbert, Luis Torrens, The Moose
Final Score – M’s 2, A’s 1

Pregame

Partly sunny (or partly cloudy depending on how you look at it lol jk) and a little cool (or a little warm depending on where you’re sitting). Anyhow, I got to the Pen and saw some of the pitchers doing throwing practice. Day games there’s usually no batting practice and today was no exception. By the time gates opened for the fans, most of the players were gone. A few appeared, Logan Gilbert and also several guys from our IL, including Ty France, Luis Torrens, and Taylor Trammel.

Logan Gilbert and Luis Torrens both signed. I gave Torrens my 2022 Heritage card, and he asked me if I had any other ones. For whatever reason, he couldn’t sign the Heritage. Anyway, he signed my team ball very nicely. Thanks Logan and Luis!

Like many other people, I tried for Julio Rodriguez, waiting at the second? gap in the netting from the dugout corner, but he went further down the line (either the little corner down the right field line), or just where the netting ends. Anyhow, he signed many down there, and then a couple much closer to the dugout, but skipped our spot. Maybe better luck next time! Amazing how much joy the players bring with their autos. Also makes me appreciate the signed items I have from JRod even more. 🙂

Wait a minute, how could I forget? The Moose signed before the game. He/she/it has a new auto lol. Thanks Moose!

The Moose!

The Game

George Kirby walked Tony “Speed Kills” Kemp to lead off the game. He allowed some traffic and Kemp later scored. After that, it was a pitchers duel between Kirby and Paul Blackburn. Entering the 8th, both teams had gone to the bullpen and it was 1-0 A’s. (I was going to say Oakland, but who knows how long they will be there before they move to Las Vegas or whatever.)

In the bottom of the 8th, Justin Upton struck a pinch hit homer to right to tie the game 1-1! I would have posted a picture but my phone was full. Doh!

In the top of the 9th, the A’s grounded into an inning ending double play (the kind of thing the M’s have done too much of this season).

In the bottom of the 9th – Suarez leads off with a walk, Marcus Wilson goes in to pinch run. Carlos Santana singles to left, Wilson advances to third base. Oakland bobbles an infield hopper and Cal Raleig reaches to load the bases with no one out. Abraham Toro singles to center and Marcus Wilson scores for the walk off win!!!!!

Final Score M’s 2 – A’s 1. 🙂

O’s @M’s – 06/28/22

Autos – Chris Flexen, Logan Gilbert, Robinson Chirinos, Dillon Tate
Goodies – Photo on the Field, JRod’s Squad cheering section and T-shirt, customization of Sunday jersey
Final Score – Mariners 2, Orioles 0

Pregame

It was an early gate opening during which many Mariners did BP and not many signed. However, Chris Flexen and Logan Gilbert did sign. They are chill, they sign a lot, and you can actually chat with them a bit, Two of my favorite pitchers on the M’s. Thanks for signing guys!

The O’s spent a really long time taking BP but very little time signing. They were not particularly friendly. 🙂 Adley Rutschmann might have signed for one kid, that was about it, and some other random dudes signed here or there. Robinson Chirinos and Dillon Tate both signed for a bunch of people, including yours truly. Thank you gentlemen!

I picked up my customized Sunday jersey — 44 for Julio Rodriguez. Paul the customizer guy said he liked that it was just the numbers and not the whole name. 🙂 Then, one of my buddies invited me and a couple of his other friends for a photo on the field. Nice stuff!

After that, I picked up my JRod Squad T shirt (my wife thinks it’s hilarious). Then I waited for JRod just before the game. Since I was standing next to two girls who also had jerseys, I thought a had a shot at getting my jersey signed, but he went to another spot instead.


The Game

The JRod’s Squad section was fun! There was lots of enthusiastic chanting for Julio throughout the game, people trying to get a ball thrown to them, general goofiness, etc. Amazing he can focus with all that going on behind him, and still interact with the crowd! Just plain fun, 🙂

It was a pitchers’ duel — Robby Ray (1 hit) versus Dean Kramer (4 hits). Ray had his one bad inning (the 4th?) but survived, and Kramer escaped from trouble with some great fielding by Phil Nevin’s son and Cedric Mullins, among others.

In the top of the 8th, with Diego Castillo on the mound, Eugenio Suarez fielded a ground error to third and made an errant throw, but Carlos Santana (in his first game as a Mariner) leaped up to save the ball, and then tagged the runner on the way down! It was a huge play to keep the game scoreless.

In the bottom of the 8th, JP Crawford led off with a single. JP! JP! Then everyone was going crazy for JRod. He hit it somewhere and somehow avoided the tag on the way to first… and JP ran all the way to third! Jesse Winker came in and double to drive in JP and JRod!

That turned out to be the game winning hit. Paul Sewald closed out the 9th to seal the deal.

Final Score – Mariners 2, Orioles 0

Angels @ Mariners – 06/16/22

Autos – Eugenio Suarez card; JP Crawford Gold Glove, Photo; Edgar Martinez card; Julio Rodriguez ball and Jersey

Souvenirs – Free Soda; Foul Ball; Game Ball Thrown into Stands

Final Score – Angels 4, Mariners 0

Pregame

What a day!

My buddy and I had access to batting practice on the field! When available, this is by far my favorite opportunity as a Mariners season ticket holder. When you’re in the guest area (behind the ropes, between the dugouts, behind home plate) you can see and hear more of the players and coaches up close, not to mention talk with some of them. They often graciously pose for photos and sign autos for field guests.

It was a great BP for autos! Eugenio Suarez signed a card, JP Crawford signed a mini Gold Glove and a print of a selfie from last weekend’s Photo Day (Shaka!), and Edgar Martinez signed a card. Thank you gentlemen!

The highlight was Julio Rodriguez!!! He was the player I wanted to meet the most. I was so busy following him that I didn’t even notice Ichiro was signing at the same time. That’s saying something! Anyhow, first I asked JRod for a sweet spot signature on a baseball, he smiled and said, “Yeah, sure.” (He’s already got the smiling and acknowledging fans parts of stardom down lol.). He signed it beautifully! Wow wow wee! Thanks man!

Sweet!!!

My buddy and I both brought jerseys, so after Julio signed his jersey, I asked him to also sign mine. My friend was smart enough to bring a note asking for an inscription. His jersey turned out gloriously! Silver paint pen on silver-outlined dark blue letters, inscribed with his name and “JRod Show” and a great auto that you could read it from across a room. Magical!

JRod focused while signing 🙂

Julio signed my jersey just as meticulously and included the same inscriptions. He chuckled when I told him I had a different name than my friend, and fortunately he got mine right. Unfortunately, I got too cute with the paint pen colors. I wanted to match the yellow outline on the royal blue numbers. In testing it looked awesome. When he actually signed it, the yellow mixed with the royal blue and came out a dark green. Oh no! His signing was absolutely fantastic, it’s just hard to read if you don’t already know there. Clearly, I should have stuck with the silver that has worked so well on blue in the past. I messed it up, was very disappointed, and hopefully learned to stick with more reliable colors in the future. That’s the bad news.

The good news is that JRod signed it wonderfully and personalized it! I mean you can read it if you look closely. The more I look at it, magically the brighter it seems to get lol. If I can somehow improve the contrast between the writing and the numbers, it will advance from “cool” to “super duper awesome”! I can certainly do a digital restoration, print and frame it, etc. That would be a safe option. I could also see what type of lighting would best bring out the auto. Those are both safe options. A third choice would be to outline or fill with silver paint pen, a bright yellow pencil or marker, etc. That would be very very risky. 🙂 Anyhow, more about all that at the end of this blog. 🙂

He signed for several more people and was still in the general area where I was. Another dude and I brought some stuff (I brought a picture from Photo Day) but Julio said something like, “Sorry guys, I gotta go.” I couldn’t tell if he was annoyed, didn’t want to disappoint anyone, or just plain done. Hope everything is cool, Julio is fantastic with all the fans of all ages. Anyhow, thank you JRod for signing my ball and jersey! Thank you Universe. Totally awesome!!!

We also got to stay for most of the Angels BP. Ohtani was pitching so we didn’t see him (bummer). Tyler Wade came by but I didn’t think I had anything for him (although in retrospect I guess I could have had him sign my random MLBers ball). I was focused on getting Mike Trout to sign this picture I’ve been carrying around for a few years. I still have it, unsigned lol. He came right to us and signed a jersey, some balls, and took a photo. He skipped my photo, some cards, and my buddy’s Funko. To be honest it felt weird. Inclusion and exclusion. Oh well. I must say I feel very fortunate that he signed a ball (beautifully) and a couple of cards for me in previous years!

We were escorted from the field shortly thereafter and complied. The Mariners side was awesome and the Angels side was a dud, but all in all, it was one of the best BP’s on the field ever!!! Thank you Mariners organization and thank you Universe!!!


The Game

Shohei Ohtani pitched great, giving up no runs, three hits and two walks over six innings, with six strikeouts. I was wondering if would be his own DH, and the answer was yes, going two for four.

Mariner defeater Mike Trout drove in all four runs with two two-run homers. I missed the first one while in the concession line. However, I definitely saw and heard the second one, it was a no doubter rocket to center field. He has like 30 homers in 85 games in Seattle. Crazy!

Mike Trout hits a lot of homers in Seattle lol

In the first or second inning, a foul ball by Max Stassi came to our section on the Mariners side. It bounced about eight rows in front of us and then came our way. I got a late jump but scrambled down a couple of rows. I think I got a hand on it but this other dude almost tackled me, reached over me, and got it. I must have looked pretty bummed out, or maybe he felt guilty about going over me, but he gave me the ball and I accepted his generosity. I like stuff like foul balls. 🙂 My buddy told me, “It’s your day!” I replied, “It’s your day” cause, I mean, it was his day too lol. I felt a little guilty but still wanted to keep the ball (I mean I was right there). So later I went over to offer a beverage, but he didn’t need it. We just chatted, he was a nice guy. He said if Ohtani had hit, he would have kept it. 🙂 Anyway, thanks man! I appreciate it. I don’t know if this all happened before or after I went to the concession line, where the lady gave me a free soda. Thank you folks, and thank you Universe!

Speaking of Shohei Ohtani, later in the game we were sitting on the Angels side. I don’t remember if Ohtani was doing warm up pitches, or if during the game action a Mariner got out on a pitch from the Japanese superstar. I think it was game action. Anyhow, third baseman Matt Duffy eventually had the ball. He threw it into our section. Sure enough, it came right to me, around 30 rows up from the field. In one of those slow motion moments, and I tracked it, simply reached up, and caught it! I thought nothing of catching it with my bare hands but some people seemed to think that was a big deal. People might have cheered. A lady in the next row came over and high fived me, my buddy reiterated, “It’s your day!” and I was going bananas. My buddy, Japanese by birth and a big Ohtani fan, was joking that it smelled like Ohtani, I thought it smelled like a foreign substance to help the pitcher lol, and a couple of other friends thought it just smelled like leather. Anyway, he was saying the baseball was “touched by Ohtani” and again I’m pretty sure it saw game action. Guess I could look at a time stamp on the photo and try to figure it out. Anyway, thank you Matt Duffy and thank you Universe! Wow!!! 🙂

The Angels won 4-0.

PS Two days later, Trout homered in each game of double header, for 32 in 87 games in Seattle. Wow 🙂


Jersey Art

Since I was disappointed that the yellow paint pen did not pop on the Julio jersey, and instead turned a dark green, I decided to do a digital enhancement of the auto and inscriptions. Basically, I traced the existing auto and inscriptions in a bright yellow gold color. Looking at the jersey so closely, I appreciate how nice the auto from Julio really is! For reasons unbeknownst to me, I also changed the gold color slightly on the outline of the numbers. I used a consistent line thickness for each segment (somewhere between 2 and 4 pixels each) so it doesn’t have the pressure variations that a real pen signature tends to have and some of the stuff looks a little weird. Nevertheless, I think the digital jersey art looks pretty cool! Definitely pops and is easier to read. I think I’ll keep the original signed jersey safe in the office closet, and use a print of the digital jersey in a shadowbox display with the signed ball and some cards and photos, a nameplate and our team name perhaps, etc. Should be pretty sweet!