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Getting ready for the boys of summer

As most people who read my columns know, I am a sports fan with a heavy leaning to baseball.

I like watching baseball on TV and live, and I especially enjoy watching it live when I have some friends with me at the game. I’ve been lucky over the years to have a hardcore group of friends who are also big baseball fans, and most years three or four of us go down to Seattle to catch a couple of Mariners games.

We plan our trip around a couple of things, like what is a good time for everybody in the group; who are the Mariners playing; and (most importantly), are the games at home.

We have experimented at both the old Kingdome and the new stadium, whose name has changed just about every year, I think, with sitting in different areas of the park.

One year at the Kingdome, we sat right behind home plate, and waaaay up. We were in just about the last row going up. How high up was it, I hear you ask (or at least pretend I do)? When we stood up, our heads almost touched the roof.

It was a very, let’s say, interesting view of the game. It almost felt you were watching a video game, because the players were basically dots on the field far below. You could get a better idea of some of the strategies involved, watching where all the different defensive players went on balls hit to a particular area of the field. Of course, if you weren’t paying attention all the time, you had no idea whether that was the shortstop or the right fielder backing up the throw to home plate, but that was a minor detail.

The game ended, and we stood up (carefully), and then realized how far up we were. There were a lot of steps at a very steep angle to get down to where the car was parked.

When the new park was still Safeco Field, we sat in the bleachers in right field one game. There were a couple of little problems with that location. First, it was difficult to see the scoreboard, so you couldn’t watch the replays. Second, this was when Ichiro Suzuki was making incredible plays on a daily basis for the Mariners in right field.

Yeah, you guessed it. When you’re in the right-field bleachers, it’s impossible to see what the right fielder is doing. And we couldn’t watch the replays of the great plays because we couldn’t see the scoreboard.

On the other hand, between innings, I glanced over towards left field, and through the open side of the stadium I realized I was looking straight out into the harbour.

That was pretty cool, and I don’t know if there are any other parks where you could do that.

We’re heading down again next month. It will be fun.